Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children: A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers

Activity 3: Circle Time

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice-lighting words, written on newsprint
  • Chalice with tea light flame or other preschool chalice option
  • Feelings Chart or Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr
  • Flowers, one for each child plus some extra
  • Slips of paper, one for each child plus some extra, and tape
  • Vase, with water in it
  • Optional: Container of clean water

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the Description of Activity. If the child dedication ceremony provided here differs from your congregation’s custom, adapt this activity to reflect customary practice.
  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.
  • Write each child’s name on a slip of paper and tape it to a flower. Prepare some blank ones, for any new children who come to today’s session.
  • Set the flowers, the vase, and the container of clean water on the table or stand you use for your chalice, or on the floor.

Description of Activity

Bring the chalice into the circle, either on the floor or on a small table or stand. Say, in these words or your own:

Welcome to Circle Time! First we light our chalice.

Point out where your chalice-lighting words are displayed. Repeat your chalice-lighting words as you “light” the chalice:

We light this chalice for the warmth of love, the light of truth, and the energy of action.

Say, in these words or your own:

Now we share our names and feelings. How are each of you feeling today? We will go around the circle and each say our name and point to how we’re feeling today on the Feelings Chart [or Feelings Flashcard]. If you would rather not share today, you may say, “No, thank you.”

Once everyone who wishes to has shared, say, in these words or your own:

For all the feelings that we feel today, we know that we have our friends, our families, and our church [congregational] family to share them with.

Introduce today’s theme, in these words or your own:

At church [In our congregation], we celebrate beginnings of life, when babies are born or come into a family.

Engage a conversation about babies and growing and changing. Ask what babies do that the children like and do not like. Say, in these words or your own:

At [name of congregation], we have a special ceremony called a child dedication ceremony. That is when we officially welcome babies into our church [congregation].

Act out a child dedication ceremony in the circle, welcoming each child in turn. Dip each flower in water, gently touch it to the child’s forehead, then hand it to the child. Say, in these words or your own:

Welcome to our church [congregation], [name of child]. We all promise to take care of you and help you grow. We give you this flower, different from every other flower in the world, as a symbol that you are wonderful, because you are you.

If any new children are visiting, write their names on their flowers. Say, in these words or your own:

On behalf of [name of congregation], [name of co-leader] and I promise to support and nurture you in your spiritual life, as we learn and grow and change together.

Invite the children to place their flower in the vase until the end of the session, to keep it fresh. Say, in these words or your own:

Today we are going to have a very special visitor: a baby! We will learn all about this baby, and we might even get to play with some of the baby’s toys. But first, let’s read a story together about babies.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility challenges, you could hold your circle activities in a circle of chairs to make it easier to include a wheelchair or for a child to sit while wearing leg braces.