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

Preparation for Activity

  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.
  • Anticipate that some children may find darkness frightening or may have anxiety about going to sleep for other reasons. Be ready to talk about the quiet, safe, and comforting aspects of the world when it is dark. The Families insert in the Spring, 2013 UU World magazine (theme: Sacred Rest: The Beauty and Purpose of the Dark) has ideas and words to help you; read and download the Families insert. An excerpt:

Many families have bedtime rituals and routines. Young children love to talk about favorite stories, songs, and prayers. But often darkness can be frightening. Talking about what the world is like when it is dark and exploring what is beautiful and magical about darkness and dreams can help children feel more comfortable with the night and with their subconscious.

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. Say 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 [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 your own:

Today we are going to draw pictures of dreams we have had or want to have. Dreams can be funny, they can be sad, or even scary. Have you ever dreamed of pink puppies sharing a hot fudge sundae? I think that might be a fun dream to have. What about a scary dream-one where you wake up afraid? If you ever wake up in the night from a scary dream, here's what you can do: Take slow, deep breaths until you know you are awake and the dream happened only in your head, not in real life. Sometimes it may help if you turn a light on, or tell someone about the dream.

Children may want to talk about their dreams. Tell the group they will have time to tell about dreams they have had, after you share a story. Say, in these words or your own:

We are going to see if we can remember our dreams later, and make a dream train together. But first, let's read a story about nighttime.

Including All Participants

Consider holding 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.