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

Preparation for Activity

  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.
  • Learn the “This Is the Church” finger play so you can teach it. Be prepared to explain what a steeple is.

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 the 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 [congregation] family to share them with.

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

Chalice Children come to make friends, feel love, and learn about the church [congregation]. [Name of congregation] is not just the inside of the building or the things and places outside; it’s the all of the people who come here to our congregation who make up our church [congregational] family. And there are special people who work here to take care of our congregation in many different ways.

Demonstrate the “This Is the Church” traditional finger play, and encourage the children to do it with you:

This is the church. [show the children your hands, with fingers interlaced and tucked inside your palms]

This is the steeple. [place your index fingers side by side outside of your “church,” pointing up]

Open the doors [open your thumbs]

And see all the people! [wiggle your fingers, with your index fingers re-tucked]

If some children need more time to learn the finger play, tell them you will practice with them after Circle Time. Finish by saying:

We’re going to play a special game to see some of the places, things, and people who make this our church [congregation] home. Let’s see how many of the people you may already know!

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility problems, 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.