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.
  • Identify places and times the chalice is used at your congregation. Many congregations display a large chalice outside, in their lobby, or in the front of the sanctuary. Most light a chalice to indicate the start of a worship service.

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 [congregational] family to share them with.

Introduce today’s theme by holding up, or pointing to, the chalice. Ask, in these words or your own:

Who remembers what this is? It’s a chalice-our favorite symbol for our church [congregation] and for our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Talk about how the chalice is used in your congregation.

Then, say, in these words or your own:

Our group is called Chalice Children, because the chalice is so important to us as Unitarian Universalists. Chalice Children come to make friends and learn about our church [congregation].

Point out the ways that Chalice Children learn by naming some of the activities you have already done as part of this program (for example, a tour of the inside or outside of the congregation).

Say, in these words or your own:

Today we are each going to make a chalice necklace. But first, let’s read a story together.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility limitations, 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.