October Circle Time

Forest Kindergarten is going great! Both the Monday and Wednesday classes are completely booked with families on the waiting list. We are having fun and finding our groove. Terrific families participate in Earthroots’ programs and I am making new friends.

I’ve listed all the songs, handplays, and poems below for the month of October. Each month I switch out 4-6 of the songs in the opening circle – which is really keeping me on my toes. I always have something new to memorize.

The bookclub discussion is about Jon Young’s Coyote Guide. Chapter 3 lists and describes 13 core routines for developing nature awareness. I was gratified to be reminded that quiet sitting outdoors is the most essential routine of all thirteen. Sitting quietly for 15 minutes under the same oak tree has been the unlikely favorite part of my class.

Note that there is a new poem to transition into quiet sit time. We say the poem out loud together call and response before we find a quiet spot to sit. Caroline, my co-instructor, wrote that poem and I love it.

Caroline and Jodi are telling stories each week that relate to the natural history of Orange County, and to a letter of the alphabet. Last week when we did “A” (the story was about Thalia’s arrowhead) I emphasized that that two vertical lines of the “A” needed to touch at the top. One observant student said, “Oh, not like train tracks, but like my track splitter piece.”

Here are the songs, transitions, and blessings for October 2011.
Follow, Follow Me
Follow, follow me
To the ring of the fairies
Follow, follow me,
Where the fairies dance and sing.
Gather with you now
All the magic you can carry,
As we circle ‘round the dancing fairy ring.

Now Look Around
Now look around
We’ve made a ring
By holding hands you see.
Yes, here I am,
And there you are,
Together we are we.

Four Directions Chant
Good morning to the East where the sun rises in the morning.
Good morning to the West where the sun sets at night.
Good morning to the South where the land is warm.
Good morning to the North where the land is cold.
And good morning to the Earth which is my home.

Morning Song from Betty Jones’s A Child’s Seasonal Treasury
Good morning dear earth. (Crouch, touch ground)
Good morning dear sun. (Rise and extend arms to sky)
Good morning dear rocks and the flowers every one. (Crouch and knock fists on ground, then wave fingers and sway hands for flowers)
Good morning dear beasts. (Remain crouching, put hands on head for horns)
And the birds in the trees. (Flap arms while rising to stand)
Good morning to you and good morning to me. (Bow to others twice, then stand upright and cross arms over chest.)

Goodbye Summer
Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves,
Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves;
Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white.
Autumn, good morning!
Summer, goodnight!

Woodchoppers
We are working, working hard
Chopping firewood in the yard
Chopping, chopping, chop, chop, chop!

Merrily the pieces drop!
Hands up high, that is right,
We must hold the chopper tight
Chopping, chopping, chop, chop, chop!

It’s the finest game we know,
It makes us warm from head to toe.
Chopping, chopping, chop, chop, chop!

Now a bundle we will tie
We’ll put it in the shed to dry
Chopping, chopping, chop, chop, chop!

Standing in a circle, the children grasp imaginary axes and “chop” in rhythm. At “bundle,” all stoop to pick up “heavy” bundle, trudge to center of circle to dump the load of wood.

The Squirrel Song
Autumn time is busy time for little Mister Squirrel
I see him working in my yard in his coat of soft brown fur.
He holds an acorn in his mouth and digs a hole with his front feet in wintertime
when he is hungry he will dig it up to eat.
And if he has not eaten it when winter turns to spring
A little tree will grow from it so straight and strong and green.

Five Little Pumpkins
Here’s five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late!”
The second one said, “Oh, I don’t care.”
The third one said, “There’s something in the air!”
The fourth one said, “ Let’s run, run, run!”
The fifth one said, “It’s only Halloween fun!”
Then WHOOSH goes the wind and OUT goes the light,
And five little pumpkins roll out of sight!

Scary by Betty Jones
Scary scarecrows? Ha ha ha! (Make menacing scarecrow gesture)
Crows just laugh at them! Caw, caw, caw! (Flap arms like crows)
Scary ghosties? Boo, boo, boo! (Float arms up and down while turning in place.)
Not as scary as you, you, you! (Point to somebody else and make scary face.)
Scary witches? Hee, hee, hee! (Fly on imaginary broomstick around circle.)
Not as scary as me, me ,me! (Stop in place and make scary sound/gesture.)

The Back Song
Dot, dot, dot
And a big question mark.
Little spiders crawl up your back
Little spiders crawl down your back
Little spiders crawl up your arms
Little spiders crawl down your arms
Cool breeze, tight squeeze.
Egg on the head and the yolk drips down.
Creepy crawlies, creepy crawlies…
Gotcha.

TRANSITION SONGS AND BLESSINGS

The Story Song
Anything can happen
In a fairy tale or rhyme
When you say the magic words
Once a upon a time

Handwashing Song
Time to wash our hands,
Time to wash our hands

Welcome, welcome
Welcome to our table
Welcome, welcome
We all join hands together. (We sing this until every one is at the table)

Snack Time Blessing
Earth who gives to us this food.
Sun who makes it ripe and good.
Sun above and earth below,
Our loving thanks to you we show.
Blessings on our meal.

Quiet Time Poem
Sitting, sitting quietly
I wonder what I may see-
What sound or smell the wind may bring…
I stop to notice everything.

Breathing, breathing calm and slow,
I let myself get in the flow
Of what is happening in this place
When I keep a slower pace.

Lunch Gratitude
Bless this food and everyone who made this meal possible. Let it remind us of our connection to the Earth, the Sun, the Water, the Air, all those who came before us and those who are yet to be born. May we keep them in mind in all we do.

CLOSING CIRCLE
Who will come to my wee ring?
My wee ring
My wee ring
Who will come to my wee ring?
And make it a little bit bigger?

The earth stands firm beneath my feet. The sun shines high above. Here I stand, so straight and strong – all things to know and love

I can turn myself and turn myself and stop me when I will. I can reach high on my tippy toes and hold myself quite still.

The Earthroots Tree Song
Standing like a tree with my roots down deep,
Branches wide and open.
Come down the rain,
Come down the sun,
Come down the fruits to the heart that is open.

Rainbow Bridge Song
Goodbye, goodbye
Blessings on your way.
May the sun shine bright
In your hearts today.

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