This is a post out of the “31 Days of Morning Circles for the Child with Special Needs”. You can find the main page for this series here.
I believe that the basics in life aren’t academically-related. Everything your child needs to learn about anything is based on essential life skills. Through life skills, your child will learn to learn and to achieve to the best of his potential. (You can read more about lifelong learning and life skills in this mini-series beginning here).
Morning circles are so successful in a school setting because they introduce children to the basics in life: human connections, a sense of belonging and inner-peace. The same is true in the home setting, which is why more and more homeschoolers begin their day with morning circles. Homeschoolers have an advantage over schools because the group ratio is smaller, thereby increasing the likelihood of success.
Because we want to build the same types of “basics” for the child with special needs, I can’t think of any structure more beneficial for a child and his family than morning circles.
If you’re unsure how morning circles can benefit your child and your homeschool unit, the list below touches on some of the advantages.
Benefits of the morning circle for the child with special needs:
- welcoming and celebrating a new day is a positive start for all family members
- we are all most energetic and focused in the morning, thereby increasing likelihood of meaningful learning
- creates a climate of peace within the home
- parents connect with their children through closeness and touch
- encourages eye contact
- provides grounding for a child who has difficulty with his body in space
- empowers children to solve problems and to make decisions in an intimate setting
- family rituals are formed
- children learn familiar rhythms and routines that will be internalized
- children anticipate what comes next
- not grade-specific — children of multi-ages can be a part of the circle with much success
- adjusting activities to the children’s developmental level is rather simple to do
- short bites of activities for a maximum amount of learning
- success rate for concept/ skill development is high
- children develop behavioral and social skills (like taking turns, waiting, and calming down through direct strategies)
- all subjects can be incorporated into the morning circle with ease
- promotes inner-motivation, self-worth and self-respect
- children practice communication skills
- children learn to control their environment in a safe setting – not passive members waiting for mom and dad to direct their next move
This list only touches the surface.
When I was a classroom teacher, I facilitated a morning circle in kindergarten, but I also worked one into grade 5/6 for two years in a row. Unfortunately, scheduling didn’t permit me to do this with the older grades each year of my career. This is why I am so excited when I gather with my son in the morning. There aren’t any limitations and the benefits are endless!
Do you already start your day with morning circles? What benefits have you seen with respect to your child with special needs? What about with other members of your family?