Day 8: Setting up the Morning Circle for the Child with Special Needs – The Weekly Structure (+ Free Planner!)

Day 8- Setting up the Morning Circle for the child with special needs - The weekly structureThis 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.

In the last post, I shared a daily structure (+ a free planner) to help you organize your daily morning circle routine.

It’s a good idea to also have a weekly routine – especially for the main activities part of the circle. Sometimes, children with special needs, such as those with cognitive delays, have a difficult time understanding the days of the week and the time lapse between them.

This is why you’ll notice from the sample I shared on day 7, that I don’t work on calendar skills with my son. It’s too abstract a concept. Instead, we work on specific skills/ activities on specific days of the week. Rather than saying, “Today is Monday”, which means absolutely nothing to my son, I say, “Today is Drawing Day!” And, each Monday is indeed drawing day.

Over time, your child will internalize the routine. He’ll know that the day after Drawing Day is Exercise Day, and so on.

How to attribute skills to the morning circle activities:

To decide what types of activities/ skills you want to focus on in the main activities section, create a list for yourself. Use criteria for subjects you already work on as inspiration. Then, categorize the criteria and attribute them to a corresponding day.

For example, on a weekly basis, my son works on:

  • fine motor
  • gross motor
  • communication/ language
  • numeracy
  • nature studies
  • art
  • music
  • ADL skills
  • social skills

Technically, we work on these skills daily, but formally, we emphasize them somewhere in the span of a week.

I use the morning circle to introduce a new skill because we are already in a safe setting. I am usually sitting close to my son and have his attention, so I can introduce a skill that he’ll be using later in the day or week.

Since drawing is a fine motor activity, I’ve found that I can work on fine motor exercises through various drawing activities. For instance, drawing can be done using different tools (crayons, markers, chalk, finger, a stick, etc.) and on different surfaces (whiteboard, paper, chalkboard, sand, in the air, etc.) If I label Monday as “Fine Motor” day, it doesn’t mean anything to my son. Instead, I’ve dedicated Mondays to drawing and labeled it “Drawing Day”. This doesn’t mean we don’t draw on other days of the week. We just focus on drawing in the morning circle on Mondays.

In your homeschool, the skills/ subjects you list might be something like this:

  • language/ communication
  • math
  • social studies
  • science
  • music
  • art
  • ASL skills
  • motor skills
  • social skills

It all depends on your child’s developmental level.

Possible weekly dedications to the main activities in the morning circle:

  • Drawing Day
  • Movement/ Exercise Day
  • Music Day
  • Numbers Day
  • Craft/ Handwork Day
  • Modeling Day
  • Water Play Day
  • Writing Day
  • Word Day
  • Nature Day
  • Experiment Day
  • etc.

A sample morning circle schedule:

 

This is a sample weekly circle planner. You can work with this schedule/ routine for a month or so, then you can change it up. The possibilities are endless.

Morning Circle Planner_Visual Schedule Sample

Create a weekly visual schedule for your child using images. On a weekly calendar, use laminated photos/ drawings on Velcro to depict the activity of the day. Hang it in a spot where your child will have access to it. Announce the activity of the day (either before the circle or before the activity itself). When the activity is over, have your child remove the card.

To make the task easier for you, I’ve created a weekly planner (free to download by clicking on image):

Morning Circle_Weekly Planner

You can use this planner for more than just attributing weekly skills. I have given you enough space to make detailed notes to better plan your morning circle on a weekly basis. I’ve also included weekends.

 What skills will you work on in the morning circle? What “days” would you add to the list?

 

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