CENTER OF GROUP, CENTER OF ME
Creating a Group Circle
With a circle taped on the floor, the children sit, stand, and dance on the circle. When the drum plays, they scatter all around the room. The drum stops and they freeze. “Eight counts to come back to the circle!” The children move away from the circle and gather back to reform the circle in many variations of rhythms and timing.
With one child as the leader, all the rest of the children follow and form a circle somewhere in the room. We switch leaders many times and the children practice forming and reforming a group circle with one another in different parts of the room.
“Who wants to be in the center of the circle?”
Center of Attention, Attention to Center
The children take turns sharing in the center of the circle, as well as maintaining the periphery of the circle and directing their attention to the person in the center.
“What is it like to be the center of attention? Do you feel excited? At ease? Pleased? Shy?”
Many children are eager to be the center of attention. Some more than others. The children practice both, being part of the circle and being in the center of the group circle.
“What is it like to be part of the group and giving your attention to someone in the center?”
A child runs somewhere in the room, stops, and raises their hands into the air to establish a center. The group follows and creates a circle around the child. In the beginning, I pick which child will be the center. Eventually, the children spontaneously select who will be the center of their attention, and then come to a collective agreement without talking. How do they do this? When the drum plays, they scatter around the room and when it stops, they stop and then raise their hands if they want to be the center. The drum plays again and without talking, children start to circle around those children who want to be the center. Without discussing but simply observing and doing, whichever center-child has the most followers, the other followers and centers join them until the whole group forms one circle around one person. Every child who wants to be the center person gets to be in the center only one time. So everyone knows that in the remaining rounds of the game, they always pick someone who hasn’t had a turn to be the center yet. This continues for the remaining rounds of the game.
Where is your Personal Center?
They explore their centerline from top to bottom, side to side, front and back — crossing and uncrossing their midline with their arms and legs in lots of different ways.
The children explore the different centers along their midline:
- Moving from your head —moving with your brains: Center of your thoughts and ideas
- Moving from your chest —moving with your heart: Center of your hopes, dreams, and wishes
- Moving from your belly —moving from your guts: Center of your courage, hunger, and satisfaction
- Moving from your pelvis —moving from your body power: Center of your movement, power, and vitality
They explore how moving from different centers in themselves changes the quality of how they move, feel, and how they shape their actions.
“How do you extend from your heart? What are the qualities of your reaching out? Flowing? Warm? What is it like to move in this way? Tender, soft? Happy? Sad? Hopeful?
What is it like to move from your belly? Squishy, silly? How hungry are you? How driven? How content or satisfied?”
Running game: Circle-Center Tag
If you get tagged you freeze and create a centerpiece. Two friends join hands to make a circle around you to set you all free. One child can establish half a circle around the “center” person and wait for another to join them. Everyone helps everyone. If you are helping to circle around someone who is frozen, you cannot get tagged.