What is the format of the circle?
We start by gathering in the front room where we write name tags and wait for everyone to arrive. We then move through into the space which is set up in a circle of cushions with a beautiful centrepiece.
Once seated, we welcome the girls and talk about the reasons and etiquette of sitting in circle. When sitting in circle we check-in at the beginning by lighting a candle and saying our name with a couple of words about how we are feeling. This is a gentle way for the girls to get used to the group and introduce themselves. We follow this by a game in pairs where each girl asks their partner 3 questions which then get shared back into the circle.
Depending on the theme we may tell a story, ask questions and talk about the topic, play a game or do role plays. We use many tools, e.g. cards, pictures, whiteboard, felt diagrams, etc. We have a mid-morning break for a healthy snack and chai where wonderful organic conversation occurs. The circle is completed by a craft activity. We check out at the end by blowing out the candles.
Why do you call it a circle, rather than a workshop?
Sitting in circle is an ancient way of gathering and being in community. It's a place where everyone is equal, it is inclusive. Many of our topics are sensitive, requiring a sacred, safe and respectful setting.
Research shows that ‘the circle process establishes a safe non-hierarchical place in which all present have the opportunity to speak without interruptions. Rather than active verbal facilitation, communication is regulated through the passing of the object. The talking stick or other object fosters respectful listening and reflection. [Talking circles] effectively foster respect, model good listening skills, settle disputes, resolve conflicts, and build self-esteem.'
What if my child is shy?
We acknowledge that it is a brave thing to come to a group without knowing anyone else or us! We strive to ensure that the girls feel welcomed and comfortable. Even we feel the nerves before running the circles! Once we're seated, we ask the girls to pair up and ask a set of questions which are then shared into the circle. There are often lots of giggles and excitement. We let them know that anyone has the right to pass when it’s their time to share, though we do encourage them to share if they can. We are used to all levels of involvement and engagement and as there are two mentors facilitating the group, there is always someone to support the quieter children.
Can I stay while my daughter attends?
We suggest that you drop your daughter off and go have a coffee and/or a walk! While it is possible for you to stay and wait, we feel it is more beneficial for her to fully immerse herself in the circle without any distraction. We are happy to let you know if your girl is distressed and wants her Mum or Dad, though we haven’t experienced this scenario before.
If you have any other questions, please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
"She came home full of news and ideas as well as boosted confidence.She definitely wants to go to a future session and said Karen and Eve were wonderful."