Circle Time


Ruth mentioned in our discussions whose voices we heard when we read about circle-time experiences.  Leach and Lewis confront the issues around power and ‘voice’ in the context of circle time.  One aspect of this that is a particular concern of mine is that teachers and others who engage with circle time may – especially if they are doing it right! – find themselves entangled in very distressing and confusing emotional processes.  It is rare that schools set up for their staff something similar to the therapeutic supervision that therapists have – supervision is an ethical process that safeguards children/clients and the wellbeing and capacity to function of the therapist by providing a space/opportunity to reflect on ’what happened’ and how to manage the complex emotional dynamics of the engagement. 

Some of you are probably already familiar with this paper below which challenges the optimistic radicalismof circle time, and may lead some of us to ask what schools want to do when they want to do circle time.  I find myself asking whether schools see it as part of their function to repair with children the harm that schooling does to those children in other parts of their functioning?

Tony Leach & Ellie Lewis (2013): Children’s experiences during circle-time: a call for research-informed debate, Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, 31:1, 43-52