Circles are psychologically safe spaces where children and adults can feel safe, supported, respected and free to speak openly and honestly. Participating in circles helps people see opportunities, challenges and consequences. Circles can be powerful life altering experiences for the participants if they are willing to have a receptive attitude and deep listening.
The circle process is guided by the following common principles:
Opening – an invitation to participate in the circle and a time to shift participant’s attention and gets them centered or focused. The opening can be a reading, quote, poem, etc.
Check In – Insures that the participants are mentally present and ready to participate. It allows the circle facilitator to gage the mood, temperament, etc. Questions for check in can be tied to the circle topic or can be a general question
Agreements – allows the group to verbalize how they agree to treat each other and what each person needs in order to feel safe and free to speak
Discussion – Circle questions based on the topic of the circle. Questions can be designed to elicit a variety of responses such as storytelling, self reflection, information, brainstorming, etc.
Closing/Check Out – An official end to the discussion that can consist of sharing final thoughts or feelings, sharing what you learned, reading a poem, etc.