This week we had our whole group and staff together for the first time since the new year began. I felt that this was an important even to honour. We all sat in a large circle and lit our special "birthday candle". I told the children that I'd like the light of the candle to travel around the whole circle, passing in front of every member of our community, until the lit candle got back to me.
I was prepared for our group to not succeed in passing the candle around the whole circle on the first try. I was thinking of the children for whom it would be a challenge NOT to blow it out, or who would have trouble passing it to the next person. But the moment was solemn enough that the candle made it all the way around, passed from little hand to little hand.
The children cheered when it made it to the end, and I heard one of the children spontaneously break out into our community song. Someone suggested we sing our "School Family" song:
(to the tune of "You are My Sunshine"- borrowed from this website)
You are my family
my school family
I feel happy
when you are here
You'll never know friends
how much I love you
When you are gone
I'll keep you here (hand on heart)
At the end I invited the oldest child to pick someone to snuff out the candle. Without hesitation, he walked to the child that had been missing for a week because of a broken arm, and gave him the candle snuffer.
To my delight, our assistant captured this lovely moment in video!
We are always looking for new community building activities or rituals- if you have any favorites, please share in the comments!