Providing well-being circle times is an effective practice to foster relationships and proactively reinforce skills for social and emotional growth for our youngest scholars. This developmentally appropriate strategy can contribute to their academic achievement and benefit students long-term well-being.
Rhithm and Well-being Circles
Well-being Circles are a chance for students and educators to gather in unity to increase classroom connections, resolve conflicts, share feelings, and have meaningful conversation. Using Rhithm as a well-being circle tool can be an effective way to support student’s growth in these ways.
Try an Emoji Lesson Plan. Before introducing your students to Rhithm, using this lesson plan can help increase student’s overall emotional vocabulary and awareness, and help them become familiar with the Rhithm Simplified Check-In. All of our lesson plans are included in the Introducing Students to Rhithm article here.
Schedule a Live Session with a group activity. Live sessions allow you as the teacher to watch student’s data arrive on your dashboard in real-time. This will allow you to get a pulse for your class’ well-being prior to starting your circle. More about scheduling live sessions can be found here.
Get into Rhithm! Establish a routine for students to complete a Wellness Check-In right before they join the well-being circle, whether that is on a shared device before they sit down, or individually on their own devices before transitioning in. For our youngest scholars, we recommend using the Simplified Wellness Check-In. If done in the morning, this can help students identify how they are feeling at the start of the day and help teachers get a pulse on the classroom as a whole. Learn more here: Getting Into Rhithm
Watch the group activity together from the circle. Once all your students have completed their check-in and arrived in the circle, Having students engage in a group regulation activity video together can be a way to foster community and normalize regulation skills building.
Use the Rhithm Toolkit. The Rhithm Toolkit is our library of Rhithm videos that can be played in addition to the group activity video. You can search and play videos of your choice without engaging in the check-in process. You might find that playing a calming video from the Toolkit prior to the Check-In can help your students have more self-awareness while completing the Check-In. Where to locate the Toolkit and how to navigate the filter based search feature can be found here: The Rhithm Toolkit
Start a conversation once your circle has begun. to build relationships with your students. Open-ended questions are often best. If you aren’t sure where to start, you might check out our Well-being Circle Question guide.
Explore Assessment Questions: Pro and Hero members can access the Pre-Built Assessment Library, where you can find assessments related to a variety of well-being topics. You may choose to have students complete an assessment during circle time, such as the Social Emotional Competency Survey on Relationship Skills to learn more about classroom dynamics, or use assessment questions to start informal conversation around a given topic. Hero members also have the choice to create their own custom assessment for students to take.
Tips for Well-being Circles
Set the tone by letting students know that during today’s circle time they will be focusing on their feelings and that there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Increase emotional expression and peer connection by asking questions, and encouraging students to ask questions to one another
Allow students to move! Most Preschool and kindergarten aged students best learn social and emotional concepts when able to move, be creative, and have a whole body learning experience.
Have circle activities during consistent times each day, helping students develop routine and sense of a safe place
Set clear expectations around the purpose of the well-being circle, the length, and any activity rules. Having visuals around expectations and rules is developmentally appropriate and can be a helpful tool to use when reviewing expectations and rules at the start of each circle time.
Be aware of any personal bias or preference you may have towards student emotions; remind yourself that even when students have challenging or unpreferred emotions, that is a healthy and normative part of well-being. It is not an adult’s job to “fix” a child’s emotion, but to help them learn to sit with it in a safe way.
Although there can be many benefits to having a well-being circle, not all students may feel safe in a circle setting or act differently than expected, due to cultural differences, personal temperament, mental health concerns, or a history of trauma. Having proactive plans in place on how to support students who may appear uncomfortable during a well-being circle or are resident to join can be helpful. Some plans may include speaking with a student one to one before the start of the well-being circle to learn more, having a quiet activity for a student to complete in another space, or implement the use of a calming corner. More information on calming corners can be found here: Creating and Using a Calming Corner for Anxiety
As an educator, your well-being and comfort in the circle is just as important. Being mindful of any thoughts or feelings that arise for you during a well-being circle may be helpful in giving yourself what you need and supporting your students.
We are currently working to improve our offerings for our youngest scholars. If you are a PK-2 teacher interested in trying out new features with us or giving feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.