5.3 Period 1: Huddle, Circle Time & Opening Ritual

Period 1- The Huddle = Circle Time = Opening Ritual – 5 Parts

  1. Greeting & Getting acquainted / Name Game (learning names)
  2. Expectations & goal setting
  3. Gentle reminder of rules / code of conduct
  4. Seated games or icebreakers = opening ritual = ice breaker games
  5. Run for Fun – Running to getting the wiggles outs

This section of class establishes the instructor’s expectations. It is also when the children learn the goals of the day. Coaches must consistently offer an opening ritual. This period should be 8- 10 minutes long. It also allows for any late arrivals, as children this age often come a few minutes late due to nap times and other schedule conflicts. It is also common to find kids at this age require more transition time from the car to a class, than kids over the age of 9.

Period 1:

Period 1 begins sitting on a designated dot, inside an agility circle or any other type of position marker. These should be arranged before class and in a circle or oval shape. This portion of the class will be organized differently than the other sections of class.

As kids arrive, they should be directed to a specific marker, dot or agility ring. Never let children pick their spot. Always give clear directions which one they should sit on. Once kids are all seated, make sure you are seated as well. Find a way to learn each child’s name and then use it in a conversation during this section. This is critical for developing rapport and trust. After a short conversation, review the code of conduct and explain what they are going to do in class. It is your goal to sell the curriculum of the day. For example, ‘jumping jacks are so much fun, arm action is amazing, we are going to learn to run super fast and jumping on two feet can help you meet a kangaroo when you visit Australia.’

Imagination, inspiration and imitation will be a reliable strategy when creating the games you want to play in class.
Seated games during The Huddle include (see videos and sheets document with games):

  • Simon says a word
  • Hand clapping echo game
  • Silly sentences.
  • In my trunk.

After the Huddle

Before moving onto the ADW, the first period finishes with a run for fun. This lasts a few minutes and allows the kids to run, but in an organized fashion. We have found that allowing kids this age to run for just a few minutes helps them focus when beginning the active dynamic warm up and the athletic lessons. This section is not a free-for-all. It is a structured way to let them release a little energy.

This transition works best by ending The Huddle with the kids handing you their position marker (dot, ring). Then, you will assign them the lane and position they should stand in. For example, ‘Michael stand in lane 1, you are the line leader.’ A good tip for this transition is to give the group clear and simple actions while they wait to be assigned.

Here are some examples:

  • Everyone freeze like a statue.
  • Freeze like a superhero and when I touch you, become unfrozen.
  • Put a super bubble in your mouth (being quiet) and place your hands on your head.
  • Glue your feet to the ground and hands on the hips.

Once the kids are in place in their line, let them simply run for fun. You can keep it simple and direct the kids to run from one point to another on your command. It is okay to tell the kids they are going to run and get their wiggles out before beginning the focused portion of their training. This brief running portion at the end of period 1 must have simple directions. This is a great opportunity to practice the code of conduct like, taking turns, keeping your hands to yourself, stopping their body and returning to the end of the line. Once this is done, the children line up for a water break. Class will return for Period 2, the active dynamic warm up.