Entering the Circle
There are things we leaders can do to keep the precious quiet and readiness going until all are ready to dive into the story:
Making the atmosphere calm and quiet is essential to keeping the peace. We usually have a CD playing softly. This is just another cue to the children that it is time to focus and watch. Personally, I like to have the lights off in the classroom. The children can see just fine and it adds to the calm of the room after the noise of the game room.
As I described in The Order of Things, as the children come into the room, I often draw pictures of a few things in the story. This is not presented as a guessing game but the children know to try to figure out what the drawn pictures are, and to look for them in the story. As the children sit down, I'll whisper a short, personal hello, never stopping what I'm doing. In this way I can acknowledge that I'm very glad to see the student come into the circle, but it also says that what I'm creating on the paper for the story is important.
After all the children have found their places in the circle, the teacher asks them to tell her what they think they see. All responses are accepted and acknowledged as possible here, because the child sees what they see. Then we have a prayer and begin the story.