EICS Circles

Fostering faith, connection, and community

EICS Circles is a universal approach that our educators can use with students of all ages in a multitude of contexts to foster faith, community, and connection in their classrooms and school communities. Foundational elements of circles are rooted in Indigenous teachings that share a model for a respectful approach to talking with others to provide a sense of communion and interconnectedness.

The EICS Circles Team was initiated and facilitated by EICS Inclusive Learning Director Bonnie-Lynne Boehm, who in her previous role as a school principal integrated and led whole-school circle practices. She intentionally formed the EICS Circles Team to include EICS staff who have a wealth and breadth of experiences, skills and knowledge in psychology; leadership; educational consulting; and early learning, elementary and secondary teachers. 

The goals of EICS Circles are for educators to:

  • Gain foundational knowledge and understanding of circles as a universal approach that encourages respectful communication and empathy for others.
  • Foster relationships, establish a sense of belonging, and enhance our EICS communities by using circles in the classroom and school communities.

What students say about EICS Circles

  • "I look forward to telling people about how I feel, my point of view and not being judged for what I say."
  • "It really makes me calm, because I like how quiet it is when everyone is listening."
  • "You get to know everybody and then your classroom feels like family that bit more because you know about one another."
  • "Sometimes if you have something that you think is a bit weird that you have in common with someone else it can make you feel good."
  • "I like circles because I like sharing with other friends, it feels nice and warm and welcoming in my classroom afterwards."
  • "I think it is nice. If you are doing a lot of work, it is a break that regroups you."

What educators say about EICS Circles

100% of participants agreed that partaking in the EICS Circles Workshop has enhanced their knowledge, skills, and confidence using a universal circles approach in the classroom to foster faith, connection, and community.

  • "Circles can be simple, yet powerful."
  • "That circles are a meaningful approach to create connections and community for a group of people."
  • "That every child and adult deserve to be heard."
  • "Everybody's story is different, but just as equally important."
  • "The physical, emotional and spiritual benefit of circles."
  • "Circles can evoke emotions you didn't know were there."
  • "Modelling is the teaching."
  • "Connecting with my students at a deeper level and having them enhance their listening skills while creating space for others."
  • "The power of pause and waiting. I think that because I am so used to filling in the gaps of silence, practicing circles in my classroom and having that moment of pausing and sitting with something has really reminded me to also implement that in my everyday teaching practices."
  • "There is a need for trauma-informed schools to promote a safe and welcoming climate, positive and attuned relationships between teachers and students, approach to conflict and conflict mediation with appropriate interventions and supports. Circles can set the foundation for this."
  • "We are so focused on getting through the curriculum that we don't take the time to pause and check on our students during our class, we have to do it outside of the classroom - so it gives us just that extra time to connect as well as reflect on ourselves."
  • "How it is easily tied to other teachings such as... our faith."
  • "Students learn from each other, develop empathy, and build confidence."
  • "Students value this time together and love hearing what their classmates' responses are."
  • "I have noticed that my students are less shy when advocating for themselves in my classroom."
  • "It has reduced stress levels and improved collaboration."