Arrival and gathering into a circle, a formation in which each person’s place is equal to the others. Use mats to mark the circle or support each VI person into the space and circle formation, as they won’t see the centre or be able to know which way to face. It can be a challenge to orient into a circle formation. This initial task reveals how comfortable the participants are with self directing in this way or of offering assistance to others who hesitate. The facilitators will accompany those who need support addressing each person by their name and describing what is happening –“Hello everyone, we are starting in a circle so gently find you way towards my voice and we will find each other”. There are other creative ways of introducing people who are meeting for the first time which depend on group size, age and proportion of sighted and visually impaired people.
Welcome everyone in a sitting circle – to present workshop leaders and schedule for day/weekend etc. Mention health and safety, fire procedure, housekeeping. If appropriate present the idea of sighted ‘buddies’ for VI participants to ask for assistance when required during class.
Introductions – going around the circle each person says their name and where they have come from. They may say if they have done a workshop with Touchdown before etc. This enables each person to know who and how many are in the group, how big the circle is, how many male and female there are, and to be able to identify the group members as they start to spend more time together.
Small ‘get to know me’ groups – people get into trios and exchange three facts about themselves with each other and present them the whole circle.
Ice Breaker examples. Form a circle standing, stand holding hands, find and take the hand of each neighbour.
- pass the squeeze clockwise, then pause and do anticlockwise, then do 2 or more going around in same or opposite directions with the idea it comes back to the start;
- stretching the circle out, gathering in close; turning the circle clockwise or anticlockwise;
- join sides of the feet together with both neighbours;
- connect hands palm to palm, pushing against each other feeling resilience.