Social Boundaries: The Circles Curriculum

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Family Life & Relationships

Circles Curriculum® Complete BundleNew

The Circles Curriculum®

National Best-Seller! Teach your students the Circles rules of intimacy, social boundaries and interpersonal skills.

The Circles Curriculum® was fantastic! I saw real improvements in the students I worked with learning how to interact appropriately with others.
Karina Cartwright
Supported Employment Program

What is the Circles Curriculum?

The Circles Program teaches social distance and levels of intimacy through the use of six color-coded concentric circles. Starting from the center circle, which represents the self, each new colored circle represents behaviors, feelings, and actions appropriate to the distance from the center of self. Circles was written by Leslie Walker-Hirsch, Med, Marklyn Champagne, RN, MSW & James Stanfield, EDD

For example, a person may hug and kiss members of the family, people in the Blue Hug Circle, but only wave to the mailman, who would be in the distant orange wave circle. The Circles method has been used successfully to teach students with:

  • learning disabilities
  • mild to severe mental disabilities
  • emotional handicaps
  • autism
  • sensory impairments, and
  • affective disorders


These strategies are considered to be Best Practices in Special Education and social skills training and have been well documented in the literature that prepares Special Education teacher candidates for educating students with unique learning styles

Special Education Teaching & Pedagogical Strategies

Each individual teacher can personalize each lesson to address the specific needs of his or her own class. The more familiar the teacher becomes with the Circles concept, the more applications she or he will find.




We couldn’t be more excited to announce the upcoming release of Circles Intimacy and Relationships: Elementary School Edition. The same groundbreaking paradigm used with thousands of young adults across the country has been adapted for elementary school students with special needs!

The Circles Program teaches social distance and levels of intimacy through the use of seven color-coded concentric circles. Starting from the center circle, which represents the self, each new colored circle represents behaviors, feelings, and actions appropriate to the distance from the center of self.




Divided into two parts, “Social Boundaries” and “Relationships Building,” this program is an ideal introduction to the Circles Paradigm, especially for students with mild to moderate cognitive impairment.

Circles Level 1 has had a complete overhaul. Updated with all new videos and additional relationships, Circles will help your students ‘SEE’ social boundaries. Circles Level 1 explains the relationship between intimacy and how we interact with others. Teach your students how levels of intimacy affect how we TOUCH, TALK to, and TRUST each other.



With its “reality show” format, this new expanded version of Circles is ideal for illustration the more subtle application of the Circles Paradigm. This makes the perfect “Second Step” for students with mild to moderate cognitive challenged and can also be used as a stand-alone introduction for higher functioning and regular students.

Level 2 Second-Step Content includes:

  • Alternative Intimacy Level Signs
  • Circle Jumping: when it’s OK and when it’s not
  • Reversal of Intimacy Level
  • Rejecting Intimacy and Having Intimacy Rejected
  • Relationship Dissolution, and more!

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The Stanfield Way

The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.

Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.

Stanfield Special Education Curriculum

VideoModeling® Programs

VideoModeling® is a ground-breaking teaching concept originated by the James Stanfield Company that’s used in thousands of public and private schools across America and Canada for special education needs.

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My students were glued to the screen. Love Stanfield’s humor. This is the way to teach social skills.

Susan Simon, Principal

Using Humor to Teach Social Skills

Humor = Retention

We believe you learn best when you laugh. By making the classroom experience more comfortable and enjoyable, humor can make teaching and learning more effective, especially for the K12 segment. At Stanfield, we use humor as an integral part of our curricula.

If you as a speaker don’t help your audience to remember your lessons, then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Humor… can help accomplish that needed retention…

Gean Perret, Screenwriter
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