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AUGUST 12 - 17, 2020


This Circle Way Practicum is a residential retreat based on the book The Circle Way, A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. The twenty-plus year tradition of teaching and learning The Circle Way on Whidbey Island, Washington has entered its next generation. We are committed to continuing to grow The Circle Way practice, community, and colleagues. This includes welcoming periodic co-teachers.

Together we will:

  • Explore what is The Circle Way and how it works – the agreements, principles and practices that give it strength.

  • Practice circle participation and hosting.

  • Apply circle infrastructure to real and challenging situations in work or personal life.

  • Learn how circle can be used as a primary organizational operating system.

  • Discover how understanding The Circle Way can take your hosting of other participatory processes such as World Cafe and Open Space Technology to a much deeper place. 


The circle is an ancient dialogue practice

that can assist us today to engage in

high quality conversations

Circle work demands a blending of deep intentionality with simple design. Amanda and Tenneson came impeccably prepared not just for the specific work they wanted to teach, but equally prepared to immerse themselves right alongside each one of us. They made the incredible credible by their attentiveness to what the group needed. Sometimes it meant a gentle reminder of our agreements, at others a bit of wisdom floated out to catch the moment. They lived the pause - to seek better wisdom, to refocus, to provide respite from the hard work. Their gentle ways of relating to each other and to each of the participants fostered an environment of kindness and joy. We learned “The Circle Way,” but we came away knowing that this work is a sacred calling for each and every one of us.
— Gloria Winters, practicum participant
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Who is Invited?

Who is Invited?

Everyone who cares for the quality of conversations and the quality of relationships is warmly welcome to attend. This circle practice particularly supports people...

  • Who are ready to discover a new culture of communication in organizations,

  • Who are looking for better team solutions and for the capacity to allow collective intelligence to emerge,

  • Who are willing to explore the “Leader in Every Chair” approach in order to achieve more commitment, ownership, joy and sustainable solutions and decisions,

  • Who work as leaders, managers, supervisors, project leaders, youth leaders, educators, board members, youth and family workers, faith leaders, organizational developers, and those working in fields such as health care, government, health care, the social sector, education, organizations, healing and trauma work, parent groups, restorative justice, social innovation and corporate teams. 

Previous experience in group facilitation and leadership is helpful.

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Where: Aldermarsh of Whidbey Island

This learning experience will be held at the unique and beautiful Aldermarsh of Whidbey Island, Washington, USA. 

Located 30 miles north of Seattle, Whidbey Island provides a delightful retreat setting for this practicum. We will be housed in the lush green stillness of the Maxwelton valley in a facility of gardens, nooks and crannies, great food and the support of tall trees. Full travel information is available upon registration.

The Aldermarsh grounds include three houses, two cabins, and The Marsh House (the meditation hall, which we will use as our main learning space). There is also a cordwood sweat lodge/Kiva, outdoor Japanese soaking tub, beautifully maintained gardens, and acres of wetlands.

Aldermarsh is a relaxed, creative, and comfortable environment with mostly shared occupancy and bath. There is plenty of space for solitude as well as interaction. Please note this venue is not wheelchair accessible.


From the warm welcome and pickup at the ferry terminal to the closing on the last day, the Practicum was a masterfully designed and artfully facilitated learning experience. The attention to every detail, the responsive and supportive learning facilitation and the creation of a safe, caring and sacred space for learning and discovery far exceeded my expectations. I departed Whidbey Island with enhanced skills and confidence in calling circle and with a greater appreciation for the “magic” and power of The Circle Way. Thanks Amanda and Tenneson.
— Marlin Murdock, practicum participant
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When: August 12 - 17, 2020

Our learning experience begins Wednesday with supper and a brief opening circle after dinner.

From Thursday to Sunday our program runs the full day as well as some of the evenings. On Monday we will end shortly before noon (1/2 day session).

The number of days, five spread over six, is deliberately chosen to encourage retreat, deep learning, and a lasting  integration of circle applied to your respective work.

There is spacious time for rest, reflection, hikes, walks, going to the beach, visiting the town of Langley, and body work (cost for body work is extra).

Julie Gersten, a wonderfully skilled massage therapist, will be available for massage in the free time during the workshop. Sessions are self-pay. You’ll get a chance to meet her early in the week, and there will be a signup sheet for massage sessions.


During our time together we will live and work in circle to learn circle.

We teach circle by talking about it, demonstrating it along with other circle-based dialogue methods, and inviting people to take leadership during the practicum. This creates an intensive, experiential learning experience that leads to significant skill development. Participants leave primed to practice and apply circle in their own work, life and community.


We will explore: 

  • The different components of circle practice that help create a strong container for our stories and important conversations.

  • How circle works – the principles, practices and agreements.

  • How to create conditions for better listening and intentional speaking.

  • How to apply various aspects of circle process to enhance our conversations and meetings.

  • Strengthening inner personal grounding and clarity as circle hosts, guardians, and participants.

  • Our own hosting in small circles with real questions and issues.

  • Working with energetics, shadow, conflict and sustaining healthy circles.

  • The special contributions of story and appreciation in circle.

  • The capacity of circle that allows collective intelligence to emerge, and how the “leader in every chair” approach can achieve more commitment, ownership, joy and sustainable solutions and decisions. 

I am completely enamored with The Circle Way. This methodology brings to groups what coaching does for my clients in the co-creative healing. Many thanks to Tenneson and Amanda for their powerful teaching. This was one of the strongest connections with a group during, and apparently after, I have attended. This is a game changer for me. I have already had several opportunities open to me and I am accepting!
— Joan Hitchens, practicum participant
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August 12 - 17, 2020

Whidbey Island, Washington

The application for the 2020 practicum will be available soon. Join our email list to be notified.

Registration is limited to 20 participants

Cost Information

Cost information coming soon.



Some grants are available, with priority for self-identified Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour under 30 (ish)

Please see The Circle Way.


Generosity circle: If you can offer a little more to support others who can’t afford to pay the full tuition please make a contribution through the circle way. Your gift helps us welcome and include more of the diversity of our world-wide community.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel more than 30 days before the practicum begins, we will return your payment minus a $100 administrative charge. If you cancel within 30 days of the practicum start date, any refund is contingent upon our ability to fill your space in the practicum. 



Our deepest belief has been that careful dialogue, with a question or intention in the center, agreements for speaking and listening at the rim, and a light social structure for leadership can change how people work, live, and govern themselves.  

~ Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea