Being part of a Waldorf school means becoming part of a community that celebrates the cycles of the year through a rich festival life. Celebrating these festivals helps us to connect with the cycles of nature and establish a yearly rhythm for our children. Through these festivals, the school cultivates community among children, teachers, parents and friends.
Festivals help us to nourish our souls through the sharing of stories, food, songs and activities linked to the seasons and expressed with beauty and reverence. In addition to the community wide festivals listed here, teachers celebrate other festivals in the classroom, including those connected to different cultures being studied.
Each year on the first day of school, the incoming first grade class is welcomed with a Rose Ceremony. Incoming first grade students present their teacher with a rose or other flower, which are then gathered together in a bouquet to symbolize the creation of the class unit. During this opening day assembly the class and specialty teachers are introduced, and each class teacher presents a brief overview of his/her grade’s curriculum for the year.
This annual Fall festival is celebrated with a pageant, songs, games of courage and strength, and old fashioned activities such as bobbing for apples, making corn necklaces and corn husk dolls and grinding grain. Everyone wears the color red to represent the courage that we gather to ‘fight the dragon’. The day includes a shared potluck under the oak trees.
Each November we have a Lantern Walk to celebrate Martinmas, a festival of inner light in the outer darkness of the approaching winter. St Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half-naked and freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders and, drawing his sword, cut it in two, and gave half to the beggar.
The children hear the story of St. Martin, sing songs and, as darkness falls, venture out into the night with their lanterns walking along a path lit with glowing luminaries. They carefully carry their lanterns in a mood of quiet reverence. We often make a collection of warm / winter clothing to donate in honor of this event.
Winter Spiral Garden of Light
In this reverent and beautiful ceremony of light, children are led by an angel along a spiral path of evergreens. Reaching the center candle, the children light their apple candles and set them along the spiral path, slowly bringing light into the darkened hall. Songs of the Advent season are sung by a chorus of faculty and grades children.
This is a wonderful event in which our community comes together to create an enriching holiday experience that year after year lives in our hearts and memories as a welcoming to the Holiday season. The Holiday Faire is not only a Festival, but also a Fundraising Event which provides our school the opportunity to share the beauty of our campus with the greater public.
The entire community comes together to prepare for this event which includes wholesome food vendors, children’s activities and crafts, a bake sale and vendors of homemade and natural material crafts and toys.
Everyone is welcome at this annual Spring family-friendly event. There is singing, storytelling, puppet shows, arts / crafts and old-fashioned carnival games. Grade students often provide a demonstration of their Pentathlon skills. All of the grade students participate in the traditional May Faire dancing around the Maypole. Local vendors sell a variety of crafts, homemade items, food and drink.