Festivals throughout the Year

Chinese New Year's Dragon 

Chinese New Year's Dragon 

Celebrating seasonal festivals is an important part of the curriculum at A Child’s Nature. From an autumn candle-lit lantern walk to a spring play driving away King Winter; from a mid-winter visit by Saint Nicholas to a mid-summer wishing bonfire—the children enjoy being part of the cycle of the year. Instead of abstract multiculturalism, we like to celebrate the diversity living in our community, playing Hanukkah games with Jewish friends and teachers, tasting Orthodox Easter food with a Russian child, or welcoming in the the new Year of the Dragon made with a Chinese family. 

The festivals are often combined with a Family Soup Night, adding to the community feeling.  We also participate in wider-community events, such as the Milford Pumpkin Festival and some Pine Hill Waldorf School celebrations.

A Gift from Saint Nicholas

A Gift from Saint Nicholas

Maypole Dancing

Maypole Dancing

Waldorf Festivals - Cycle of the Year

FESTIVALS Cycle of Year crop blue-orange.jpeg
Advent / Winter Solstice Spiral

Advent / Winter Solstice Spiral

    SPRING FESTIVALS

Spring equinox play  ( King Winter & Lady Spring)

Lady Spring

Lady Spring

King Winter

King Winter

In late March, when it seems like winter has been going on too long, A Child's Nature staff likes to present a short play about King Winter vs Lady Spring to celebrate the hoped-for change of seasons.  King Winter enters telling the audience how much fun winter is and promising more sleet and snow.  But he is soon met by Mrs.Thaw who sweeps away the snow.   Then, the heroine, Lady Spring, comes in with her lovely singing and bright flowers.  Supported by Mrs. Thaw and Farmer Brown with all his animals, Lady Spring is more than a match for King Winter. Finally, she transforms him and sends him on his way– but he'll be back next year. 

“King Winter we say, Won't you please go away, 
So warm showers will come to the earth.”

This play is basically light-hearted, but it does give the children images that enrich what they are experiencing in their daily outdoor time.  Going out in all weathers, they get to know and enjoy both winter and spring, and especially mud season.

(The play was originally written by Darcy Drayton for the Pine Hill Waldorf School May Festival.)

King Winter throws snowballs at the audience, while Lady Spring and her helpers try to chase hime away

King Winter throws snowballs at the audience, while Lady Spring and her helpers try to chase hime away

Easter and springtime

Nature table with Easter grass growing

Nature table with Easter grass growing

Spring is a time of joyful rebirth and renewal. In class, the children plant seeds and wonder each day as the Easter grass begins to sprout and grow tall in their little pots and wide dishes on the nature table. They decorate real eggs and paper ones, paint rabbits and especially enjoy hopping like bunnies at circle time. For little children, a story of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly can bring the message of Easter. Outdoors, the preschoolers help with spring cleanup of their play yard raking and carting away leaves in their wagons.  They are excited to see the bulbs they planted in the fall have miraculously appeared as little green shoots and then tall daffodils. 

Down in the Earth, buried deep so deep,
A little plant lay fast asleep.
“Wake,” cried the sun “and creep to the light.” 
“Wake,” cried the voices of the raindrops bright.
And so the little plant arose to see 

What a beautiful, wonderful world this might be. 

Children looking at Lady Spring puppet and Easter grass growing on the preschool nature table

Children looking at Lady Spring puppet and Easter grass growing on the preschool nature table

 

MAYPOLE DANCING

 A 1930's Maypole,  Booklet from the Wilton Historical Society, used by permission

 A 1930's Maypole,  Booklet from the Wilton Historical Society, used by permission

Dancing around a Maypole is a tradition from Germanic countries, ‘Merry Old’ England and even colonial America; it can be on May Day (May 1st) or Whitsun/Penteacost (7 weeks after Easter) or Mid-summer or any day in May. Wilton also has a tradition of Maypole dancing. A photo from May 1930 shows children in paper hats dancing around a maypole in Wilton in front of the original high school. For decades, there has been a May Festival at High Mowing School, the Waldorf high school in Wilton.  At A Child's Nature, the children do May songs at circle time, inside and then outside with the tall maypole, and finally have a special evening with parents, teachers and children all joining the dance.  Instead of complicated weaving, we do simple movements going in and out, around and around the pole.

We’re dancing, we’re dancing, around the Maypole high.
With colors of the rainbow, our ribbons do fly.
Dear children take a ribbon please.
Today May flowers all are we.
Hey diddle dee, hey diddle dee, come join me please.
Hey diddle dee, hey diddle dee, come join me please. 
Around, around, around, a garland we will weave. 

Practicing maypole dances at circle time

Practicing maypole dances at circle time

 

Monthly Birthday Celebrations

Birthdays are a special time for children, and we like to recognize the children born in each month with a special ceremony. Parents and siblings of the birthday children are invited to join the preschool or toddler class that morning. For the infants, the celebration is individual  and naturally much simplified.  In the birthday celebrations, we wish to celebrate life with reverence and joy.

The class listens to a story of how children playing in the starry fields of heaven came down a rainbow bridge to their families on earth, and the birthday children participate in the story.  The teacher or parents tell about something that marks each year in the children's lives. A healthy birthday cake baked by the preschool is enjoyed in addition to the usual morning snack. The birthday children each receive an age-apprpriate gift made especially for them by the teachers, for example, a soft wool ball for a baby's first birthday or a felt dress-up crown for a four-year-old.

Preschool classroom set up for a Birthday Celebration with pathway, rainbow bridge and chairs for parents.

Preschool classroom set up for a Birthday Celebration with pathway, rainbow bridge and chairs for parents.

Birthday Star Song
“In heaven shines a golden star.

An angel brought me from afar,
From heaven down unto the earth,
And brought me to my place of birth.

“Welcome, welcome lovely day,
With sunshine bright and flowers gay,
Where painted birds sing all day long,
And make me kind and good and strong”

More discussion about our Birthday Celebrations, from the Parent Handbook

A Wholesome Birthday Cake Recipe

 

Summer Festivals:

June - Summer Solstice (Flowers, Fairies, Fruits & Fire)
     Wilton SummerFest
     Wilton Old Home Days (275 years in 2014)

Fall Festivals:

September - Michaelmas
October - Milford Great Pumpkin Festival
     Halloween
November - Martinmas Lantern Walk

Winter Festivals:

December -  A Visit from Saint Nicholas
     Pine Hill Holiday Fair  
     Advent and Winter Solstice Spiral Festival
February - Valentine's Day

SPRING FESTIVALS:

March - Spring Equinox Play (King Winter & Lady Spring)
April - Easter and Springtime
May -  Maypole Dancing
     Community May Day Celebration