Festivals throughout the Year
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 Hanukah games with Jewish friends and teachers, tasting Orthodox Easter food with a Russian child, or welcoming in the the new Year of the Dragon led by 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.
Waldorf Festivals - Cycle of the Year
Michaelmas (Fall Equinox)
Michaelmas is the festival of Saint Michael, the Archangel who cast Lucifer out of Heaven. The legend of Saint George and the Dragon is often told at this time. Michaelmas comes at the fall equinox and so is a time of change. After a more relaxed summer, the brisk weather calls out a renewed energy. It can be a time of gathering harvests and gathering inner strength to overcome challenges, conquering the dragons in life.
A Child's Nature families and teachers join Pine Hill for their Michaelmas celebration. Our children dress up in golden capes of courage, watch Pine Hill's all-school pageant about conquering a Dragon, and enjoy a snack at the big school. Then we return to our play yard for some outdoor work, such as planting bulbs, and play.
“A knight and a lady went riding one day, Far into the forest, away, away.
Fair knight said the lady, 'I pray have a care, This forest is evil beware,beware.'
A firery red dragon they sped on the grass. The lady wept sorely, alias , alas.
The knight slew the dragon, the lady was gay. They rode on together, away, away.”
The Story of Saint Martin and Our Lantern Walk
Saint Martin’s story is one of transformation. The festival honoring Martin is traditionally on November 11th, and it is fitting that this is also the day Americans celebrate their Veterans, for Martin was also a soldier. He was a Roman guard who saw the light of Christianity, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” which in turn changed his perspectives and actions. When he found a beggar by the roadside chilled with cold, Martin tore his own wool cape in two to give half to warm the beggar.
With our lanterns, we celebrate by walking through the darkness singing. Our lanterns represent the divine spark in every human being; we must protect this “spark” form being extinguished. We are protecting our own little flame from winter darkness. This beacon of light is symbolic for many cultures and a caring gesture toward our Earth, as we approach the darkness of winter and have but a small light to guide us. When kept aglow, warmth, hope and love will prevail.
In the spirit of caring for our neighbors, we also like to collect food for those in need at this time of year.
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna to let it shine.
Let it shine let it shine, let it shine. . .”
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.
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”
June - Summer Solstice (Flowers, Fairies, Fruits & Fire)
Wilton Old Home Days (275 years in 2014)