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 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.

A Gift from Saint Nicholas

A Gift from Saint Nicholas

Maypole Dancing

Maypole Dancing

Waldorf Festivals - Cycle of the Year

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    WINTER FESTIVALS

A Visit from Saint Nicholas

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The traditional Saint Nicholas, dressed in his red cape and tall Bishop's miter, visits the children at A Child's Nature in person on his feast day, December 6th. He reads about each child's good deeds in his big golden book, with a gentle suggestion of something the child could do better. He then gives the child a little gift, consisting of an orange, a walnut, and a chocolate gold coin.
The original Saint Nicholas was a 4th century Greek bishop in Myra, now Turkey. Legend has it that the boy Nicholas shared the exotic treats, like oranges. which his ship captain father brought him. In addition to many miracles, Bishop Nicholas secretly tossed gold into the home of three poor girls who had no dowry. He is the patron saint of sailors, thieves and children, and became the model for Santa Claus.

“Let us glad and joyful be,  Right of heart and happily, 
Joyful, joyful, tralalalee. 
Nicholas soon here will be.  Nicholas soon here will be! ” 

First set out your plate or shoe, He'll put something there for you.
Joyful, joyful, tralalalee.  
Nicholas soon here will be.  Nicholas soon here will be! 
” 

When I sleep I'll surely dream, of the gifts and how they'll gleem.
Joyful, joyful,. . . Nicholas soon here will be! ” 

in the morning when I wake, off I'll run to shoe or plate.
Joyful, joyful,. . . Nicholas soon here will be! ” 

Nicholas so good and true, Thank you Nicholas, we thank you.
Joyful, joyful,. . . 
Nicholas soon here will be! ” 

This song is sung by our children in December waiting for St. Nicholas. On the day he arrives, they sing to him, “Nicholas, here is he,” and later sing “Nicholas, here was he.”

Read what Saint Nicholas had to say about our children in his Book of Good Deeds, 2013.

Advent and the Winter Solstice Spiral Festival

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ADVENT– Advent is the four weeks before Christmas, a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child.  Some families have an advent calendar with a seasonal picture and enjoy opening a new door each day in December until Christmas.  Some have an advent wreath with four candles and light a new one each Sunday.  The four weeks can be thought of as celebrating the four parts of the world: first the mineral kingdom, then plants, then animals, and finally human beings.  Advent Garden is a traditional name for the Winter Solstice Spiral.

     Quiet, Quiet  
“Quiet, quiet, make not any noise.
Listen, listen to the Holy voice.
Wonder is now coming near,
Child of Light is coming here.
Quiet, quiet, make not any noise.”
      We like to sing this German folksong when leading the children to our Solstice Spiral.

WINTER SOLSTICE SPIRAL– A spiral is the simplest form of a labyrinth, a path leading inward and then outward again. The spiral itself is usually built up of evergreens,  which remind us of life and hope continuing.  Among the greens, are placed pretty rocks, crystals, and shells to represent the mineral world, maybe pine cones or dry flowers, and little wooden or stuffed toy animals for the animal kingdom.  In the center, is a single, large candle with maybe a beautiful big crystal or a nativity scene. The room is dim with quiet music (a harp or carol singing) to set a meditative mood. 

The winter Solstice Spiral can represent a spiritual journey. First the angel, a teacher or older girl dressed in white with a star crown, walks the spiral and lights the central candle. Then each child walks around the spiral individually, carrying a little candle in a holder and guided by the angel .  The children each place  their candle in a spot they choose along the path, gradually creating a Spiral of Light.   It is wonderful how the dim room gradually becomes brighter as more children go through the spiral, each adding their own light.

Advent Candles Poem

Some Reflections on the Solstice Spiral

Valentine's Day

The children celebrate Valentine's Day at A Child's Nature by making valentines for their friends and epecially grandparents. Instead of exchanging little commercial valentines, they create one valentine for a friend. As a party, they play circle games such as "A-tiskit, a-taskit" and enjoy a special snack that they helped bake.

“Love is something, if you give it away, give it away, give it away--
“Love is something, if you give it away-- you wind up having more.”

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”

More discussion about our Birthday Celebrations, from the Parent Handbook

Wholesome Birthday Cake Recipe

Spring Festivals:

March - Spring Equinox Play (King Winter & Lady Spring)

April - Springtime and Easter
May - Peterborough Children & the Arts Parade
     Maypole Dancing
     Community May Day Celebration

Summer Festivals:

June - Mid-Summer Solstice (Flowers, Fairies, Fruits & Fire)

Fall Festivals:

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

Winter Festivals:

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