Festivals and seasonal events are an important aspect of Waldorf education. They are celebrations that bring rhythm and order to the year and meaning to our lives. Over the years they have been a source of joy and strength to our community of students, families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.
The Rose Ceremony: Students in Grades 1-12 are welcomed back to school at the Rose Ceremony on the first day of school. One by one the first graders are guided across the stage by a member of the senior class who then presents the child with a rose. This is a rite of passage for students going from Kindergarten to Grade 1. Parents of Grade 1 and Grade 12 students are welcome.
Michaelmas: This autumn festival of courage takes place as leaves are turning and days are growing shorter. The annual first-through-fourth grade play tells the story of the dragon tamed with Michael’s aid. The play is followed by a community picnic and kite-flying. All families are welcome.
Early Childhood Harvest Festival: On the Saturday following Michaelmas, the EC Families gather for a Harvest Celebration in the morning where the families and EC teachers enjoy festive games and food.
Halloween: Children in Grades 1-8 arrive at school in costume and participate in a parade for families and staff. Grade 4 hosts a special party for Grades 1-3. Early Childhood children have a separate parade and celebrate with a special craft, snack and story.
Lantern Walk: As the days grow ever shorter as winter approaches, families gather in the evening darkness. After singing around a campfire, students in Grades 1-3 and their families walk with lighted lanterns, singing, across the back field and into the woods where they encounter magical places that are gently lit to reveal sparkling crystals and quiet fairies.
Early Childhood Festival of Light: EC “celebrate the light within” in early November during a meaningful evening event with families.
Thanksgiving Celebration: Grade 3 students and their families prepare a special feast for Grades 1-8 students. Some of the food served will be planted and harvested by the students in the Lower School garden. Harvest songs, poems and skits are performed by Grade 3 before they serve the guests. Early Childhood classes will have a separate feast-day celebration.
St. Nicholas Day: St. Nicholas makes a quiet visit to Grades 1-12 classrooms, bringing each student a simple treat. A special basket is delivered to the Early Childhood classes.
Santa Lucia Day: This festival celebrates light in winter’s darkness. Dressed in white and wearing a crown of candles, a Grade 8 student Santa Lucia leads Grade 2 through the school, walking in procession. Each student is dressed in white and carries a glowing light as s/he softly sings. As the procession enters each classroom, all activity ceases momentarily in quiet welcoming. A tray of cookies is left behind for each class and the office staff.
Spiral of Light: Students in Grades 1-12, faculty and staff participate in this peaceful celebration of bringing light into darkness on (or near) the shortest day of the year. Evergreen boughs lay in a large spiral and candles (LED) are nestled in the spiral’s center. The room is darkened and music is played in a far corner. A students, one at a time, walk into the center of the spiral, select a candle and, as they walk back out, select a spot to place the light. In this way the room slowly fills with light until the entire spiral is aglow.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: Students in Grades 1–8 gather for an assembly to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Grade 8 performs a play for the students, faculty, staff and families based on people and events of the Civil Rights Movement. In the various classes, appropriate to age, there are stories and discussion of Dr. King’s dream for equality, justice and basic human rights for all. The High School holds an observance of this day at Assembly that week.
Lunar New Year: Students participate in this festival, which marks the beginning of the lunar calendar, with craft, food, story, and song. Traditionally, it is a time spent welcoming the health and prosperity of the coming year, bringing about reconciliation, and ushering in harmony and good fortune. In the Early Childhood the children enjoy a special puppet play.
Grandparents Day: The Lower School faculty and staff invite our students’ grandparents and other special friends or family members to experience class performances and welcome them with a reception of treats and beverages. Visits to their students’ classrooms follow, then lunch. In the Early Childhood, Grandparents are invited on specific days throughout the year to visit the children’s classes and enjoy special activities.
May Day: The Lower School community gathers together to celebrate the coming of spring. Festivities include a medieval-theme May Fair hosted by Grade 6, traditional May Pole dances, singing and games. Early Childhood families gather for a separate celebration of dancing around the May Pole, flower crown making and a picnic.
Pentathlon: Grade 5 students spend the school year studying ancient Greek history and mythology. This study culminates in a Pentathlon where our students are joined by fifth graders from other Waldorf schools to participate in five Olympic events. The Lower School community cheers the athletes on as judges evaluate them not only on speed, skill, and strength, but on grace and sportsmanship as well. Grade 10 students from the High School act as assistants and judges.
Rose Ceremony: Students in Grades 1-12 gather on the last day of school for a closing Rose Ceremony. Reversing the roles of the first day Rose Ceremony, Grade 1 students now come forward to present graduating seniors with roses. The senior class is then honored with applause and good wishes as they embark on new journeys.
Early Childhood Picnic: The Early Childhood families gather to celebrate the year together.
All celebrations and assemblies make their special contribution to the year as a whole. Such values are common to all religions and great philosophies and are independent of any particular creed. The school is nonsectarian, and we encourage families to share with their Class Teacher or High School teachers aspects of their cultural traditions, which can add to the richness of our experience of the seasons.
Lower School Assembly
One Lower School Assembly is held during the school year at which families can see and appreciate the work of their students as the students present some of what they have been working on. Typically, the classes give glimpses of math, language arts, Eurythmy, music or foreign language. Each class participates and families have an opportunity to see the natural progression of the curriculum as it is developed through the grades. Please feel free to invite grandparents and friends to this assembly. Although Kindergarten and Grade 1 students do not present anything on the stage, they and their families are encouraged to attend in order to become familiar with the work of the grade school.