Words of Waldorf Wisdom
Festivals: Connecting with Nature and Building Community
In the Waldorf Kindergarten, seasonal festivals are a central focus of the curriculum and are celebrated throughout the school year indoors or outdoors depending on the weather conditions. Seasonal festivals are introduced to the children with soul warmth, spiritual depth (within the teachers consciousness) rich and imaginative nature stories, meaningful activities, joyful songs and sensory experiences (food, scents, textiles, textures).
The Kindergarten Teachers work with the indications from Rudolf Steiner following the festival celebrations of the Waldorf school year (i.e., Winter Light and May fair) while seeking and creating new social forms and gestures that are universal, inclusive and not culturally specific for the children to experience within the social realm. The Waldorf Kindergarten Teachers recognize the importance of celebrating seasonal festivals to cultivate a sense of security and well being in each child and to enrich the social connections and relationships with each other and the natural world.
The Maypole Festival:
The Maypole Festival (May Day) is a Northern Hemisphere festival and is celebrated in many Waldorf schools all over the world. It is an ancient tradition celebrating the Spring season honouring the growth of flowers, plants and new vegetation in the land. In Celtic traditions, the first of May is known as Beltane and in ancient Rome the festival for celebrated to honour the goddess Flora. The Maypole festival (May Day) is a popular tradition in Europe and Great Britain.
The Waldorf Early Childhood May Pole Celebration is a joyful and playful experience for children, parents and teachers in our community. During circle time, each class learns maypole songs and dances and participates in activities to prepare for the festival. Children listen to nature stories, collect flowers, finger knit garlands, sew pouches and draw pictures to honour the season and Maypole festival. The children practice singing and dancing around a small Maypole at Spadina gardens or the local park before the grand celebration with all the early childhood families in our school community. The May Pole is decorated with flower garlands and rainbow ribbons symbolizing the tree of life and the dance celebrates and honours the growth of spring and new life upon Mother Earth.
It is a special and joyful celebration for the whole community and we look forward to celebrating the Early Childhood Maypole Festival with you and your family in a new and meaningful way over the month of May!