A recognition of the wholeness and connection of human beings with all life is foundational to SLCS. One way in which this connection manifests is through the observance of the changes in the seasons.
Our festivals connect us with traditional cultures who have for centuries marked the turning points of the year - the equinoxes, solstices, and the beginning of spring - with ritual and celebration. These festivals, inspired by a Waldorf educational approach, offer opportunities for children to come together and bring into focus the natural change of the seasons. When the deeper inner meaning of festivals is contemplated, a nourishing and sustaining quality enables us to participate and to enrich our own lives and the lives of our families and our community. These are widely considered times of reunion, celebration, appreciation and reflection.
We open our doors to the larger community of family and friends for:
Michaelmas is a festive occasion to mark the last of summer’s warmth and to celebrate new beginnings. The meaning of the festival year can be understood on a deeper and more significant level if we are able to view the whole of the earth as a living organism, a concept which was much more alive for humanity in ages past.
The image of St. Michael with his golden sword piercing the darkness wells up in us, giving us the courage to face the darkening earth. With autumn, the earth draws into herself, and we also begin to draw into ourselves. Winter is the season of inner contemplation. When we look within ourselves, who knows what dragons we will find? The struggle of St. George and the dragon is also a powerful image at Michaelmas. There is not only courage needed to deal with the outer cold and darkness, but also within ourselves courage is called upon to shine light on those personal challenges we face as socially and morally-maturing human beings. To honor this time of year, the grade school children perform a Michaelmas play and family and friends gather afterwards for a picnic lunch.
Every year, each grade school class memorizes, rehearses, and performs a play which reflects a theme central to the year’s curriculum. Performances in grades 4 through 8 play are often open to the larger community. Grades 1 through 3 hold smaller performances for their school community and families.
May Faire is based on an ancient Northern Hemisphere tradition that celebrates the arrival of Spring and Summer. We join together as a full community to make garlands and simple crafts, sing, dance, play games and dance around the May Pole. Symbolizing the tree of life and new growth, the May Pole dance is a joyful weaving together of colorful ribbons by young and old. May Faire is held on a Saturday in May.
An opportunity for the community to observe a sampling of the children’s classroom experiences, assemblies are held a few times throughout the school year. Grade school students perform a selection of songs, poetry, and movement central to their main lesson blocks, illustrating how they take in the curriculum through movement and imagination.
We hold these events and ceremonies for school families only:
On the first day of school, students from the oldest grade welcome the incoming First Grade by reverently presenting each of them with a rose. This simple ceremony marks an important transition for the young children. In turn, the First Grade students give roses to the Eighth Grade students upon their graduation as they move to another school community. This is a beautiful start and finish to the school experience.
Dia de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos is a celebration that comes from the blend of the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures and the Spanish Catholics. The indigenous cultures of Mexico believed that the souls of the departed returned to visit during this time of year. To this day, families gather to remember those who have gone, with stories, singing, dancing, and sharing a feast composed of their remembered loved ones’ favorite foods. The customs for Día de los Muertos are as diverse as a simple offering of flowers at the tombs of the loved ones to creating beautiful and artistic altars to honor family members who have crossed over. Each year, SLCS grades students create an altar in a common gathering space. Everyone is invited to bring photographs of loved ones and pets who have passed on, as well as flowers, candles, and any special mementos that hold their memory. Students are then given opportunities to share stories with their classmates.
The Lantern Walk provides a twinkling reminder of our own inner light as the days grow shorter. All school children along with their families and teachers gather at dusk at a nearby park to form a glowing procession with handmade lanterns and song. Following the reverent walk, we gather for a warm drink before parting ways.
Winter Spiral Walk
In early December, this festival of light celebrates a kindling of the inner light as winter draws close and days grow shorter. It represents the shining inner glow that each of us carries, showing that when each individual light shines, a great collective light is also lit. The beautiful spiral of evergreen boughs is created at the grade school, and all children are invited to participate in this school-day activity.
Typically celebrated in Scandinavian countries on December 13th, Santa Lucia’s story is told through many legends, including how she brought food and hope to starving people during a hard winter. A part of the Grade Two study of those who have strived mightily to do good for others, Santa Lucia is remembered by the whole class as they go from room to room singing and bringing nourishing bread. The oldest girl -- dressed in white and sporting a crown of candles – carries the specially-made bread.
Children in the lower grades make Valentine’s cards for one another and also treat their parents to a sweet tea as a way of expressing their gratitude and love.
Each class partakes in a special project or activity to help Mother Earth.
May Day is celebrated by the early childhood and lower grades’ children. They mark the promise of spring by making and delivering May baskets to friends and neighbors. Classes prepare hand-made baskets that are hung on door handles or placed on front steps of friends, neighbors and loved ones to wish them a happy spring.
Classes may initiate other celebrations as part of studying the history of human cultures throughout the grade school years.