The Pre-School child lives in a state of wonder and imitation and this is how they discover and experience their world each day. They rekindle our sense of wonder and connection as well. In a Waldorf Pre-School meaningful festivals form the core curriculum. Celebrating these festivals create a wonderful way of honouring each season and allowing the children to feel a deep sense of connection to nature, themselves and their place in the wider community.
Children are nourished by festivals, and the activities that lead up to a festival – the preparation, the craft, the songs and the stories – all enrich their experience.
At the end of Term 2, in mid-winter, we celebrate the St. John’s Festival. The most significant image we hold is that of light within the dark. The lanterns we create will carry a flame within and are a symbol of the body which houses the soul, which refers to the divinity within each child. Each child makes a lantern and goes on a journey with their lantern. In our Playgroup we had a winter ring, which gave children and parents an opportunity to enter into a winter mood and experience the warmth of each other. We sang all of our songs and it was heart-warming to see the engagement of each child and their faces light up when they saw their lanterns being lit. For some, it was the first time. This was a big moment for them and well worth waiting for.
In the Kindergarten the children went on a bigger adventure, carrying their lanterns to a wonderful fire, a symbol of the larger light of the whole community.
Whatever the deed we bring to the children as teachers, it needs to be age-appropriate, to be worthy of imitation and to allow them to experience an inner quality of the soul with the outer quality of the season. Festivals are not only about getting something physical. They are about touching something reverent within us, and feeling the warmth of community. This nourishes the inner life of the young child. Each one of us carries the light. Each and every little light makes a difference.
St. John’s message is to turn within and be inspired to bring balance into our lives. It is about going beyond the material and bringing courage into our hearts. We wish you warmth and connection this winter with your families.
Thank you for shining your lights!
Playgroup Teacher Nan