With much anticipation, we began autumn kindergarten 1 in September 2017. The first day of school finally came!
It's on my to do list to make a section about homeschool schedules. For K1, we're trying breakfast and dress, a walk outside, circle time, the main lesson K1 story, snack, play with story props on own until lunch, lunch, special time (an idea from the book Listen), afternoon activity, snack, then quiet time.
We're flexible for days when we have classes in the community such as swimming and dance, to spend more time playing outside when it's nice, or when we can have playdates with friends
To celebrate our first day of school for autumn kindergarten 1, we took special pictures, made handprints to save, and I revealed the story props in a special box, now known as the school box.
It's really just a cardboard box I decorated with some construction paper and washi tape at the last minute.
Holidays are an important way to mark the yearly rhythm in Waldorf education, and they lay the groundwork for archetypal images that will be understood and appreciated on a deeper level later. They grow within the child over the years.
The Waldorf holiday in September is Michaelmas, which is about fighting the dragon. It is celebrated on September 29th every year.
So Michaelmas right now is simply about dragons and knights, very playful. We sing songs about being brave and true. With age comes the deeper understanding about fighting the dragon within and doing what's right to be a good person.
We have a small fire in the fire pit in our yard. Later, fire is carried in our lanterns for Martinmas (actually LED candles to be safe, but the same fire idea), carried around the neighborhood, then appears in our Advent candles, warmth and light within our home. But we start our holiday season with a more wild type of fire outside that must be tamed. This is the essence of Michaelmas.
Personally, I like Dia de los Muertos better than Halloween. I celebrate it reluctantly because it's the best way to go around our neighborhood and meet neighbors. We save a little candy for experiments, and we feed the rest to our Sugar Sprites.
I know some people have the Switch Witch who comes on Halloween, but we like our Sugar Sprites because we can feed them anytime we have extra candy from a pinata or parade.
We've even used the candy to build little houses and creations for them. (Did you know Laffy Taffy and Tootsie Rolls make great glue?) But most of the time, the candy is just unwrapped and placed in a big bowl. We then take it outside to the firepit and make a game of tossing it in.
Sometimes there's a fire to cook the food for the Sugar Sprites, usually a nice one after Halloween when we also burn the asparagus stalks, but sometimes there is no fire. If we build houses or something, they sit in the empty pit with no fire. The Sugar Sprites still come to eat it and we find things gone or nibbled on by the next day.
On November 11th, we remember the story of how St. Martin gave his cloak to a beggar. We make lanterns and walk around the neighborhood singing "This Little Light of Mine" and similar songs about keeping up your will to be a blessing to the world.
Where there are large Waldorf education communities, they have some really neat group activities. I saw a YouTube video of a lantern walk in California where they shared a meal with bonfires on the beach then walked up the cliffs singing with their lanterns. Anyone around here (south of Baltimore) want to join me and start something as a group?
In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. I grew up watching the Macy's parade and football, but we focus on family time now. We share a meal with extended family and play games together. We think about the many blessings we have to be thankful for and ways we can bless others, such as donating food and clothing to the needy. It feels like a natural extension of the sentiments from Martinmas.