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Head, Heart & Hands-On
"And the colors that come are good!" Navajo plant dyeing poem. We had a fabulous time using plants to color wool yarn! Join us in November for Head, Heart and Hands-On, as we work with knitting for beginners (ever made your own knitting needles?) and again in December as we explore candle making. The parent handwork class is held in the nursery/Little Seedlings classroom on the 3rd and 4th Fridays every month, from 8:30-9:15 am. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Autumn Festival of Michaelmas celebrates our ability to conquer the powers of darkness by overcoming our fears and developing a strong and brave free will. Through great symbolism, Waldorf children are taught to stand for what is good and true, overcome obstacles and have courage for their tasks. Our students celebrated on campus Monday, September 30th with a play, games, and other festivities.
Following are some of the personal memories and thoughts our faculty shared about Michaelmas:
As we enter the time of year where the light changes into a golden glow, and the promise of less humidity nears, we celebrate the season of Michaelmas. And the celebration takes place in different forms for different ages.
In Little Seedlings, the children are content with a basket of apples and nuts. A standing puppet dressed in red and golden yellow, wearing a crown of Autumn leaves gently hands out an apple slice to each child. Prince Autumn is his name! A brown sewn felt animal sitting in my apron pocket peeks out--Squirrel Nutkin comes to life! He hands out almonds and almond slices and the children munch contentedly.
During our Head, Heart and Hands-On Handwork class we created shooting stars for the kindergarten children to toss in the Michaelmas play. We wrapped and wet felted wool in colors of golden yellow, blue and red. We looked at a children's story about the shooting stars selflessly tumbling to the earth and giving their gifts of strength, courage, love and beauty to the people.
The grades children worked together on a play which included traditional and original folk dances and seasonal songs. We explored the qualities of courage, kindness and strength expressed by the characters in our Michaelmas play. The children shared their parts enthusiastically. The experience was made complete by the appearance of a large and mighty dragon. Several fathers in the school community went missing about that time . . . it must have been a coincidence! Many thanks to all who contributed and attended.
Connie Manson, Little Seedlings, Sunflower Nursery, & Music
Michaelmas in the Marigold kindergarten has been an exciting time. We started out by dying golden capes of courage. Our story at school tells of eight beautiful star children who are given golden capes of courage from Saint Michael to keep them safe as they go about their good works on the earth. These capes were dyed using turmeric and each child got to put their white silk capes in the pot of dye and see it turn bright yellow!
In the circle, we "slinked along on belly low" just like a dragon "searching for the village glow" and got to be a townsperson "with a upright stance".
Next, Mr. Jack came in and made drums with the Kindergartener's. It was great fun and we enjoyed it immensely. The children will play the drums during the Michaelmas Festival when the dragon comes out.
All these beautiful images are at the heart of Michaelmas and having the courage to shine a golden light onto and into the dark dragons that we all have within ourselves.
Laura Barrett, Marigold Kindergarten
Michaelmas is a very special time of year. Right after the autumnal equinox when day and night are in perfect balance, the harvest is safely stored and the starlight is crisp and clear we are freed to embark on an inward journey to seek and speak our truth and to follow the light of the cosmos to our destiny beyond the turbulent darkness of the world. Earth has brought her harvest home to rest until spring. Rents were paid, workers paid and hired and bonfires celebrating the victory over hunger and want lit the hills and valleys of our ancestors lands.
St. Michael the archangel is charged with defending those searching for the light by battling mightily against the forces of darkness of the dragon whom he cast out of heaven long before men came on earth to dwell. Our task is to continue the pursuit of freedom and light in the midst of fear and doubt. The Earth abides by its own rhythms and ours is the task to join in those rhythms with harmony and gratitude balancing our actions and desires with the greater good.
The children sang so beautifully this morning... When I conquer within me fear and wrath, Michael in heaven casts the dragon forth... Let the sun shine one more day as we bend our backs and bind the hay, gather in the full leafed corn as the day grows warm from a frosty morn.
We have seen the large number of dragonflies winging in to attend the play. We have sung and danced the harvest home. May the memory of this resplendent autumn day fill our hearts, enlighten our minds and warm our hands through the fall and winter months ahead.
Cheri Jex - Elementary Grades Teacher, Spanish, Faculty Chair
Thoughts on Michaelmas 2013
This Monday, September 30th we honor the feast day of the archangel Saint Michael with a play about Saint George and the Dragon. We also provide challenging and fun games for all the children. The taming of the dragon by Saint George is a profound picture that hopefully inspires young minds and hearts to awaken inner courage when meeting life's challenges.
Michaelmas, is usually celebrated on September 29th and, "was a very important day in times past, falling near the equinox and so marking the fast darkening of the days in the northern world, the boundary of what was and what is to be. This seasonal event was the end of the harvest and the time for farm folk to calculate how many animals they could afford to feed through the winter and which would be sold or slaughtered. It was the end of the fishing season, the beginning of hunting, the time to pick apples and make cider."
Adapted from the Farmers Almanac
Peter Chin - Elementary Grades, Educational Support