Saltwater’s Annual Children’s Christmas Fair is less than a week away. Preparations are happening in a plethora of ways - creating for our marketplace, volunteering before, during and after the fair, creating yummy food items for our café and preparing for various activities. If you have yet to be in contact with Marcie, our event coordinator, and would like to be involved please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling,
My light shines bright in darkest night,
Little lantern, guide me with your light.
Recently, we gathered for our yearly lantern festival. As the evening darkened we lit our lanterns and walked together singing songs of light like the one shared above. There were many children, parents, grandparents and friends and the light of many lanterns shone in our circle. We then enjoyed warm cider and cookies and one another’s company before heading home. May the experience of walking in the darkness with our sparks of light, and singing to the heavens on a cold and drizzly night, fill us up during these darkening days.
Festivals are a part of life at Saltwater School; they come throughout the year as a way of acknowledging the qualities of the changing seasons. The festivals always make me glad to be part of Saltwater School for they give an opportunity to come together with friends and fellow parents to celebrate the seasons, our community and our connections through the passage of time.
Each year we celebrate a festival I have memories of the ones that have gone before and how both my own and others’ children are growing and changing in so many ways. For example this past May at the annual May festival, Luc joined in holding a ribbon and dancing around the Maypole for the first time by himself. Marc who was crawling the previous year got involved this year walking and sharing a ribbon with me.
I find that within the festivals there is familiarity and comfort of a returning ritual that satisfies both me and my children. There is anticipation that builds through the days leading up to the festival as we prepare and create familiar crafts that are both functional and beautiful. The festival songs are practised and return like old friends that I have missed and call forth the magic of the seasons and the tones that they evoke.
We recently had our school lantern festival. The experience of the festival extended both before and after the actual festival. There was anticipation beforehand while making lanterns and singing songs, and afterwards in remembering the light we created that we can carry into the dark days ahead.
Joy for me is found in seeing the children enjoying each other’s company. I am always glad to observe the different personalities and ages of the children blending together harmoniously and the children’s acceptance of the diversity of the whole school group. Often I see older children helping younger ones and acting as guides and patient role models. I have also observed younger children staring in admiration at their older schoolmates who may perform extra songs or have more speaking parts in a dramatic presentation.
The festivals also demonstrate the vitality of our school community. This past lantern festival the circle was bigger than I have recalled before. It is encouraging to see more and more people choosing to enroll their children at Saltwater School.
In closing, the festivals showcase for me the collective power of a small and dedicated group of individuals who work together to create a school that models a sense of community and caring for our children.
By Julie Samson (parent of Luc in Kindergarten and Marc in Sunflower Parent and Child group)
Fall at Saltwater School: Grade 1 - 2 play for the Michaelmas celebration 2012.
Festivals at Saltwater School
Parents new to Waldorf inspired education often wonder about the role, reason and importance of festivals. The following interview with Kendra Quince, lead Kindergarten teacher at Saltwater School, helps answer these questions.
1. How do you decide which festivals to celebrate at Saltwater School?
Festivals in a Waldorf School generally align with traditional Christian Festivals and calendar holidays. As a school we celebrate festivals that mark the passage of the seasons, including things like Thanksgiving and the Maypole. We also include celebrations that have personal meaning to class members from various traditions, for example Hanukkah, which is of course from the Jewish tradition. A variety of festivals are celebrated within Saltwater School to honor the deeper spirituality that is presented in the Waldorf curriculum, and the different beliefs that the families at the school may have. In this way festivals at Saltwater become non-denominational and can be enjoyed and experienced by the whole community.
2. Why does the Saltwater school celebrate these festivals?
Saltwater School celebrates these festivals as a way of honoring and acknowledging the seasons because our inner experience of the year's rhythm is reflected in our outer surroundings. Festivals help us to remember where we are in the natural rhythm of this cycle.
3. How do you think these celebrations enrich the lives of the children who attend them?
I think the children gain a sense of confidence in the world as they come to know the festivals. Year by year they build upon their experience of each festival, which creates a sense of knowledge and security in the child, and also enables them to connect to the rhythms of the year in a deeper and more meaningful way.
4. How do you think these celebrations enrich the lives of the families who attend them?
For families it is so wonderful to receive the children's work as a gift. The crafts, songs, and plays that the children prepare for festivals are important to them, and as a community we create a reflection for the beauty the children have created. I think this sense of community is also so essential for parents. So the festivals enable us to connect with our children, and with each other.
5. What is the next festival Saltwater School celebrates? What is it about?
The next festival is Advent, which is a time of preparation. At this time of year we reflect on what has past, look forward to the future, and take the time to prepare for what we can become. It ends in the fulfillment of Christmas or other holidays observed by Saltwater families. During this time of year Advent reminds us to slow down, to connect to our inner stillness, and to those we love. This season is held, not in a material way, but in an inner gesture of giving with love. The Advent Spiral marks the shift from going internally, to the darkest and quietest place of ourselves, to that stillness, and then moving out into the world as the light returns and grows brighter.
Parent and Child Classes (Winter Term)
Lost and Found
The Winter Term of Parent and Child Classes begin on Friday January 11th
and Monday January 14th. Each class meets once weekly to share playtime, baking, natural crafts, songs and stories. For more information or to download a registration form visit our website www.saltwaterschool.com/programs/parent-child
or contact Quinn at email@example.com
. Further questions can be directed to Michelle the class facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Class 3-4 Bake Sale December 17 (8:15am to 10:15am)
Parents...come in and get your morning coffee and a morning treat! Students... come in and buy a treat at snack time! The class will have just finished a math unit on money. With all their knowledge they will hold a bake sale and raise funds for their farm trip in the spring. We look forward to serving you!
There is an ever-building lost and found basket in the front entranceway of the school to the left of the tall bookshelf. Parents, when you have a chance, please look through this basket to see if any items belong to your family. Two umbrellas were left at Hallowe’en at Creekside and these have been brought to the lost and found as well.
Photos to Share?
Did you take photos at a recent event that you are willing to share with the school community? We have a Picasa photo site where you can upload your photos. Please contact Quinn at Quinn.email@example.com
for the username and password. Please note only photos where permission has been given will be used in marketing beyond our Picasa site.
Support Saltwater School When You Buy Groceries
We are involved with programs at both Thrifty Foods and Quality Foods. For more info visit this link on our website:
Volunteering at Saltwater
Volunteering at Saltwater has become easier as we streamline our systems.
There are two ways you can come forward to volunteer:
Contact the coordinator of an event who is listed in the newsletter (for example Marcie for our upcoming Christmas Fair)
Contact our office manager Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your area of interest and have your name added to our volunteer’s list.
Areas of need currently include:
An additional board member with an interest in marketing
Help on the Facilities, Fundraising and Marketing Committees
Purchaser (for cleaning supplies)
Helping with events (creating craft/ food items, helping set-up, run activities and clean-up)
Playing music for events (currently looking for a harpist or mellow guitarist for our advent spiral on the morning of December 19th)
Supprting the work with the students (through recess duty, plays and festival support- sewing/ creating or finding items, sharing harp music, weaving, and other creative endeavours with the students)
Saltwater Roses are a way to recognize the tremendous gifts community members share with our community. As this is our inaugural practice of this form of recognition, bunches and bunches of roses go to all those who have shared so much in making Saltwater thrive during its inception and initial year! In each newsletter we will be showcasing some of the talent, dedication and creativity that our community offers.
Countless roses to all those who prepared our building for this second year of schooling!
An abundant bouquet of roses to our teachers who inspire our children every day, carry them lovingly and bring countless small touches to their classrooms.
A well arranged bouquet of roses to our office manager Quinn who in a few short months has organized and gathered in so many loose ends.
A broadly arranged bouquet of roses to our board members who carry such a variety of pieces to keep the school moving.
A bright bouquet of roses to all our families who help keep our school clean - it shows!
A never-ending rose to all who continually help maintain, sustain and nourish our school community in so many ways.
Has someone you know done something you would like to recognize? Send your roses to Michelle for inclusion in next month’s newsletter. Email email@example.com.