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The Importance of Festivals for Waldorf Education

Festivals are a vital piece of Waldorf Education.

They provide nourishment to the individual and bring the community together in meaningful ways. Festivals bring the richness of story and song, light, and food to our community, and celebrates our shared humanity. Expressing our ageless struggle from darkness toward light, each festival is a social expression that reflects and celebrates an entire season.

Many festivals are celebrated community wide. Some festivals are celebrated with the children in the grades classes. The kindergartens observe most festivals independently, often with their class parents invited to participate.

Festivals may also be celebrated within the curriculum presented in the grades. These festivals are brought with the help of parents or teachers who have a strong connection with the culture being studied. A meal may be served, songs sung, or dances learned. The festivals may also have a community service focus, collecting donations of food or clothes.

Additional assemblies and community gatherings add to the richness of the year. The grades students meet on most Fridays (Friday Gathering) to share songs, verses and plays. All community members are welcome! The community also gathers together to celebrate the first and last days of school, and before fall, winter, and spring break.

(* indicates parents welcome)

*First Day Celebration & Rose Ceremony

A welcoming ceremony for the new first grade class and a short introduction to each grade’s upcoming year.

*Michaelmas Festival
A celebration of our ability to overcome the challenges that face us in life. Together, all of the grades work, perform a pageant (St. George and the Dragon), share a community meal, and play games of endurance and cooperation.

Halloween is not a school festival day and is celebrated simply and at the discretion of each class teacher.

*Friends and Family Day
This is a chance to share your children’s school experience with friends or extended family members. During the all-grades assembly, each class makes a presentation, followed by a time for friends and family members to visit the classrooms.

Santa Lucia
This festival of finding light at the darkest time of year is celebrated by the 8th graders singing their way through the school and into each classroom, dressed in traditional costumes.

St. Nicholas Day
This celebration is a fun way for students to have their good deeds and waiting-to-be-improved habits recognized! Students will leave their shoes out the night before and St. Nick will leave them a treat.

*Winter Festival & Shepherd’s Play
This half-day of school includes the faculty production of the Shepherd’s Play, a medieval telling of the Nativity story.

Students hear a final story of the mid-winter festival season.

Students dip candles and hear a story about the inevitable end of winter.

*Circus Performance
Students share their gymnastic accomplishments learned in the previous weeks of Movement Class.

*Spring Festival
A two-part celebration of spring. The first part takes place on the day before spring break begins and the second part the day after it ends.

*Parent Appreciation & May Day Festival
A chance for the students and staff to thank parents for their many contributions to our school, followed by each grade dancing around the Maypole. (Afternoon)

Knighting Ceremony and Medieval Games (teacher will indicate whether parents are invited)
Reflecting their history study, 6th graders experience a coming-of age knighting ceremony, and play a variety of thematically inspired games.

Having honed their pentathlon skills, the 5th grade travels to join other Waldorf schools’ 5th grades to share their accomplishments.

*Camping Week (ask your child’s teacher about chaperoning)
Classes and parent chaperones go on camping trips. Grades 1 and 2 typically do local, day trips.

*Last Day Celebration
This celebration includes performances by each class to honor the graduating 8th graders, followed by thank yous and a BYO picnic on the front lawn (or in the Festival Hall if it rains).

*Friday Gatherings
Every Friday afternoon throughout the year, grades 1 through 8 come together in the Festival Hall to share things they are working on. Gatherings with special themes will be communicated in the Update. 

*Class Plays
Each class performs a play during the year. Performance dates and times are published in the Weekly Update.

All School Picnic (family event) 
An end of summer tradition, a time to reconnect with friends, meet new families, and enjoy a potluck dinner together.

Grades Workshop (parent event) 
All parents are welcome to learn about and experience aspects of adolescence found in the upper grades curriculum.

All School Meeting (parent event) 
All parents are urged to attend this important evening of information and inspiration.

Lantern Walk (1st and 2nd grade family event)
First and second grades walk a wooded path with their handmade lanterns which represents the  carrying of our light and strength into the darkness of winter.

Fall Solo & Ensemble Concert (family event) 
An evening of student-prepared musical offerings.

Holiday Fair – Artisan Marketplace (Friday evening adults only & Saturday family day) 
A holiday tradition filled with good food, good fun,  and good goods! Friday evening is an adult shopping and social event. Saturday is filled with family fun.

Advent Spiral (family event)
The children walk a spiral of evergreen boughs and light a candle—a reminder that in the darkest time of the year we keep a light kindled within.

Experience Waldorf (parent event, childcare provided) 
A curriculum workshop including sample classes and  Q&A with a faculty panel.

Spring Solo & Ensemble Concert (family event) 
An evening of student-prepared musical offerings. (7 p.m.)

Spring Concert (family event) 
Grades 3–8 perform strings, recorder and choir pieces.

Eighth Grade Graduation (family event) 
The school community is invited to celebrate the graduation of the eighth grade class.