In the Waldorf tradition, festivals offer an important connection to the changing seasons of nature and the changing cycles of life. Children are encouraged to connect with the world around them and the rhythms found in nature and humanity. Below are brief descriptions of each festival. For more detailed information about a festival, click the festival name link.
The Rose Ceremony – Our First and Eighth graders are embarking on milestones in their school careers and we mark this important transition with our annual Rose Ceremony. Pairing young incoming students with their responsible eighth grade buddies, is a milestone for both young people in the pairing. The young children are entering a new phase in life — where schooling and community, away from parents, will support their budding sense of self, learning and individuality. The older children are entering into young adulthood and are ready to be leaders and guides in their own life and in their community.
Michaelmas – Our school hosts this celebration around the time of the autumnal equinox. St. Michael conquers the dragon using his star sword and represents external and internal strength. This festival has also been associated with harvest in the Northern Hemisphere.
Martinmas – Another traditional harvest festival, St. Martin, a patron saint of the poor and outcast, is celebrated by lighting and carrying lanterns to represent how St. Martin spent his life bringing light and warmth to those in darkness.
Pumpkin Walk –Spring Garden extends this theme of harvest and light in the darker days of autumn with our annual pumpkin walk. First the children create a hand carved pumpkin in school, then parents arrange and light them for the night-time walk. Our teachers also sit along the trail, dressed up and smiling to pass treats out to the joyful children.
Children’s Festival — Children adore this celebration. Spring Garden welcomes the greater community to experience our creative offerings – crafts, food, magical rooms, and fun activities can be experienced at our day-long celebration of family fun.
St. Nicholas – Still a treasured holiday in many European countries, St. Nicholas Day begins December 6th. At Spring Garden, St. Nicholas brings the children simple gifts that they find in their shoes, left out in the hallway the previous day. Many believe Santa Claus has his origins in this celebration.
St. Lucia– Celebrated primarily in Scandinavia countries,St. Lucia is celebrated by dressing a young woman in white with a crown of candles. Like many celebrations of light this time of year, St. Lucy, as she is nicknamed, brings light to Sweden on it’s darkest day — December 13th .
Advent — Derived from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming,” begins near November 30th and is a period of waiting for the return of light – from Christ or the Winter Solstice. Spring Garden celebrates this holiday with reverence by having children sing as they walk in a spiral with candles.
Valentines Day– Children bring small cards for their friends, often homemade, and exchange them during a classroom celebration, run by their main lesson teacher.
May Day – Near May 1st we welcome spring, even if Northeast Ohio wants to stay chilly. We all hope for a warm sunny day, but go outside regardless and sing and dance around the May pole.
Watch this latest video about our school, as created and published by Akronist.com. The Akronist is the online publication of the Akron Digital Media Center. They offer free citizen-journalism and digital media training, as well as access to digital equipment and an online news platform that gives a voice to the people and organizations in the community. We are very grateful for their feature video about Spring Garden.
At the first Class One meeting, parents were grouped in pairs and given a picture of the other family’s child. On the back of the photo, there were three words the parents used to describe their daughter or son. While in pairs, parents talked, in turn, about why they chose these words. Then the parents took the picture of the other family’s child home and were asked to put the photo in a prominent place and think of that child, hold them in the light, in the coming year.
It is this type of community building, empathy building, and mutual understanding that makes a Waldorf community and classroom like no other in education today. Ideally, the children, teacher and parents will be together through elementary school for eight years. Throughout those years, there will be many celebrations and some challenges, but regular class meetings help parents come together and remember the common cause that brought them into each others’ lives — the education, care and love of the children.
Having class meetings several times per year is also pragmatic. While teacher/parent conferences focus on one child and his/her social and academic progress, class meetings can deal with class learning goals and social dynamics. Understanding what the children are learning when and why, can help parents relate to a child who often reports that a day was, “fine.” And knowing the ins and outs of academics helps parents assist children in their homework tasks or in areas that need attention.
Class meetings also give parents ample opportunities to ask questions of the teacher and also to share their experiences with other families. Often parents find that their peers have the same questions, struggles and successes with their own children. It is so good to know your experiences are not yours alone!
And finally, coming together builds the parent community as families get to know one another over the years, not just through their children, but by relating to one another at these meetings and through volunteer opportunities and social engagements.
Class meetings are an essential part of a Waldorf education and a gift to the Waldorf community.
Spring Garden Waldorf preschool is a nurturing day focused on fostering the small child’s imagination through storytelling, music, outdoor play and artistic activities. It is also an extension of the family experience — full of comfort and routine — a step between home and formal schooling for children age 3-5.
For children 3 years old by June 1, we offer:
Three Half or Full Days ~ Wednesday thru Friday ~ 8:30 am to 12:00 pm or 3:20 pm
For children 4 years and older by June 1, we offer:
Five Half or Full Days ~ Monday thru Friday ~ 8:30 am to 12:00 pm or 3:20 pm.
If you have a child you are considering enrolling in 2013, please call or email our Admissions Director, Amy Hecky, at 330-666-0574 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The day’s activities unfold in an unhurried way with each day following the same rhythm, giving the child a sense of security and consistency.
The program is based on the understanding that young children learn primarily through imitation. The sharing of practical activities such as snack preparation and clean up starts the child on the path toward personal responsibility and respect for others.
Early academic foundations are formed. Work with beeswax modeling cultivates small motor skills, puppetry helps children develop memory and language acuity, and nature walks increase large motor abilities and attention span.
Call and email to learn more: 330-666-0574 and email@example.com.
Each grade at Spring Garden Waldorf School does something unique, special only to their individual grade, and sometimes the kids know what special event awaits them the next year and the parents do not! So we wanted to post a guide to some of the events associated with each class year.
Class 1 – Working with their 8th grade buddies. It starts with the Rose Ceremony and continues with help getting chairs for assembly, to ice skating, to walking together for ice cream at the end of the year. First graders form a special bond with their buddies, who guide them through the rhythm of life at Spring Garden.
Class 2 – Our saintly Santa Lucia sweeties, dressed in white, bake and deliver bread to the entire school for our Santa Lucia celebration in mid December.
Class 3 – Let’s garden! Let’s build! Third graders are ready to create something out of “nothing.” They start the year with a building project and create something valuable to the school community such as benches, a shed, a storage cabinet, etc. When spring comes, they receive seeds for their garden from last year’s Fourth Grade harvest. They plant the vegetables and fruits that they will then harvest as Class 4 in the fall.
Class 4 – Time to reap what they sowed as Class 3. They collect their bounty, make a community meal for the school, and then gift the seeds to Class 3, so the cycle can continue. This is also the first year the children go to overnight camp in September at Y-Noah. For some, this will be there first time away from home.
Class 5 – This year it’s all about the Pentathlon. The students learn about the Greeks in main lesson and train to compete in a multi-school competition. The competition is in the spring, and students will travel with their families to Ann Arbor, Michigan to compete against other 5th graders from six area Waldorf schools.
Class 6 – Students begin a service project for the school and the community at large this year, in preparation for their Knighthood in the spring – a rite of passage marking their readiness to focus beyond themselves and give back to the world. This coincides nicely with Medieval studies and Medieval games, which take place every spring at the Cincinnati Waldorf school, where they will see the same children again, which they competed against in last year’s Pentathlon.
Class 7 – It’s all about the Renaissance in grade 7. Students prepare to be hosts for the Renaissance fair, hosted every year in spring at Spring Garden Waldorf School. They travel with Class 8 to Cleveland to see a Shakespeare production from the Great Lakes Theater company and also to visit and study relevant art from their time period of study at the Cleveland Art Museum. Students this year also build their own kilns and make and bake their own sculptures.
Class 8 – Two major projects occupy the head, heart and hands of eighth graders – The Shakespeare class play and the transformation of a log into a chair, crafted by each student, that they will sit on at graduation.
Moving on in our series of class by class curriculum, we review the Fourth Grade curriculum section from the Moving through the Grades chapter in the book Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Fenner and Rivers, © Michaelmas Press.
This chapter was written by Karen Rivers, editor and author of Chanticleer, a former quarterly publication for Waldorf Schools.
She says, “The fourth grader is at odds with the world. … There is an earnestness stemming from a new awareness of just what they are up against in the world. Therefore every possible opportunity is given to meet these oppositions … in ways in which the child can have the experience of crossing and at the same time be led towards a wholesome resolution.”
Here is a summary of curriculum highlights for each subject:
Language Arts: Norse Mythology, grammar composition, comparative studies, stories of heroes, vocabulary and spelling. As Eugene Swartz at Millennial Child says, “The Norse myths that we will study in fourth grade are filled with laughter — raucous laughter, hilarious laughter, and sometimes derisive laughter. With their powerful wills, their contentious natures and their love of adventure, the Norse gods serve as a remarkably accurate reflection of the fourth graders who study them.”
History: Geography and local history — taking time to learn about Native Americans indigenous to Ohio.
Math: Word Problems, fractions, long division, averages and factoring.
Science: Zoology and comparison of man to animals. Fourth grade is the first stepping stone to the science curriculum in grades 5-8. We start with the animal world, which as Swartz says is, “the closest “kingdom of nature” to the human being,” and the move on to study the plant, mineral, and human kingdoms, along with laboratory science.
Music: Students are introduced to the violin, two part singing begins, recorder and music reading continues.
Handwork and Art: Celtic form drawing, cross stitching and clay and watercolor continue.
Foreign Language: Grammar, writing and reading in Spanish and German.
Gym: Rhythmic exercise, gymnastics, kickball and softball.
For more information about Spring Garden Waldorf’s unique Class 4 curriculum, speak with or email our Admissions Director who can also put you in touch with our current Class 4 instructor.