Monday, October 29, 2012

Hallowe'en in the Kindergarten

Our current story in the kindergarten is The Naughty Little Hobgoblin, who likes to play silly tricks but after finding a big, golden smiling face of a jack-o-lantern, runs away and “minds his manners”. The short article below by Eugene Schwartz speaks about the true nature of “All Hallows’ Eve” and how it relates to young children.

Hallowe’en is followed by All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) and All Souls Day. Much celebrated in Latin America and Japan as days to remember loved ones who are departed. In the kindergarten, those children who come on Thursday, November 1 are invited to bring with them a photo of a departed grandparent or pet that they remember. We will have a place of honor prepared for these photos, and we would like to hear if they had a favorite food! The story that day will tell how our loved ones are alive in our kind thoughts.


Eons ago, as they looked upon the mists that wove around their fjords and heaths, ancient Europeans had a particular experience as the days grew shorter. Toward the end of the month that we call October, they perceived the souls of all of those who had died in the past year gathering and preparing to ascend to their heavenly home, making a space for the souls

due to be born in the year to come. But before they could assume their place in the ethereal realm, the departed souls had to sweep away all the detritus of the life just past and cast it to the earth. Thus the popular image of witches riding on their broomsticks is a misperception: in reality, the brooms are sweeping away the witches!

At the time when the child is in fourth grade, a sense of human mortality begins to dawn within her. Children of this age are rightfully and healthily drawn to all of the frightful and gruesome aspects of Halloween, and they look forward with trembling anticipation to visiting a haunted house, watching an horrific form arise out of a swamp, or, if only through a well-told story, being scared out of their senses!

For the younger child, however, the situation is different. The spirits and creatures with whom the younger child communes are not those created by human error, but rather those in whom the innocent and wise powers of Nature reside: gnomes and undines, fairies and elves, the spirits of stones and streams, sun and wind. For young children to be exposed only to the dark and demonic qualities of Halloween is to deny the unspoken conviction that they carry in their souls that the world is good.

Eugene Schwartz, Waldorf Educator

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Week in the Preschool/Kindergarten

"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day. "Come over the meadow with me and play. Put on your dresses of red and gold. Summer is gone and the wind blows cold."
Dear Parents,

Yesterday the children all joined together to pluck the petals from the marigold flowers that we harvested before Jack Frost visited the garden last week. We filled a pan with the golden petals and made a "stew" of them with water and simmered it on the stove. When we went outside, we strained our marigold stew into a big pot, added more water and set it on the gas burner. One by one, starting with the youngest, each child dipped a silk into the pot, stirred it with a stick, and watched it turn golden!

Today, we hiked through the woods, over the stepping stones of the stream and up through the back fields on High Street to the Hazens’ ancient chestnut tree. Before starting out, each of the older children found a younger one to walk with and hold their hand. (Left to right: Zoe and Maggie, Luka and Colt, Adele and Elsa, Olivia and Hazel, Kennedy (my partner), and Rosalie and Seamus.) They watched over their friends carefully the entire way! After we stopped for our snack of peanut butter balls, popcorn and apples, each one donned a golden cape to run through the meadow. This hike is about two miles, and not one child asked to be carried! Upon our return to the school, the older children continued to laugh and play with the younger ones.

So we begin our journey through the winter together!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parent-Child Class this week

Dear Parent-Child Families,

Yesterday morning was a beautiful example of play being enlivened by work. Susan polishing blocks in the block bin with a tiny basket of small cloths and beeswax salve, enticed Walden and Owen to help, build and then play together loading the boat with "cargo" of "clean" blocks. Jenn harvesting mint at the table, and soon Owen was putting mint leaves in the jar and pouring tea and then he and Walden made snack and tea for Clementine and Carlos in the quiet room.

Outdoors we spoke of the pleasing scent of essential oils and I mentioned a blend that is used in the Kindergarten and my home for cleaning and refreshing. I first made and used it during my LifeWays training and below is an excerpt and recipe from a LifeWays newsletter.

And the words to a new finger play....

As always I look forward to what next week will bring with you and your children!

Take care,
"Miss" Elisa

FingerPlay: Seed pods, bean pods, pea pods, poppy pods! Spilt when they ripen! And open with a POP!

Thieves Essential Oil Blend:
Equal parts of Lemon, Clove, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus essential oil

For a small spray bottle: Mix approximately 5 drops of each oil with one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Fill the rest of the way with distilled water.

It smells great and research shows these essential oils have been noted for anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic and anti-catarrhyal properties while stimulating the immune system, circulation and the respiratory system.