Davis Waldorf School
Community Life

Festivals and Celebrations

At the Davis Waldorf School, we celebrate universal spirituality. Our school’s interest in spiritual matters is aimed at awakening the child’s natural reverence for the wonder and beauty of life. While religion is not taught at our school, we do observe traditions associated with Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, when appropriate. We recognize and honor the diverse faiths of all our families.

Seasonal festivals, including the major Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter, are observed in the classroom and at school assemblies. The curriculum itself, through the Old Testament and Hebrew studies, Norse, Indian, Egyptian, Roman and Greek mythologies, provides many opportunities to share other religious and cultural traditions in the classroom.

We like to acknowledge and share the religious customs and celebrations enjoyed by our families. If you are interested in celebrating special holidays in your child's classroom, we encourage you to give suggestions to your child’s Class Teacher. Parent participation helps to make these festivals meaningful and special. Parents are welcome to keep their children home in observance of their own religious holidays.

We feel that the ceremonies and rituals associated with the rhythms of the seasons of nature help reveal the deeper significance in many everyday occurrences. The living rhythms of the year, though taken up in each class in different ways, help provide a common foundation for the children.

Children love preparing for the festivals by decorating the room, baking special treats, learning special songs, etc. Nature stories, songs, poetry, and special tales help bring deeper significance of the season to the children in a pictorial way.

Beautification Day
 
Held on a Saturday in late August, families gather together to garden, weed, help with projects and clean up our campus before the children come back to school.

Opening Day Rose Ceremony
 
On the first day of school for the grades, we take time to kick off the school year by introducing the new year’s classes/teachers and giving parents a glimpse into the curriculum that will be delivered for that year. The new first grade class is welcomed into the grades by our eighth grade class. The eighth graders present a rose to each child, establishing their bond as first and eighth grade “buddies” for the next year. The buddy pairs then take a tour of the school together and bring them into their new classroom. First grade parents create a sunflower arch in front of the classroom for the buddies as they enter their classroom for the first time.


Preschool and Kindergarten Warming Day
 
Preschool and Kindergarten Warming Day is a short time for each child to get familiar with the room with a parent(s) there for reassurance, while at the same time getting some housekeeping tasks done, such as learning which cubby will be theirs, picking out, labeling and hanging up an extra clothes bag, getting introduced to the classroom toys and some of the other children, etc

Community First Fridays
 
The first Friday of every month, we gather in the Multi-Purpose Room for a Waldorf parent education topic at 8:30, then host a coffee social for parents to get to know new community members afterward. Please plan on taking advantage of this great community offering each month!

Back to School Night
 
The DWS community picnics on the lawn to kick off the new school year, get important information for the year and get to know new families and rekindle old friendships. There is music, games and food served at this wonderful event.

Michaelmas
 
The Michaelmas festival takes place in late September, after the Sun has reached the autumnal equinox. Saint Michael is an archangel mentioned in the Bible, Apocrypha, and the Koran. He appears as a spiritual figure and protector of humankind, inspiring strength and courage. The motif of the dragon conqueror can be seen in Chinese art, in Apollo and the serpent, in Krishna slaying demons, and in the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Michael overcoming the dragon with his sword of light is an image that calls us all to be courageous, to take command of the dragon and transform it. Each of us has our own dragon – fear, greed, thoughtlessness, or apathy. Michael’s qualities of courage, compassion, and steadfastness can be an inspiration to us all.

Halloween
 
All Hallow’s Eve, or as it is better known, Halloween, was originally one of the four Celtic “cross” festivals; that is, a festival occurring at time between, instead of on, the Solstice or Equinox. It falls at a time of growing darkness, when the shadows are lengthening and the sun moves down through the sky. At one time celebrated as a year’s end/beginning, it was thought that at this point the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world was thinner and that movement between the two was possible. It was a time of purification and guarding against those spirits who would cause harm to humanity. It was also a time to honor those friends and companions who had passed on to the other side. It was thought that by acknowledging and honoring the darker side of existence, we would gain the power to resist that which is harmful.

At DWS, we celebrate Halloween with a blend of the old and the new. Families of all ages (ideally for children in fourth grade and younger) enjoy the “Protected Path,” a journey through the world of vignettes, fairy tales, and far-off lands. Led by an “Angel Guide,” they hear stories and gather treats along the way. On the “Perilous Path” we give children a chance to venture into the world of darkness in a way that is both safe and a bit challenging. The students in fifth grade and older travel the Perilous Path alone, facing challenges to be overcome and a treasure to be won at the end. Our evening ends gathered around a bonfire for singing, food, and sharing of treats and tales of wonders seen.

Costume Note: We ask that your child wear a “traditional” Halloween costume rather than one that reflects a commercial “character” theme. Suggestions: pirate, fairy, princess, dragon, knight, etc. No scary masks or makeup, please.

Dia de los Muertos
 
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and in other cultures around the world. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday. The celebration at DWS takes place on or near November 1 or 2.

Martinmas
 
The kindergarten and the 2nd Grade each holds a lantern walk (on separate evenings) on or around November 11th. They light the lanterns they have made, sing the lantern songs they have learned during Morning Gathering Circle and walk around the school grounds as it gets dark. The walk ends with a gathering to enjoy hot cider and star cookies.

Gratitude Day
 
During the week before Thanksgiving break, the students express written sentiments of gratitude which are hung on a tree for all to view. On Friday, classes may also organize a simple community meal.

Winter Spiral
 
December celebrates a turning point when darker and shorter days become even more illuminated by candlelight. We experience a mood of anticipation, preparation, and waiting. In walking the spiral of the Winter Garden, the children receive, in reverence, the light for their own candles.

Advent
 
The older children celebrate during the four weeks of the Advent season on Monday mornings in December at an opening assembly that includes the lighting of a wreath’s candles and the recitation of a verse welcoming minerals, plants, animals, and finally the arrival of human beings.

Saint Nicholas Day
 
Celebrated on or around December 6th, a special visitor may leave some treats in the children’s shoes. St. Nicholas (the original Santa Claus) often delivers a personal verse to Grades children, suggesting areas for individual growth and development in the coming year.

Santa Lucia
 
Crowned with lighted candles, the oldest girl in the second grade leads a Santa Lucia processional with song and traditional cookies from class to class.

Family Craft Day
 
A Family Craft Day is held on a Saturday in early December offering live music, storytelling, food, and the opportunity to make a variety of seasonal craft projects. Dipping candles, tin-tapping, building gnome homes, folding window stars, and others may be part of the day’s activities. Family Craft Day is a wonderful and non-commercial way to welcome in the holidays and to make handmade gifts for loved ones, and support our 8th Grade with this fundraiser.

Winter Concert
 
All families are invited to attend our December afternoon/evening concert, featuring seasonal instrumental music, poetry, and songs performed by students and faculty. A joyous way to welcome in the holiday season, this is a signature event that many grandparents and friends enjoy attending.

Warm-the-Heart Month
 
The month of February is Warm-the-Heart Month at DWS. Each class from 2nd - 8th grade gives back to our community from the heart by taking on a service project with their class. Parents are encouraged to get their families involved at home by taking on a family volunteer activity in their community. Contact our Administrator at admin@daviswaldorf.org if you would like to share an idea or need suggestions for your family.

Open House
 
Come visit our classrooms to see all the fantastic things our children are doing! Each classroom, preschool - 8th grade, will be open with samples of work on display (grades only) and foods to snack on, representative of the curriculum. The multi-purpose room will showcase our grades subjects and the subject teachers will be on hand for you to meet. The Davis Waldorf fiddlers will round out the experience. Open to the public, this is a great event to bring friends and family to.

St. Valentine
 
Celebrated on or around February 14th, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by creating special crafts, a focus on kindness in our stories and songs, and sharing our sentiments of friendship with one another.

Grades Grandparents and other Special Friends Day
 
Each child in grades 1 – 3 has the opportunity to invite a grandparent or special friend to spend a day at school. This very popular event includes a school tour with observations in several classrooms, a question and answer session about Waldorf education, time spent with the child in his or her classroom, performances by the students, and a delicious homemade lunch.

Annual Benefit Dinner
 
Our annual Benefit Dinner is always a fun evening out for parents and their friends and family to get together as a group and raise funds to support our school. The night offers a dinner, drinks and dancing. There are truly amazing unique items and class projects to bid on during the live and silent auctions to support DWS.

Volunteer Appreciation Day
 
On this day, we invite all of our wonderful parent volunteers to gather (location TBD) for a special gratitude reception in their honor. We truly appreciate all that our parents do to make the school a wonderful place for our children.

Strings Concert
 
All families are invited to attend our springtime evening concert, featuring our strings classes in a variety of musical offerings, from small ensembles to large group numbers and usually featuring 8th grade soloists. This is a most impressive event that many grandparents and friends enjoy attending.


May Faire
 
May Faire is held on the first Saturday in May and features festive music, arts and crafts, games and activities, food, puppet shows, farm animals, and vendors offering splendid items. Kindergarten students search for and find the May King and Queen (usually DWS alumni) and all students participate in the May Faire processional to their throne. Students of the eighth grade, clothed in all white, perform traditional May Pole dances with colorful ribbons. They are accompanied by live, traditional music performed by the 7th grade and others. Attended by as many as 500 community members, it is a beautiful way to welcome in Spring.

Kindergarten Boating Day
 
A few days before the end of school, we invite parents and friends to join our individual classes on a field trip to a local river or lake for a sailing of our hand-made boats.

Games Day
 
During the last week of school, our Games Teacher organizes the 1st – 8th Graders for our annual Games Day. [Note: Water Day has been permanently cancelled, replaced by optional pool parties.]

Closing Rose Ceremony
 
At the Closing Rose Ceremony, the 8th grade class is recognized by their teacher in front of the student body in acknowledgement and honor of this time of completion of their education at our school. Each 1st Grader presents a rose to their 8th Grade Buddy in a parting gesture of warm appreciation and love.

Graduation
 
The Saturday after the last day of school, we welcome the whole community to the graduation of the eighth grade class. Students perform music, each one delivers a speech on their Waldorf education, and they receive their diplomas and greet the community as Alumni for the first time. Don’t miss this inspiring and beautiful day.

Birthday Celebrations in the Preschool and Kindergarten
 
The most notable festival including the parents/families of the Early Childhood program is the birthday celebration. These are special occasions to honor each child and to give thanks for their life.

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