Festival Life at Waldorf
"Celebrating festivals can bring us consciously to what we all experience instinctively in our daily lives, the changing cycles of the seasons and of life itself. Through various festivals and rituals we acknowledge and celebrate our connection to and our responsibility toward each other and the world.” -Festivals by Marilyn Pelrme
An important aspect of the Waldorf School of Baltimore is the celebration of festivals. Through these non-sectarian celebrations, a living calendar of rhythm and harmony with nature, and each other, is created. Every festival, celebration and assembly contributes its own unique value to the year as a whole. The below calendar is enriched, refined and added to by a dedicated Festivals Committee each year.
Children’s Garden Family Work-Day:
Children’s Garden Families gather in their outdoor and indoor classrooms where children have the opportunity to meet and interact with their new classmates before the school year begins. Parent(s)/Guardians(s) participate with joy in purposeful work to prepare the classrooms for the upcoming year: oiling bowls, applying a fresh layer of beeswax to wooden toys, tending the garden, etc.
Students are welcomed back to school at the Wildflower Ceremony and Opening Assembly on the first day of school. One by one the first-graders are greeted by a member of the eighth grade, who present this child with a posy of Wildflowers. Faculty and Staff are introduced and our School Verse is read aloud.
Harvest Festival of Courage:
The foundations of this day celebrate human courage as the days begin to darken and our attention turns towards fortifying our courage for winter. Harvest songs, poems and courageous skits are performed by the elementary grades in a community Pageant, accompanied by class-created art. A community pot-lock, with each family bringing fresh foods to share from their own bountiful gardens, follows. During this festival we recognize that it is from a place of privilege that we celebrate the bounty of the world around us at Harvest Time. We celebrate but also remember that there are a many in our immediate Baltimore community who are not so fortunate. In this spirit, families may provide donated items a local charity. An afternoon of community and picnicking follows.
Children’s Garden Autumn Festival:
Children's Garden Families gather for Autumn Celebration in the morning to enjoy a seasonal pageant and special snack.
Magical Moon Stroll:
This weekend celebration welcomes the greater community to celebrate a gentle Halloween. Children are encouraged to dress up in imaginative, media-free, preferably homemade/simple costumes and are guided through the schools grounds for a living story in which they travel through our outdoor classrooms, meeting magical and kind-spirited creatures along the way.
Dia de Los Muertos:
Lead by our wonderful Spanish teacher, Sra. Pasion, each elementary class learns about this Joyful Day of Remembering in age appropriate ways while preparing specialty crafts to add to a school community offerenda. Baskets of traditional Chocolate Bread are prepared by the Middle School and shared with CG and Elementary Grades, accompanied by a note.
As we move nearer to the shortest day of the year and the world darkens with the fading light, we take time to come together in a spirit of community and meet the night with our lantern (and inner) lights shining bright. Families gather in the evening with handmade lighted lanterns and venture, singing softly, through the Waldorf Woods, class teachers as their guides. We return to a community bonfire to enjoy fresh pumpkin bread and warm apple cider before parting ways. In the spirit of this Festival a school-wide community sock drive and/or used-coat drive, benefiting a local charity proceeds our gathering.
Families with young children not currently enrolled are also welcome to join our Community Lantern Walk! Please RSVP to email@example.com if you wish to join our November 9th evening walk. We will send along more details on timing and such.
Students, Faculty and Staff participate in this peaceful celebration of bringing light into darkness on (or near) the shortest day of the year. A spiral of evergreens is prepared in which each community member and students walks alone to the center; where their candle is lit. When all the children have walked the path, the whole spiral is aglow with lights thanks to each of us sharing our own light.
Festival of Light:
Winter musical and performance assembly, preluded with a candle lighting ceremony where members of our community are invited to come to the stage and share ways in which their family “brings light into the darkness” at this time of year.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week of Service:
Our celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is two-fold in which the deep learning taking place in classrooms, is complimented by an invigorating and inspiring undercurrent of school-wide service. Students in Grades 1–8 Participate in a Week of Service holding in our hearts the quote “life’s most urgent and pressing question is, what are we doing for others”. In the various classes, appropriate to age, there are stories and discussion of Dr. King’s dream for equality for all.
Lunar New Year
Middle School students participate in this festival by marking the beginning of the lunar calendar, with a Dragon Parade through the Elementary and Children’s Garden Classes. Gifted baskets of oranges are presented to each class with a note of welcome to the New Year.
Frederick Douglass’ Birthday:
The Children’s Garden prepares and delivers birthday cupcakes using our 50-year-old birthday cake recipe for each class in the Elementary School, accompanied by a birthday card and the sharing a small, age-appropriate, portion of this local-heroes story.
Black History Month:
We look forward to February as a time to celebrate, honor and drive awareness to the importance of Black excellence, history and heritage above and beyond what is already embedded into our daily lessons and learning throughout the year. Doorways are boldly decorated with curriculum-tied décor in celebration of the contributions of past and present Black and African Americans.
Lead by our Green Team of Parent Volunteers, the school engages in activities to contribute to the health of the natural resources on our campus. A coordinating Earth Week Educational Evening is held each Earth week as part of our value-driven Community Outreach as well as a Community-Wide Playdate.
Children’s Garden Spring Festival:
Early Childhood Classes gather to welcome spring with a reflective living story in the Bird Sanctuary. Afterwards, families are welcomed to experience their child(ren)’s spring circle time and snack in the outdoor classrooms.
May Day The entire community gathers outdoors to celebrate the peak of spring with song, dance, music, and performances inspired by a variety of cultures. Each year we honor two members of our school community by crowning them as May Day Royalty. Families may create flower baskets to share with friends and neighbors in celebration of the season and enjoy refreshments together.
Pentathlon: Grade 5 students spend the school year studying ancient Greek history and mythology. This study culminates in a Pentathlon at the Kimberton Waldorf School. Challenges of skill, strength, grace and sportsmanship and a fantastic organic Greek feast follow.
Reversing the roles of the first day Wildflower/Welcoming Ceremony, Grade 1 students now gift the graduating eighth graders with a Lily during a beautiful Graduation Ceremony
School Assemblies and Plays: Various Times
School Assemblies and Class Plays (1-8) are held throughout the year in which parent(s)/guardian(s) can appreciate the work of their students see the natural advancement of the curriculum through the grades.
Class Field Trips and Education Excursions: Various Times
At the Waldorf School of Baltimore field trips are not just fun, they are fundamental. Class camping trips, field trips and other educational outings, which enrich and enliven classroom teaching, take place throughout the year.