Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent week 2...the festival of plants



"Bless the root and bless the stem,
Bless the bud that says 'Amen'.

Bless the fig and the plum,
Bless the willow that looks so glum.

Bless the bean and the beet,
bless the berry that tastes so sweet.

Bless them big and bless them small,
Bless the plants that bless us all!"

~Reg Down "The Festival of Stones"
(Autumn and Winter tales of Tiptoes Lightly)



My biggest challenge this Advent season is how to pare down my ideas and only present the children with a few beautiful and strong images from the season...so many stories to tell, things to see, traditions to experience...I suppose it could leave a young child pretty overwhelmed (and adults, too!)
The quote above is taken from the fantastic book we read every day as we prepare for our rest time. The stories are full of rich language and imagery...it is this time that we informally experience the light of stones, plants, animals, and humankind.

After each story, I bring around pieces of each kingdom for the children to hold, touch, smell, or experience in any way they wish. This week, it is sprigs of pine, douglas fir, rosemary, a shiny holly leaf, and a clump of moss. The especially tactile children seem to really love this...


We also ventured out in the rain to harvest some beautiful rose hips from the public rose garden just down the block. The children were amazed to see "winter's flowers" growing from the tall thorny rose bushes. I used some floral wire to create a rosehip mini wreath. Thank you to my dear friend Joey for this grand craft idea! She is always an inspiration!!


Crafting with a mixed age group requires some thought and planning...the older children very much enjoy small-ish stringing items, but what about the 2.5 and 3.5 year olds? I found that stringing cut shapes of 100% wool felt works nicely and is much easier to grasp (literally and figuratively). I recommend wool felt rather than acrylic craft felt because a blunt ended tapestry needle finds its way much easier through wool....of course, it is much more beautiful to touch and look at, as well!
Wesley helped with the ornament photographed above...but after about a minute, he was absolutely squirming to get down to play. The children are never "forced" to sit and finish crafts...free play trumps everything during this phase of development. (although I should mention that there are certainly expectations for times during our day...such as circle time, mealtimes, etc.!)



Each child has their own tapestry needle which is kept on a felt shape and in a basket.


Baking cookies for a trip to a neighborhood senior community we will visit on Friday in honor of St. Nicholas Day.


I have the opportunity to observe in a kindergarten tomorrow at Kimberton Waldorf School.
I am so, so, so looking forward to this. 
This school seems so magical to me; the setting, the history, the diverse staff...
The teacher has been involved in various fields of Waldorf education for 35 years, all  over the world.
I'll also be able to observe the curative Eurythmist who visits the class weekly.
I'll post the few photos I feel comfortable taking soon!
In the meantime, here are some photos from past trips to Kimberton.

My application to Sunbridge is completed and mailed..finally!
A 17 page personal statement (...I don't think it's supposed to be that long..) and a printer fiasco later, it has left the building! :) :)


Lastly, many blessings to one of my best friends who just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last week.
Always inspirational and courageous, she had a HBAC (home birth after caesarean)  and both mother and baby are doing wonderfully. She was glad to be in the comfort of her beautiful home, surrounded by those who love her.
SHE DID IT!!!!!
W is pictured above, holding his new lifelong friend, Elyse Helen...
What an expression on his face. I think he'll be a great big brother one day:)

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful as always. Such lovely activities and i love the Poem!!

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  2. Oh you just have too much fun with the children don't you?!! I love the poem, the rosehip wreaths(!), and the ornaments and garlands!
    I also love the kind gesture of making cookies for the seniors. I know your visit will bring them much happiness!
    Congratulations to your friend! I agree, W has that "proud big brother" expression written all over him! ;o)
    xoxo
    ~ joey ~

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  3. I'm so glad you like that Reg Down book. I have it on order and if it comes before Christmas I will be getting it in my stocking. ; ) I've been looking forward to incorporating verses into our day and that is a great one.

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  4. I really hear you about getting so excited about celebrating these winter festivals, and yet pulling in the reins to keep things simple and accessible for the very small children. Plenty of time to go deeper later, I remind myself. And also, it's nice to slow down a bit and not feel such a huge pressure to make everything "perfect." You mentioned that at this age free play trumps everything. I'm wondering how this works out at circle time--do you ever have children that just want to run amok, and if so, how do you respond? Or have they all settled into the rhythm of that part of the day? Happy Advent days to you!

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