Thursday, November 8, 2012


Oh! Look at our lanterns,
They cheerily shine,
Come follow their bright golden ray.... 

The sunlight is dwindling so quickly here...
This is the time when our inner light must prevail in the darkness!

excerpt from a parent email I wrote earlier this week:
So, what about St. Martin? St. Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th century. Legend says that one wintry night he met a poor beggar, half-naked and freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from his shoulders and, drawing his sword, cut it in two, and gave half to the beggar. That night, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wrapped in the same piece of cloak Martin had given the beggar, and said: “Martin has covered me with this garment.” Martin became the patron saint of beggars, drunks and outcasts, dedicating his life to assisting the unfortunate and downcast.

This sounds like a lot to talk about with 3 and 4 year olds!  As Waldorf early childhood educators, we simply wait for the right time. Most teachers find that these details come a bit later, such as kindergarten or the grades. Nursery children bask in the dreamy wonder of this light filled festival; they take it for what it means to them. Very few, if any, words are needed. Upon the festivals conclusion, we ask that you try to hold this mood for the ride home! 

While I love the story of St. Martin, I do feel that elements of the story are not for nursery aged children. Instead, we speak of our special light; the light in our hearts. We talk about how it is dark and cold outside, but we will not be cold or in the dark!

Our story the past 3 weeks has been a tale of a little child who notices the changes in his/her world....the chill in the air, the leaves falling, the need for warmer clothing. We speak of the animals getting ready for a long, warm sleep. 

I'd like to post a video presentation of this story tomorrow, so check back to see if I've managed to figure it out!

We're crafting our lanterns this week for our lantern walk this Saturday at dusk. Festival crafting with young children is so much more than a finished product. I lay out all of the materials in an inviting way during our free play. I then sit down at the table and begin slowly crafting. The children are free to play and no announcement is made to call them to the table. While not all children will chose to leave their play to join, they still experience what we are doing. They experience that something is being made; our gesture, our feeling.

We experience festival crafting over the course of one week together. The children see how it takes time to create something. They might also notice how some children are participarting and talking about it, and this draws them, as well.

Off we will go into the darkness to shine our little lights!


  1. Such a lovely way to craft with children. We are celebrating Martinmas for the first time in our home this year and have been working on our lanterns all week. My little man is pretty excited, and I might just be as excited :)

  2. We've been a bit lantern crazy! My littles love them and so look forward to their gentle glow. Such beauty and calm.......I love how they see and feel it! Lovely post xo Thank you!

  3. How fun and beautiful! So, I've been wondering for awhile now..... Where did you buy your beautiful dining table from? We just bought a house and I want one very similar. Thanks!

  4. What a beautiful way to shine the light of St. Martin! I love the way you draw the children in to craft without an organized announcement. Lovely!

  5. I've always told the story of St Martin to young children - I think it can be presented beautifully and sensitively to even toddlers who can imagine being cold, having a helper share and make them warm, and in my religious home even toddlers have a sense of sharing and helping making Jesus happy. It's such a simple tale, packed full of do much goodness. I do love this festival of light and love just as autumn starts to drag into winter. Wishing you a very happy lantern walk on Saturday.

  6. I love seeing all the different lanterns people are making! I like the idea of glass jars so you can use real tea lights, I think as much as I hate them we will be using the little plastic LED lights for our Lantern Walk tonight. I just found a tutorial on how to make the star lanterns, I am excited to give that a try, I love them so much!


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