First, I want to welcome my new assistant at The Waldorf Connection, Rebekah! She is a Waldorf mom homeschooling and keeping things running smoothly here.
Rebekah Craycraft first became acquainted with Waldorf education while researching homeschooling methods. She knew she wanted to take a whole-child approach to teaching her children and she found just that with Waldorf. When she’s not homesteading, homemaking or homeschooling on her bit of Indiana paradise, she can be found indulging her love of British literature and crafting – most likely at the same time.
Summer Solstice and the New Waldorf Family by Rebekah Craycraft
I had not been a student of Waldorf methods for very long before I realized that the rhythmic changes of the seasons and observances of special festivals were very important to those who love Steiner and his teachings. Celebrating the equinoxes is just one of those things that had never been a tradition when I was young so I knew those occasions only as “the first day of (season)” and nothing more. So what, then, is a Waldorf-loving mama to do when she wants to learn something new?
One of the most important things I’ve learned about Waldorf is that I will do no one in my family or my outer circles any favors if I focus on “having it all” and “doing it all”. I’ve tried instead to add two or three new holidays a year as it suits our family’s schedule and abilities. This year, I added May Day to our Spring rhythm and I’m adding Summer Solstice as well. It falls just after our oldest girl’s fifth birthday so I think it would be a fun way mark her new age transition every year.
We’ll begin by changing up our nature table. We have a summer banner to hang and some shells and a toy turtle and sea-colored silk to put out. The girls will add things from the yard as the season progresses. Next we’ll start building a faerie village. We have a particularly large catalpa tree in our play yard which provides a perfectly shady place for a little pond and some moss and ivy. We’ll work together to build them a home and a garden fence out of twigs and rocks we find in the yard. When Daddy comes home, we’ll light a bonfire and have a cookout as suggested in the book All Year Round by Druit, Frynes-Clinton, and Rowling. Then we’ll leave some treats for the faeries to welcome them to their new home and help them enjoy their festive evening, too.
Altogether, it seems a relatively simple affair. But to small children who are watching their mama as she plans and prepares, engaging with them, collecting the materials, helping them set up an ongoing project they will remember each year as the Solstice comes around again – to them, that is magic.
By Elizabeth Gould
The sun goes down
The stars peep out
And long slim shadows flit about
In velvet shoes
The quiet dark
Comes stepping soft
O’er wood and park.
And now the world
Is fast asleep;
And fays and elves
Their revels keep.
They fly on the backs of the grey-winged moths
They skim on the dragon-flies green and gold
On shimmering dew-wet grass they alight,
Tiny petal-skirts whirl, gauzy wings unfold.
The fairies are dancing beneath the moon
Hush! See the shimmer of their twinkling shoon!
Found in Festivals, Family, and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large