Welcome Autumn! As the light has been changing, so too have the children. The group is beginning to form. Our rhythm is establishing a comfortable flow to the day. I am seeing new friendships popping up and lots of smiles. Since the initial excitement of school has passed now the work of really getting to know each other is setting in. Those opportunities for understanding how to be kind, respectful, conscientious of others, compassionate and happy little children are a bit easier now that we are beginning to have a group. There is something in working with this age group that I find myself saying truths about how to be a human being. It is almost self-medicating for me. My own Zen practice built into my day. Thank you.
This Tuesday 11/19, we will be having our first parent evening of the year from 7:30 until 9pm. I apologize for the late notice. Hopefully you can make it happen. In previous years many of you have had little, little ones which has made it hard to get away, but I am hoping that they have grown a bit and can be more easily left in the other parent’s care for the evening. Ms. Jan will be there too, so you all may get to know her a bit more. Here is the agenda for the evening:
Arrive & Painting
Parenting discussion: successes and struggles
Our growing school: update and where are you?
I really hope you can make it to this as I believe it to be very important to the health of the school and as well there is something magical that happens when we form ourselves as a group that holds the children. Please let me know if you cannot make it. Thanks. Hope to see you Tues. night at 7:30pm.
Apple picking was such a fun activity to do as a group. I was thinking we could continue with our field trip days with a visit to a pumpkin patch. I know it is a bit of a trek for most of us but I was thinking of trying out a u-pick pumpkin farm called Jack Creek Farms off of hwy 46. How does Friday Oct. 22nd sound? More info to follow.
I’ve been noticing all of the dew laden spider webs in the garden lately and they remind me that this is the time of year when the veil between the earthly world and the spirit realm is thin, just like those gossamer webs. Halloween brings much excitement for all of us and as a parent of young children, some trials too. The amount of sugar is a challenge and so too are all the frightening masks, scary costumes, etc. Sometimes just going to the grocery store is a loaded errand because of the witch above the ice cream. I have struggled with how to keep the magic of this festival balanced with how we as a culture celebrate. At our house we have the sugar fairies that come the night of Halloween and in exchange for some candies they leave a simple gift the next morning. This year our family is going to go to the Santa Barbara Waldorf School where they put on an enchanted journey for young children (please read below, the excerpt at the end of the newsletter is from the Santa Barbara Waldorf School’s Oct. newsletter and explains their Halloween journey). Anyone is welcome to join us.
Dia de los Muertos
The last few years our family has celebrated Dia de los Muertos. This year I would like to extend the invitation for the children to join. I make an alter, ofrenda, that has photos of people in our family or friends who have passed. If you would like to participate, please bring a photo with your name on the back the first week in Nov. We will also be making pan de muertos on bread day. For more information… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead
As with all festivals, if you would like to bring something please let me know and we’ll make the space to celebrate. Life is too short, let’s celebrate!
I hope this season of shifting from outside to in, brings light and warmth into your homes. See you soon!
p.s. a few pictures below
Festival Family and Food Guide to Seasonal Celebration
by Diana Carey and Judy Large
The Eve of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), a Celtic festival, marks November 1 as the first day of Winter’s cold and barrenness. The transition period from autumn to winter was thought in ancient times to include the return of the souls of the departed to the warmth and light they remembered from their former lives. Not only ghosts were anticipated, but general mischief, witchcraft, magic and hobgoblins of every sort. There is an old saying in Cardiganshire that on Halloween a bogie sits on every stile. It is said that in Ireland on that night, the fairy hills are thrown open and the fairies swarm forth; and any bold enough may peep in the open green hills to see their treasure, if he dare. In the North of England, a sprig of rowan was put above the door to ward off evil, and a bowl of oats in water or milk was left outside the door to appease any visiting spirits. To frighten away witches,people took to carving faces on hollowed out turnips and placing candles inside. This custom has been handed down to present day turnip lanterns and the New World pumpkin ‘Jack-O-Lantern’.
As genuine fear subsided through the ages, the theme of the festival has been retained in playful fashion, and in many areas Halloween is a time for pranks and dressing up. One wonders if the party game of bobbing for apples might be reminiscent of the distant past, when suspected witches were ‘bobbed’ to test their innocence or guilt. At any rate, the mask, the black cat, the pointed black hat and the old-white-sheet-ghost help us face the coming winter darkness in bold and jovial fashion!
In our culture we are often exposed to cinematic special effects, technology and scenes that are designed to create a Halloween experience that is frightening, even thrilling. Halloween revelers can bring this experience to life. However, for a young child it is potentially a frightening experience. As an alternative for young children the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara annually creates an enchanted journey through magical vignettes. The children are visitors to the places where the fairies have sprinkled their artistic magical dust. There are scenes that come alive with fairy tale characters, queens and kings, gnomes and other glimmering and charming creatures. The children receive tokens to remember their night and can go off to bed with images that will send them into a peaceful nights sleep.
Lisa Hubener, Festival Chair