Saint Nicholas Day in a Waldorf School

Saint Nicholas Day at Meadowbrook Waldorf School

shoes Saint Nicholas

The children in the lower grades were busy yesterday tidying their rooms and placing their shoes out neatly in anticipation for a visit from Saint Nicholas.  This morning those eager boys and girls found treasures of clementines and small shells in their shoes waiting for them, sometimes with a hint of glitter left behind from their secret visitor.

Who is Saint Nicholas?

Today the children celebrate Saint Nicholas Day.  Saint Nicholas was a bishop born in the 4th century. He was known for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.  Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, pawnbrokers.* Saint Nicholas day is celebrated throughout Europe and is honored by Waldorf schools and Waldorf inspired homes and homeschoolers as well.

Legends of Saint Nicholas

One of the most popular stories of St Nicholas tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas.**

Saint Nicholas Felted

Our German teacher shares this poem about Sankt Nikolaus translated into English.

Knecht Ruprecht – Theodor Storm

From out of the forest I now appear, to proclaim that Christmastide is here!
For at the top of every tree are golden lights for all to see;
and there from Heaven’s gate on high I saw our Christ-child in the sky.

And in among the darkened trees, a loud voice it was that called to me:
‘Knecht Ruprecht, old fellow’ it cried, ‘hurry now, make haste, don’t hide!
All the candles have now been lit – Heaven’s gate has opened wide!

Both hong and old should snow have rest away from cares and daily stress;
and when tomorrow to earth I fly “It’s Christmas again!” will be the cry.’

And then I said: ‘O Lord so dear. My journey’s end is now quite near; 
but to this town I’ve still to go, Where the children are good, I know.’

‘But have you then that great sack?’
‘I have’ I said, ‘it’s on my back.
For apples, almonds, fruit and nuts for God-fearing children are a must.’

‘And is that cane there by your side?’ 
The cane’s there too,’ I did reply;
but only for those, those naughty ones, who have it applied to their backsides.’
The Christ-child spoke: ‘Then that’s all right! My loyal servant, go with God this night!’

From out of the forest I now appear; To proclaim that Christmastide is here!
Now speak, what is there here to be had?
Are there good children, are there bad?

Sources:
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas
**http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

Holiday Faire: November 17th & 18th, 2012

Monica Rodgers is a Waldorf graduate and mother of two. Now a Meadowbrook parent she volunteers her considerable talents to helping form our annual Holiday Faire.

Each year, our Meadowbrook Waldorf School community comes together to design and plan our traditional Holiday Faire. It is an event unlike any other in the area, and we have watched it grow each year in attendance as visitors come from all over the tri-state area and beyond to celebrate this special time.

As winter approaches cultures and religious traditions around the world celebrate this change of seasons with festivals of light.  This year our Holiday Faire will honor the light that each of us carries within, the light that guides and inspires us.  Our intention is that the warmth and light of the season touches you and all those you love and cherish.

We hope you will come and celebrate with us – and bring your family and friends!

November 17th:  Adults only evening; join us from 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM. Bring a new friend to our community and receive our coveted holiday “swag bag” put together for our first fifty guests and includes discounts, gift cards, and prizes from area businesses.  The evening will be a shoppers’ paradise, come and enjoy a bonfire, music, and other festivities.  Participate in our live auction and bid on items that will knock your socks off!

November 18th: Family day; any and all can attend a day filled with music, shopping, crafts, events, performances and natural foods. Open from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Some of the reasons you should join us this year:

  • This year’s theme is “Guiding Light” as we remember the warmth and light that this season brings to our hearts and homes.  Find beautiful crafts,  activities, performances, and unique gifts that portray this wonderful inspiration.  Our beautiful decorated campus will “light” your up your hearts and bring a smile to your faces.

  • Choose from an unbelievable assortment of gifts and products, with handmade items crafted by individuals in our own community.  These beautiful, timeless, and quality gifts are things you just can’t find anywhere else and they make a long lasting impression on those who receive them. Our school store will offer finely crafted European toys and delicacies to fill your stockings and deck your tree or table.  We hand-pick items that are made by quality artisans from around the world, including housewares, clothing, ornaments, and other fineries. Follow our board on Pinterest to get a visual sampling of our magnificent offerings, and don’t forget to “Friend” us on Facebook.  

  • This year we will add a new aspect to your shopping experience.  In addition to our ever popular school store and consignment section will be a new section of vintage accessories and gently used  wooden toys. This is a great selection of gifts for that person in your life who might just appreciate a piece of history by way of a vintage hat, piece of jewelry, wooden toy, or a fun handbag or top. This section is a great addition for the hard to buy “tween” or teen in your life, the antique collector, or super funky fresh individual who can appreciate the up-cycled nature of this type of gift. This section will stand along side an expanded collection of “dress up” clothing for kids and we’ll have a large dress up box so that you can consider adding to your dress up collection at home. Fairies, and pirates – eat your heart out!

 

  • Children and grown-ups alike love our ever popular Gnome Cave and our raved about Marionette Performances put on by our talented educators.  The  Ladies of the Rolling Pin  will also be in attendance and you won’t want to miss their fun singing and dancing.  We’ll invite you to dip your own candles and try your hand at some woodworking crafts so plan on bringing the kids for some family crafts and  don’t forget to stop so that the little ones can ride the ponies. Oh, and don’t forget the Pocket Lady as she roams among the children to offer treasures in exchange for tickets. She’s a magical being who always adds to the wonder of the experience.
  • Another long awaited addition to our Holiday Faire this year is an Auction that will be filled with products and services that our visitors can bid on. Join us in the excitement that comes with the possibility of placing the winning bid for more than fifty amazing items,  services, vacations, and gifts.

  •  If you would like to learn more about Waldorf Education and what it might have to offer for your own family,  you can visit with our education experts. Parent volunteers are also on hand to give insight into how the Waldorf experience has enriched the lives of their families and children.  Look for our Holiday Gift Guide when you arrive to find the room where we’ll be available to answer questions or demonstrate way’s in which our approach might differ from mainstream educational choices.

  • We promise if you join us you will go home with a full heart, and hopefully a sack filled with unique and inspiring holiday gifts for your friends, family, children, and grandchildren.

Brands include: Kathe Kruz, Haba, Grimms, Selecta, Ostheimer, Moleskine, Quiver, Red Chair Studio Designs, Peter Zuerner, Om’s by Miquette, Seedling, Kiddo, Bloc, Baby Legs, etc….

Gift ideas include: Marble runs, dolls, blocks, stilts, board games, accessories, jewelry, dress up, vintage, kitchen play, puppets, science kits, nature kits, sewing kits, collectibles, felt, looms, musical instruments, scarves, cutting boards, stocking stuffers, candles, ethnic gifts, blankets, linens, hand bags, hair accessories, home decor, card games, luminaries, beads, art supplies, crafts, clay, nativities, stockings, ornaments, hats, mittens, carvings, and much, much, much more! 

Subscribe to this blog to stay in touch with our community and learn about our other events.

 

 

 

 

In Good Arms; a parent reflects on opening day.

Teri has been a Meadowbrook parent for six years. Here she reflects on her own transition as her daughter joins first grade. The beautiful photos are by Monica Rodgers, another MWS parent.

The rainbow bridge to the grades

Yesterday, a child came out to wander
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

This song rings in my ear as I think about my daughter entering into 1st grade.  I am caught in that parent conundrum of being excited that she is growing up and becoming more independent, yet wanting her to crawl onto my lap and ask me to make it all better.   Continue reading →

How do I choose my child’s first school?

As summer winds on with cook outs and beach outings, I am finding myself drawn into conversations with friends who are parents of younger children.  Do you like your kids’ school?  How do they feel about school?  I talk some about Meadowbrook, sometimes I try to describe the Waldorf philosophy in a succinct two minutes – not my strong point even after 5 years at the school!  But the conversation always ends up at the same essential question, how to be sure that as parents we are giving our children what they need.  It’s a tough one.  Our state and national governments are in debate about how to test and who to test.  We are bombarded with marketing that tells us our children’s success, and therefore our own, depends on us purchasing this or that product.  And there are our own insecurities about our ability to make such important decisions with no experience to base them on, insecurities that grow in the face of our peers who seem to be utterly confident that they know the right way to go.

I had such a conversation yesterday then today came across this great blog post from Teacher Tom.  Tom is not a Waldorf teacher, he is an early childhood teacher in Seattle who clearly loves his job and the kids he works with. I hope this piece speaks to you as it does to me.

Click this link; Learning and loving go hand in hand by Teacher Tom.