10 Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Faire

Holiday Faire EntertainmentThe Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire is an event not to be missed and is one that my family has looked forward to every year since we discovered it three years ago. Over time, we have learned a few tips and tricks to make the day more enjoyable and relaxing, especially with young children.

1. Arrive Early to the Holiday Faire

Parking is available in the school lot and next door at the antique barn, which is a 5-minute walk to the Faire entrance. A shuttle to and from the school is also available.

By afternoon, the lots will be quite full. If you have restless small children who will need an afternoon nap, try to arrive close to when the Faire opens at 10 am.

2. Plan your time at the Holiday Faire

Waldorf Preschool Puppet Show

There are so many things to see and do! If you plan to make your own beeswax candles, then start with this craft (more on this later).

The puppet show is delightful for adults and absolutely mesmerizing for the little ones. Scope out the show time you’d like upon your arrival so you can manage your shopping and craft-making around it.

If you have never participated in a drum circle, now is a great time to try it.  Simply sit and join in when a seat is vacated. There are also performances by the Ladies of the Rolling Pin and carolers that add to the festivities of the day; if you can catch them, it’s well worth it.

3. Spend the entire day at the Holiday Faire

Waldorf School Holiday Faire Drum Circle

It’s not that you can’t just pop in for an hour or two, but you won’t be able to experience all the Holiday Faire has to offer in a short amount of time. Some crafts are time-consuming (See Candle Dipping) and the general vibe is one that invites taking it all in without having to worry about racing out early. Three hours would probably cover it, though we personally make a whole day of it.

4. Get Around the Holiday Faire Easily with Baby

I highly recommend leaving the stroller in the car and carrying a small baby or toddler in a comfortable carrier. The hallways can get crowded at times, and the store has narrow aisles. Tuck a diaper and wipes in your bag or pocket to save a trip back to the car. There is one bathroom equipped with a changing table near the children’s crafts room.

5. Plan to start your beeswax candle dipping first.

If you plan to make your own hand-dipped beeswax candle, you may want to start that as soon as you arrive so that you can work on it throughout the day. This craft requires adding layers of wax and then waiting for each layer to cool before dipping again. Depending on the size candle you are aiming for (candles are paid for by weight), the process could take anywhere from 2 hours to all day. This is a great activity, as you’ll get to enjoy the candle with each dinner over the winter months.

6. Visit the Crystal Cave (Formerly known as the Gnome Cave)

Be sure to visit the Crystal Cave either right before or immediately after you begin the candle dipping craft. It is truly magical and not to be missed. The Crystal Cave often has long lines, particularly when the puppet show is over.

7. Make Time for Crafts

There are several crafts available for a range of skill levels. Most are suitable for young children. If you carved out the whole day, you’ll be able to get creative in the crafting rooms at a gentle pace. If you only have a little time, scope out the craft options and pick the one or two that most appeal to you.

8. Shop at the Holiday Faire Store

Waldorf Holiday Faire StoreMy best tip for visiting the beautiful school store on Sunday is to bring another adult. When it’s time to sit down and rest and give your smallest Faire enthusiasts a snack, one person can stay with them while the other sneaks away to the centrally-located market for a bit of shopping.  Of course, if you want to do some Holiday shopping without the children at all then I highly recommend going the night before to the adults only Holiday Faire event where you could enter to win a $25 gift certificate to spend at the store.

Don’t miss the used book room for lots of great reads at an even greater bargain.

9. Enjoy the Playroom

Waldorf preschool classroomNew this year is the playroom, which will offer the chance for your little ones to interact in a preschool/kindergarten or Early Childhood classroom. If you are interested in seeing what a typical day in the preschool or kindergarten program looks like and would like to speak with a staff member who can answer your questions about Waldorf education, inquire about the playroom when you arrive.

10. Peek into the Practical Arts

Waldorf handwork loom

Handwork is an essential element of a Waldorf education, and the practical art teachers will display a bit of what they do in one of the classrooms. Handwork is done in the classroom in a quiet and peaceful environment, and so it follows that this is often a quiet activity. We happened into this room unexpectedly last year and it was an welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Faire.  While our son and niece happily weaved on a natural loom made of tree branches, we enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the lovely handwork teacher.

Finally, just take it all in.

Waldorf School Play Equipment OutdoorsIf you have never visited a Waldorf school before, be sure to spend some time enjoying the play areas outside. You’ll find gardens, climbing equipment, and rope swings, as well as many obstacles and forts that the children have built during their school days.

The essence of the school is evident from the moment you arrive. Every element is purposely chosen and intended to surround the children with beauty. The entire Faire is created and held by the parents working together. It is a testament to the sense of community that is built within the school. If you pay attention, you’ll feel the love that permeates every nuance of the school and the Faire. It is a magical event, not just for the children, but for everyone who comes and enjoys this special welcoming of the Holiday Season.

Have a wonderful time at Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire!

mws faire logo

Come join in the festivities at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. Saturday, November 23rd from 6-9 PM (Adults’ Night)
Sunday, November 24th from 10-4 (Family Day) 

 

Holiday Faire Magic: Gnomes and Fairies Return to the Crystal Cave

Contributed by Kristen Morelli

Join us at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire, where an Early Childhood classroom magically transforms into a Crystal Cave (formerly called the Gnome Cave).

Visit the Crystal Cave, where gnomes and fairies make their homes among the darkness of the forest. Hear the sounds of the wilderness. See miniature houses, rivers, mountains, mushrooms, birds, pumpkins, and crystals, where everything sparkles with twinkling holiday lights and magical fairy dust.

The Crystal Cave was born several years ago from the creative mind of alumni parent, Jill Buckley. It quickly became a Faire favorite among young children. We are grateful that Jill has agreed to lend her artistic talent again this year.

Children are invited to enjoy the cave alone, although younger children may prefer to be accompanied by an adult.

Don’t forget to travel quietly through the cave, so as not to disturb our little gnome and fairy friends who have come to visit. Also, travel slowly so you don’t miss any of our friends hidden in small holes throughout the forest. Make sure to say “Hello,” but don’t touch, because they are very shy.

The Crystal Cave is a popular attraction, so you might want to visit earlier or later in the day.

Come join in the festivities at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. 

Saturday, November 23rd from 6-9 PM (Adults’ Night)

Sunday, November 24th from 10-4 (Family Day) 

Who are these people anyway?

I mean, what sort of people sign up for a Waldorf school?  I had decided to sign my children up for a Waldorf education 15 years before the first one was born, sold on the idea by a Waldorf teacher-in-training I knew back then.  My children’s father had few happy memories of school and was delighted to find a philosophy that welcomed him in as a parent and shared our values in nurturing childhood.  We signed on five years ago and quickly came to love the thoughtful, active parent community we are sharing our journey with.  I have been going through this year’s photos from our daughter’s class.  Taken by parents at gatherings and on field trips, they are mostly images of 2nd graders in various states of high excitement.  But some are of us parents, this one prompted my post:

Pirates of the Cider Pressing!

Are these typical Waldorf parents?  Deborah is an Anglophile seldom without her pearls, she devotedly renovates historical buildings.  Brad is an entrepreneur who develops custom computer software for inventors and Stephen is a scientist working in regulatory compliance for a major pharmaceutical corporation.

Our career choices don’t say everything about who we are but it’s where we often start when we first meet someone.  Let me introduce you to some of my other Meadowbrook family.  Here are some dads and sons picnicing – Hutch was a science teacher at a Montesorri school now he works as a farmer and general contractor, Mike is a musician and chef, Peter is an estate manager and Paul works for the Navy in weapons and environmental safety.

Hank is a doctor with the VA.

 

Colleen is an early childhood educator, I work in development, Judy is our class teacher and Kristen is an engineer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teri, well as being imaginative with breakfast is a therapist, farmer and unabashed canning queen, husband David is the Director of the Natural History Survey.

Jan is a research specialist with the RI Dept of Education

Many paths lead to the Waldorf school, you never know who you’re going to meet when you get there.  So who are you Waldorf parents at large? Share the story of how you came to be at a Waldorf school.  Don’t be shy – here I am in full field trip glory!

 

 

Kindergarten Comes to Casey Farm

Jane Francis, or Miss Jane as she in known to the children of Primrose class wrote this piece about her experience taking Meadowbrook into the community with Kim Eccleston, who Miss Kim of the  Morning Glory early childhood class.
Meadowbrook Waldorf kindergarten made some new friends at the farmers market recently.  I wonder if you saw us at Casey Farm and came over to our “tent” to say hello?

Many young children brought their parents in to play in the “kitchen” or under the silk “roof”; to take care of our beautiful dolls or just relax in the big bean bag chair.  We had boys and girls cooking up delicious meals at the stove , working hard –all around the market – with the wooden wheelbarrow, setting up scenes with  our wooden animals and people; some were sailing away on the rocking board or setting up house, complete with bunk beds.

Everyone played so well together –  a lovely morning had by all.

In the middle of the morning we even had time for a puppet show.  Everyone sat and relaxed while Kim enchanted us with a tale of a very wise little girl (Mashenka) who made a plan to get back to her loving home, when a large bear had other ideas!

We talked to parents about the type of kindergarten experience they want for their young children:  warm teachers, safe atmosphere, plenty of time outside, good food, imaginative and creative play. All in all a good foundation for the academic work of the grade school.  Others were interested in our School Fairs and in the handwork groups for adults – knitting, felting and doll making seemed to be favorites.  Others wanted to know if we have a summer camp (we do!).

We were inspired by all the interest and questions.  Many thanks to Bevan Linsley, the Coastal Growers’ Market and Casey Farm for hosting us, we hope to return soon.