Advent Spiral — A Community Gathering

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We have just entered into the season of Advent.  Traditionally celebrated the four Sundays before the winter solstice, it marks a time of introspection as we all await the return of the sun and lengthening days.  This seasonal remembrance of light takes place in many cultures across the globe.  At our Waldorf school, we mark this season with weekly Advent spiral walks.

Our local community is invited to participate in this weekly moment of reflection. Please park in the visitor lot and follow the candle-lit path into the forest where you can walk the Advent spiral and place your offering along the path. You may bring something from home or pick a natural trinket from the start of the path to add to the spiral. In this way our community comes together co-creating the garden spiral.

Examples of items you might add to the spiral are:
The first light of Advent honors the mineral world.  Small shells, gems or rocks are appropriate for this week.

The second light of Advent honors the plant world. Acorns, pine cones, a dried flower or holly sprig would be wonderful additions to the path this week.

The third light of Advent honors the animal world. Perhaps you might add a small feather you have found or a piece of beeswax in the shape of a favorite animal this week.

The fourth light of Advent honors the light of man. During this final week we are in the darkest days of our year and we bring the light within ourselves to the spiral. You are invited to carry a candle through the spiral and then leave your candle along the path. In this way, we are leaving our light to illuminate the path for all of us. Candles are provided at the start of the path on this evening.

advent_spiral_dusk_mwsAfter walking the path, families often take a short time to sit together quietly. Participating in our Advent spiral is a lovely way to model a quiet reverence of nature to our little ones. Often the youngest of our visitors take many turns walking the spiral, first holding a parent’s hand and then becoming brave enough to test their independence and walk the path alone.

By marking our seasonal journey out of darkness with the quiet contemplation of Advent, we make space in this hectic time of celebration and busyness to remember our connection to the earth and each other.

Advent Spiral Dates for 2016

The local community is invited to join us in this small act of contemplation that we hold each Sunday of Advent from 4-5 pm.

November 27th (Minerals)
December 4th (Plants)
December 11th (Animals)
December 18th   (Humans)

Advent Spiral Verse

The first light of Advent is the light of the stones that sparkle through seashells, crystals and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of the plants that reach to the sun and in the breeze dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of the beasts that swim, crawl or fly, be they great, be they least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of man, in love and in thought, to give and understand.

New Classes for Infants and Toddlers this Fall

Now Enrolling for September! Meadowbrook Waldorf School has expanded its Meadowlark Parent-Child offerings with new classes.

Parent Infant New ClassNew Class! Parent Infant Program
(Birth to 9 months)
Beginning in September 2014, our doors are opening even wider with the launch of the Parent and Infant Program. For infants and their caregivers, this program provides an opportunity to find and give support during one of the most joyous, exhausting and overwhelming times of parenthood.

Click Here for Parent-Infant Registration Information

New Class Forest PreschoolNew Class! Acorns: An Outdoor Parent Child Program (3-4 years)
Get a taste of the “forest nursery” concept popular in Europe and recently profiled in the Providence Journal. Acorns is an outdoor parent child program for 3-4 year olds and their caregiver. Spend time exploring our beautiful forest and meadows at a child’s pace. Share story, song and snack outdoors as your child is allowed to play freely and discover our world.
Click Here for Acorns Parent-Child Registration Information

New Class! Full Semester Toddler Class (2-3 years)
This year, our popular toddler class is expanding from 6 to 12 weeks. Designed for the older toddler, this class is for 2 and 3 year olds and their caregivers. Explore the joys and challenges of raising your child in a supportive and nurturing environment. Caregivers and children share a lovely morning of play, snack and circle time.

Click Here for Full Semester Toddler Registration Information

Mixed Age Toddler Class (9 months-3 years)
Our popular toddler class has returned. Perfect for the new walker to the older toddler, and their caregiver. In this six week class you can explore the joys and challenges of raising your child in a supportive and nurturing environment. Caregivers and children share a lovely morning of play, snack and circle time. Siblings are welcome.

Click Here for Mixed Age Toddler Registration Information

Why Pre-School is Important

Joan Almon is the founding director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood and an international consultant on early childhood education. She is also a former co-chair of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.

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Creativity, curiosity, play, and problem-solving are all intertwined in early childhood. Social negotiation is also frequently part of the mix. In this article Joan Almon explains how play-based education supports the healthy cognitive, social-emotional and physical development of children, preparing them for the 21st century workplace where creativity is highly valued. Click the link below for the full article.

Let Them Play by Joan Almon

Time for Tea

Sarah Wiberg leads the Meadowlark Parent Child class. Here she shares her thoughts on taking time to reflect.

Create moments of inner peace, distinguish the essential from the inessential.                               ~ Rudolph Steiner

I recently came across a pile of tea cups that I had collected over the summer. My intention was for us to have tea during the Meadowlark Parent-Child classes. The idea seemed like a perfect way to encourage what I hope for the class; a calm, quiet, relaxing environment for both the parent and child.  Isn’t it funny how our best intentions can get sidetracked? It reminded me of a comment a good friend said to me, “Should I even offer you a cup of tea, because you never drink it.” And she was right. Every time she made me a cup of tea I never sat long enough to enjoy it. I would easily get distracted and end up with a cup of cold tea. I could blame that on my children but I think I was that way long before them.

It is my very active practice now to sit long enough to enjoy what I have before me; a meal, a game with my children, a book, and a cup of tea. It is too easy to become distracted by the list of chores or commitments that need to be accomplished for the day. I have a picture in my head of who I want to be and that person recognizes the gift of a quiet mind.

For the Meadowlark class I picture a quiet, peaceful room where parents are able to sit, observe, reflect and feel the joy of their child. This peaceful place is possible if we practice the art of being quiet in multiple ways. If we are quiet in our thoughts and bodies our children will respond, their play reflects the environment that they are in. If we are easily distracted, they will be too. If we are calm with focused intentions then our children will feel peaceful and focused too. This brings about purposeful play where children can develop their own capacities such as being able to follow through with an idea.

This class is also a time when we can talk as adults. We may not want our children to overhear these conversations so we can try to be mindful and connect during outside playtime where our voices are not enclosed by the room. Being able to talk freely and share our daily joys and struggles helps us move out peacefully into the rest of our day.

Let’s see if we can get our lives to a place where we can all have a cup of tea … and finish it!