Seasonal Celebrations "Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, we journey through them all."
The seasons carry us, embrace us in each one's particular hue of natural rhythm. With each seasonal event, we take time to prepare and to anticipate. Then the day of celebration brings nourishment for soul and body creating a deeper relationship to that time of the year as well as an increased sense of community.
Many of the following seasonal events are celebrated with the AWA community and friends while others occur with the preschool children at Prairie Flower Children's Center. The calendar has details of the times and locations of these events.
Harvest Day "Here's an apple ripe and sweet. That's the apple I will eat."
By Harvest Day the children have harvested food and herbs from the garden. Elderberries and walnuts have been picked and saved for future dyeing projects. Often there is a community excursion to the Berry Patch to pick apples or a potluck at the school or a play that brings attention and gratitude to the wonder of the gifts of nature. Halloween "Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern, you are such a pretty sight."
At Prairie Flower, we think carefully about each festival and its effect on children. The commercialism that has over-taken this ancient holiday sometimes brings very strong images for young children who have no understanding or barriers to keep from absorbing what they see.
Halloween "Jack-o-Lantern, Jack-o-Lantern, you are such a pretty sight"
On Halloween, we invite children and their families in simple homemade costumes to the school for a 'Journey Through the Countryside' in which each child visits a series of stations and completes several playful tasks. Everyone then proceeds to the warm, softly lit interior for traditional games, story, treats and cider.
Lantern Walk "Glimmer lantern, glimmer, little stars a shimmer."
As our outer light decreases, we kindle our inner light. Each November we make lanterns, and with our families and friends venture into the darkness on a wide path in the woods bringing our light into the night. After a story and songs comes the food--popcorn, hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows are enjoyed by old and young alike while the moon looks down at the wonder of it all.
Winter Spiral "I carry my light in the darkening night, that we may behold that wondrous sight."
As December draws us into quiet reflection on the meaning of the season within our own tradition, children and families gather to participate in a meditative evening experience. Each child may choose to walk slowly into a spiral pathway of evergreen branches and pinecones. As they arrive in the center a special person who lights a candle in a jar for the journeyer greets them solemnly. As they exit the spiral each candle is placed somewhere along the edge of the pathway--the spiral grows more beautiful as each candle is added just as each person's individuality brings light and beauty to the whole of our community. Quietly watching this symbolic quest, it is the adults' wish that each child's very own special talents and qualities will, with our nurturing and love, unfold.
Spring "Spring is coming, Spring is coming, birdies build your nest"
The hidden nature of winter has given birth to the outrageous blossoming of spring. It is a time to look closely and discover the very first expressions of this promise. For children to dye eggs, to decorate the room with sprouting Spring Gardens, and to search for those hidden treasures offers each child a direct and deep contact with the wondrous rebirth of the season of spring.
May Fest "Here come the children dancing on the green, with pretty garlands woven for the Queen"
Our community of families gathers each year with garlands, ribbons, dancing and singing around the May pole-- baby animals, a potluck, a beautiful May Cake, games, storytelling all part of the way to celebrate the warmth of sun and warm winds and to show our gratitude for the season and its gifts.
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