Today was C’s last birthday celebration in Kindergarten and it was an emotional morning for me. We have been privileged to attend eight of these very special ceremonies since my eldest daughter started playgroup.
A Waldorf Kindergarten birthday celebration is so very nourishing. It is like a warm embrace for the child and his/her parents.
In our Kindergarten, the children all sit in a circle of chairs and in the centre is a beautifully decorated small table with a silk cloth on it, some flowers, a candle, some shells, a crystal or two and any other natural decorations that the teacher deems beautiful.
The birthday child is dressed in a beautiful gauzy little cape and sits on a special chair next to or between his/her parents. A candle is lit by the birthday child and a hush descends as the Rainbow Bridge Birthday story is told. I imagine the story varies quite a bit between Kindergarten teachers, but this is the version we heard and loved today:
Once upon a time in a land far yet near, there lived a heavenly child. She worked in the house of the Sun and she worked in the house of the Moon and she worked in the house of all the Stars.
One day when the child was playing with her friends, she looked down just as the clouds had parted and she saw far far below a beautiful, round jewel shining in the sky. So she went to her guardian angel and told her angel what she had seen. “You have seen the earth” said the angel and a longing stirred within the child. “May I go down there?” asked the child. “Your wish shall be granted but before you go, you may take some gifts with you”.
Together they journeyed to the house of the Sun and the Sun greeted the child and her angel and gave the child the gift of warm sunlight, to light her on her path. A little while later, they travelled together to the house of the Moon and the Moon welcomed them both and gave the child a gift of colours to help her on her journey over the rainbow bridge.
One night, as the heavenly child was sleeping, she dreamed a wonderful dream. She dreamt that she was walking upon the earth amongst the trees and the flowers. There were animals and children; earthly children. As she was walking in the dream, she met a woman and a man and the child knew that she wanted to be with them, so she said to them: ” May I be in your family?” and the woman smiled with such a warm and welcoming smile and the man answered from his heart “Yes”.
When the child told her angel about the dream, the angel replied: “Now you are ready and I shall accompany you on your way”.
And so they travelled together once more, through the lands of dream and over the rainbow bridge and down a spiral staircase until they reached a gate. The child felt a little anxious about leaving her wonderful heavenly home, but with courage in her heart and her angel standing right beside, she went throughout he gate and a little baby was born upon the earth.
She opened her eyes and saw the woman and man from her dream. ” Our little baby” they said. ” We shall name him/her….” And so children … years ago … was born upon the earth”.
Blessings on the angel who led you to earth.
Loving your dear mother who gave you birth.
Oh, that story never ceases to bring tears to my eyes! Thinking of our precious baby choosing us to be her parents. I remember recognising her right from the start, so familiar, yet unknown to us. Our baby angel. Oh dear, more tears….
The birthday child is then presented with a gift, a booklet of the other children’s drawings and a beautiful card. After opening the gift, we looked through all the children’s pictures in turn, showing them around for the other children to admire. The children are so supportive of each other’s efforts, it really is touching.
C received a little golden candle snuffer that she used to put out the birthday candle at the end of the ceremony and a beautiful card with horses on it because she loves them so.
It was a truly magical morning and C felt so special and treasured by her teacher and friends in Kindergarten.
I am so grateful to Steiner (Waldorf) education for these special moments. The whole of the Early Years is so nurturing, gentle and beautiful. I can’t imagine anywhere better for the incarnating child.