Yesterday we said our final goodbye to the Kindergarten years with two very special ceremonies. What an emotional day it was! As a family we have been part of the Early Years at our school for nearly eight years ( starting with the Parent and Child group) and I will undoubtedly miss it. Both my daughters have cherished their time in our Steiner (Waldorf) Kindergarten and both never wanted the time to end. It is so wonderful that they have spent the first seven years of their lives in such a warm, loving, nurturing environment, free of any pressures: it is a gift indeed in today’s competitive world.
My youngest daughter is quite immature emotionally, so she was encouraged to spend an extra year in Kindergarten and I am so glad she did: there has been a natural progression and in the last months, since she turned seven, I have noticed signs that she is ready to start her school journey. A Steiner ( Waldorf ) school teacher has a profound knowledge of each child and their needs are considered deeply on all levels.
As in all the Waldorf festivals , the emphasis in these end of term ceremonies is nourishing the soul, making special memories and embracing all that is good and pure. There is so much attention to detail and so much care.
The day started with a family gathering in our Kindergarten. The little table in the middle was beautifully and thoughtfully decorated with a peach gauzy cloth on top of red silk and an abundance of roses encircled the table. On the table were four special treasure boxes with golden paper discs on them ( one for each of the four children leaving Kindergarten for the main school this year: we call them Class 1 risers) and there were also several small boxes for the younger children containing a crystal wrapped in some coloured sheepswool. The children were all dressed in their finest clothes to reflect the sense of occasion.
The children were sat quietly in a circle around the table when the parents were asked to enter the room. Our Kindergarten teacher welcomed us and informed us that this was a special day for the four children leaving Kindergarten. She then proceeded to tell this wonderful story. The children sat in silence taking it all in; the older children knowing that their moment had come and the younger children knowing that one day it would be their turn too.
After the story, the children were given their special gifts. The older children had seen these treasure boxes being presented over the years and were eagerly anticipating having one all to themselves. They all looked so very proud and quite awestruck by the occasion. In the treasure box under the golden ‘sun’ was a key on a peach ribbon; their very own key 🙂
The older children have been making hobby horses this past half term. In six short weeks they each made one of these beautiful specimens! My daughter C’s is called Sparkle.
Later on that afternoon, another special ceremony was held for all the children who will be going up to Class 1 in September ( there are four Kindergartens in our school). It is called the Rosebud ceremony and was held in our school hall.
We all sat in a large circle; parents behind their children (and siblings were included too or other family members). Several vases of long stemmed pink roses were dotted around a simple but beautifully decorated table; one rose for each of the little rosebuds.
Poems were recited and the story of the Sand horse was told and finally the teachers sang the most beautiful and poignant song as they presented a rose to each child. This song says it all. Needless to say we were all very moved:
The rose buds now have opened
We’ve watched as each one blooms
With the guidance of the sun,
The stars, the earth and moon
Now on the earth we see them
Their scent fills the air
We’ll watch them now enfold
Grow strong and bright and fair
After the ceremony, the parents were asked to wait outside in the courtyard for their children to come riding out on their new hobby horse friends. Both my children are really shy in public so didn’t manage it really. I rescued C as it was just too big an occasion for her, she came out crying, but most of the children galloped to their parents with glee. She soon recovered and here she is with Sparkle.
And once again with her rose and treasure box
I feel so fortunate that my children have had this wonderful experience. It is so special and this is how memories are made.
C has been doing a lot of riding around the garden on Sparkle since then.
And here Sparkle is with her new friend Autumn, who my elder daughter made when she left Kindergarten three years ago. C set up a little feeding station for them in the garden.
Such special memories. I would recommend the Early Years of Steiner (Waldorf) education to anyone who would like to give their child a wholesome, gentle start to their journey away from home.