The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Waldorf Spiral walk

Since we are a charter school we seem to be finding that we have a large turnover of children....this results in the fact that many families have never been able to experience the spiral walk. a faculty we decided that the spiral walk should not end in 3rd grade like so many schools do (the spiral walk is usually provided for kindergarten through 3rd grade and then brought back again in high school...yet I can't find where Steiner said that this is the way it should be) but should be given to all the children at our school.
What are we looking for when doing a festival like this?
The spiral walk teaches reverence, compassion, and journeying on a path to find where you stand in the dark vast space of the universe. Don't you think every child and adult could benefit from this experience?!!!

We split up the spiral into 3 days. Each class walks alone....we don't have everyone walk together.
We also have the festival committee host the event and organize the whole process. Each class meets in their classroom (lit only with candles) while the families wait outside for a faculty member to bring them to the spiral garden room. The families take a vow of silence for the entire festival.
A part of me wants to share with you all the odd/ funny things that can go wrong with a spiral walk.....but I guess I will only do that if you all really want to know....

What to expect:
Families begin to arrive and immediately they feel the mood on the campus is one of quiet and reverence. Children scuffle towards their classroom muffling giggles of anticipation. Parents greet one another in hushed voices as they pull coats and shawls over themselves to keep in the warmth. The class teacher welcomes everyone and asks the children to take off their coats and hand them to their parents. Soon a faculty member arrives and walks the eager parents to a room lit with just a few candles. The center of the room holds a large spiral pathway edged with evergreen boughs, crystals, wooden animals , sea shells and stars. The mood of peace and anticipation fills the room.
Back in the classroom, the class teacher tells a story to set the mood for the children. Then the students start to sing and walk together across campus to the spiral garden and take their seats. The children shuffle around for few minutes, taking in the whole room. They smell the pine, they feel the darkness of the room and can barely make out the faces of their parents sitting across the way. One at a time each student is called up to take a candle held in an apple, then walk into the spiral and light their candle from the center light. After their candle is lit they walk out and place their candle upon a golden star. With each candle the room begins to brighten. After all the children have made their journey through the spiral, the class quietly stands and a sense of accomplishment fills the air as they leave the room.
Parents wait until all the students have left and then they are asked to retrieve their own child's apple from the spiral. Parents walk back in silence and join their children holding within them the memory of the evening.

Things to remember:
This is a very reverent festival. Please talk to your children about remaining quiet throughout the entire festival. We ask you to take the challenge for a vow of silence from the moment you enter the campus.

No cameras or camcorders. Please keep this beautiful picture as a memory.
Cell phones need to be turned off.
Due to fire hazard all children with long hair must have their hair pulled back into a pony tail.

The attire for the students is formal dress. No long dresses please because their dresses can catch on fire when passing the candles on the floor.
Please arrive on time as the doors will be locked to prevent interruption during the festival.

Small children are encouraged to join the childcare program in the kindergarten building so you are free to enjoy watching your child walk the spiral without distraction. Drinks and snacks will be available for these children. If your infant becomes fussy during the walk, please quietly exit the room.

After the festival is over, The child’s apple/candle may be brought home .

If you need to stay on campus between walks, please remain in the childcare room. To support the quiet atmosphere, the playground and classrooms are off limits during this festival.


Sarah said...

Helen was supposed to be the angel tonight but our spiral was snowed out. The older children walk a labyrinth tomorrow--the spiral is changed to involve a form where pairs of children must cross and meet in silence.

Castlequeen said...

Great practical advice. In NZ it is summer now and our Waldorf school doesn't do a spiral - although Kindergarten did a few years ago (at Christmas time). Did you cover the odd things in your post? I would be keen to hear. Blessings on the remainder of your Advent and Christmas.

Less is More said...

Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinner , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .