THE FESTIVAL OF SUMMER

The end of a year; the end of a cycle; moving out; moving up; dispersal.

Heat produces dispersal so it’s fitting that as we head towards the summer solstice, we acknowledge the leaving of our school home of the last six and a half years; the dispersal of our Class 7s into the world of high school and the moving on of other children to different schools, towns, countries.

Breathe in, breathe out,

This – we do,

As the earth and the universe

Are breathing – too.

The first breathing out of summer relaxation took the form of a joyful afternoon of athletics on Wednesday 14thNovember. Long jump, relays, sprints, cross country, parents sitting under the trees, Greg and Simrah’s pop up coffee shop in the old stable. The delight of these events of congenial competition might best be summed up by the reaction of 2 Class Ones, neither blessed with Olympic bodies, both had suffered tearful bouts of doubt and fear the night before but on the day? Couldn’t keep away and took part in every race, beaming.

Craft always features high on our festival activities and summer colours shone through. Class 4s, inspired by their year’s theme of Norse myths, produced a startling Viking long ship from a watermelon!

Thursday 22ndNovember was the Festival Assembly for the primary school in the morning. Clever and eager crafting fingers decorated the barn in no time at all with pine branches, silver leaf and bougainvillea, and hung yellow, red and blue cloth to beautify this once upon a time garage turned hall. Several parents joined children and teachers for singing, for the telling of a light-hearted sunny summer story of The Three Sillies, and a chance to say farewell to departing children.

Then the school breathed out – to Central Beach for sun and games. Gesina, new to Waldorf teaching this year, commented on how competently the children managed themselves. Guidelines were given once at school and once at the beach – and followed without hassle.

Thursday evening saw the Playgroup and Kindergarten children come to the barn for their Festival of Walking the Spiral. Each child is given an unlit candle in an apple to take along the spiral path of pine needles. He must then light his candle from the lit candle in the centre, turn round, find a gold star on the ground, place it there and follow the spiral out again. It is a quiet, reverent festival and profound to witness each year as some children sail through, some are too scared to try alone, some take short cuts and others suddenly find the courage having cried in fear the year before.

Then on Friday 23rdcame the leave taking of eight Class 7s. A reminder of the summer’s freedoms and the dangers of too much of them came through the story of Daedalus and Icarus his son, who failed to heed his warning not to fly too close to the sun, All the classes sang or spoke a gift for their ‘elders’, watched by the parents of these graduates. They in turn sang for the others, Gift gave a speech of thanks, and they finished with a short Eurythmy exercise with copper rods, spoken to a poem that ends “I in me”. To be securely housed in themselves in the midst of their summer freedoms is the wish we would have for each one.