I went to a, let's say "different", sort of school in my grade school years. It was called The Waldorf International School. Waldorf Schools around the world are based on a creative education developed by Rudolph Steiner and rooted in Anthroposophical ideas. I think it's such a crucial point in a child's life to nurture natural creativity and individual development that this type of education couldn't be more fitting. We learned such a broad spectrum of things and in so many different ways.
We learned about Pythagoras by doing math, acting in a play, and reading. We learned botany by doing field work and making our own books. We celebrated May Day with a May pole dance and Advent with a spiral wreath ceremony which I remember fondly every year and wish my friends didn't think I was bonkers for suggesting we do our own.
Advent today is much more associated with Christianity, marking the beginning of the Christmas season and Church year. But Advent has also signified the days before the winter solstice and the representation of life and light in the dark times of winter. This is the way it, and all festivals, are celebrated in Waldorf. They are not taught, but offered in ways that allows children to assign their own significance. For this reason, there is a nature table on which children progressively add more "life" - rocks, plants, etc. to the Advent wreath. The Advent spiral, made of evergreen, represents the kingdoms (animal, plant) of the earth. Children walk around it, lighting a candle from the center and leaving it on their way out, creating light in preparation for the winter.
In keeping with craftiness and the holiday spirit, I made an Advent calendar, slightly more light-hearded and silly as the mister can only tolerate so much hippyness from me. We'll see if I can sneak in a wreath. But this one hangs at our entrance and there is a little activity for each day. All sorts of things from drinking hot buttered rum to advice from favorite poets.
See the easy tutorial after the jump
Advent calendar tutorial
- Square paper
- Number stamps, stickers, or a marker
- Hot glue
- Things to put in pockets - strips of paper, candy, etc.
1. Fold paper diagonally
2. Crease top edge on one side to bottom edge. Unfold.
3. Fold one corner in along creased line.
4. Do the same with the opposite corner.
5. Fold top corner (that you previously creased) down over crossed corners.
6. Tuck the point under the edges.
Winter Solstice is on the 21st this year, make as many as you need!
Finally, I stamped them to number them but you can put stickers or just write on them. Then I hot glued them all to a string and put slips of paper with activities and quotes inside for each day. You can also display them on a board.
Hope this made sense! Go play!