October! One of my favorite months of the year! Here in the States we are gearing up for cooler weather, the leaves on the trees changing colors and crunching under our feet, and preparations for Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are underway!
How will you celebrate this month in your homeschool?
One thing to consider is that this is the time to think about bringing “the light” inside as the days grow longer, darker and colder. “Jack O’ Lanterns” and other kinds of lanterns are popular this time of year, as are crafts and cooking and baking surrounding the Fall Harvest.
Focusing on what the animals and plants are doing this time of year in song, verse and story is natural, and to include the role of those little beings, the gnomes and the dwarves, who help carry lanterns and bring the little animals to Mother Earth. There are also many wonderful opportunities to tell stories about the leaves changing and falling off the trees and the seeds going to sleep for Winter.
There is an interesting article entitled, “A Children’s Halloween” by Patrice Keats in the pink paperback book, “An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten” in which she discusses the approach in her classroom to Hallow’s Eve. She writes in this article,
“I wondered for a long time if it was even appropriate to recognize the festival, as the age of kindergarten demands the acknowledgement of goodness, security and protection. To dress up, one changes one’s identity. Young children, who are striving towards their own identity, need to seek the identity of those that are worthy of imitation. To dress up in the costume and mask of the very ones that are evil or destructive to childhood such as Ninja Turtles and He-man seemed contrary to our very purpose in the kindergarten.”
She goes on to write how she set up a successful fall festival for Halloween.
Here is a link to a Waldorf newsletter from 1978 describing a Halloween festival of lantern lighting and the sharing of harvest foods: (you will have to scroll down): http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Clearing%20House/Spring%201978b.pdf
Perhaps this will spark some ideas for your own festivities!
All Saints Day used to be an opportunity to honor saintly people and to look forward to the upcoming festivals of saints such as Martinmas on November 11 and Saint Nicholas on December 6th.
Then, on November 2, All Souls Day, was an opportunity to remember dead family members and friends. People would pray to those who had passed on to ask for blessings. Usually food was left out overnight for the visiting spirits of this time ( soul cakes are traditional!).
Happy planning, and many blessings to you all.