Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rose Ceremony and First Grade

Today was a beautiful start to the school year. I've mentioned before in previous posts that in Waldorf schools, they place much pomp and circumstance around the start of first grade. It really gives the children a sense of importance, a strength of will.

But for me, it's not just about this first's really all of Waldorf education. It all just makes sense and is so beautiful. The Rose Ceremony started with the high schoolers singing a beautiful song. The lyrics were about looking upon the world in wonder, receiving it with love and courage...something along those lines. Umm..when was the last time you heard high schoolers singing any songs about wonderment for the world? Never would be my answer. It brought tears to my eyes.

Then the first grade class teacher came up to the podium and his first words were, "I am going to have to use my imagination right now and imagine that none of you guys are here, except for my first graders. I have a story to tell my first graders..." And then he proceeded to look directly at his first graders and told a story:

Once upon a time, there was a little girl and a little boy. They were standing in front of a door with their mom and their dad behind them. Their parents told them, "Behind this door lies an adventure and you can go any which way you decide. Just make sure you remember to ask questions along the way." And so they opened the door and walked into a garden. This garden was filled with roses of all different colors. The scent was so the corner of the garden, the children spotted an old man. Because they'd always been taught to greet people politely, they went up and said hello to the nice old man....And then they remembered that they were supposed to ask questions so the little girl asked, "Mr. Gardner, how did the roses get here?" And the old man replied, "Well, come over here little children and sit with me on this bench over here and I will tell you the story"
He goes on to tell the story of the roses...and then the boy asks, "How do they smell so nice?" And the gardner replies, "Oooh, well...when children play and run around and laugh, the spirits of the Earth gather up all their laughter and in the evening sprinkle it on the roses and that is what makes the roses smell so nice!"

I mean, is that the most beautiful story, or what? It's just the perfect story for the incoming first graders.

And then the first graders were paired with their 8th grader and their 12th grader. High school is at a different campus so it's nice that the 1st graders get their 8th grader that is their buddy on the same campus and then the pairing of the 12th grader is symbolic of what they have to look forward to. In that same way, the 1st grader, 8th grader and 12th graders' families eventually will also be connected and I love the community in that.

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