The Spirit of Michaelmas Can Be Found in the 8th Grade Pewter Guild

In the spirit of Michaelmas, our inspired handwork and practical arts teacher Kate Camiletti guided the 8th grade students through a process that transforms soapstone to pewter. The students learned to gauge concave forms that will hold the liquified pewter, which cools to form mirror convex formsin the molds created by hand.

The students have studied Medieval and Renaissance guilds and their craftsmanship in grades six and seven, where the use of pewter was common on farms and in great houses. The students enjoyed this hands-on, multi-sensory workshop where traditional artisan techniques awaken the capacity for three-dimensional thinking. read more (more photos, too!)

The spirit of Michaelmas in the Waldorf school is often represented by the blacksmith transforming stiff, cold iron to molten, curving, flowing forms in the traditions of Medieval craftsmanship. As we move from the glories of golden summer toward the harvesting of summer's fruit, our traditional festival of Michaelmas celebrates this very process. Here we see the forging, transformative power of imagination and inspired learning that is possible in a community of artisan-teachers, students and parents re-inventing a new art of learning.

~ Linda Weyerts, Pedagogical Chair

Join Us for Michaelmas, Our Fall Festival

On Saturday, October 3, the Orchard Valley Main Campus will be filled with the wonderful fall spirit of our Michaelmas festival. All families and friends of the Child’s Garden and Main Campus programs are warmly invited to attend. This year’s event will be held from 1 to 3pm.

Michaelmas is an ancient festival that dates back to the sixth century and approximates the autumnal equinox. Legends describe St. Michael facing and taming a dragon. The motif of a conqueror of the dragon is also echoed in stories of Apollo and the serpent, Krishna and thedemons, and St. George and the dragon. It is a festival that celebrates deeds of strength and courage, of facing “dragons” both external and internal. Waldorf schools celebrate Michaelmas as a harvest festival: a time of celebration, a time of seeking balance within oneself, between light and darkness, and a time to embrace the challenges which we meet in life.

This year’s festival will include a pageant by the grade school children, singing, games, challenges, and seasonal craft activities. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch!

Rose Ceremony: Reflections from a New First Grade Parent

When love comes to me and says
What do you know, I say this girl, this boy.
-Sharon Olds

The Rose Ceremony was a grand celebration of the first day of school and the welcoming of the new first grade class. As the Orchard Valley community came together in love and kinship, we reveled in the remarkability of each new milestone, of each shining face. As the first graders were gathered by their teacher, the circle swelled, parents collectively exhaled, shed tears, and smiled as the children took that first step from their days of early childhood onto the next big leg of their journey. I am most struck by how cyclical our paths are, how each year we will gather back here like a cadence. Each child having once been ushered into the school community in just this same way, will move along the circle to one day, too, hand out a rose, poised and confident. Among the dew and goldenrod we all felt this. We will feel it again.

It is impossible to not be sentimental on days like this. Braiding my daughter's hair before her first school day in the grades building like so many mothers (and fathers!) before me, I couldn't help but think how lucky we all are to be mired in goodness. As parents we are constantly in awe of our children's capacity for growth. We watch them walk away from us, sifting through the early morning fog with ever-lengthening limbs, able and ready for this and all the rest to come. 

~ Aja Jennings, mother of Miette in 1st grade, Atlas in Kindergarten, and baby Tillie