LIFE AT ASHWOOD is enlivened by our festivals, celebrations, assemblies and performances held throughout the year. Many of these events are open to the public. Refer to the School Calendar for dates and times.
The Rose Ceremony
On the first day of Grade School, the entire school community gathers to greet children, teachers, and parents and to welcome the new First Graders. Eighth Grade “buddies” present a rose to each new First Grader, and teachers offer a wish for the year, while the First Grade teacher shares a story with the new class. The event is followed by a picnic where parents linger to greet old friends and welcome new families.
Beginning a few weeks into the school year, the grade school gathers in the community room (lower level of the grade school building) on most Friday mornings at 8:40 a.m. for a brief assembly. Typically one class will offer a presentation of some of its current artistic and circle work, or the classes may celebrate a seasonal festival. The early childhood classes are invited to attend. On days when no assembly is planned, the entire grade school gathers for all-school games on the lawn.
Each year, in advance of All Hallows’ Eve Walk, children in the kindergarten and grade school carve pumpkins as a gift to the school.
Michaelmas Pageant & All-School Hike
The European festival of Michaelmas celebrates the harvest, human courage, and the triumph of light over darkness. Grades Two and Eight participate in a pageant that tells the story of St. George and the Dragon. Two members of the Eighth Grade class are chosen to portray Michael and St. George; endowed with heavenly strength and light, Michael and St. George subdue the mighty dragon for the good of all. After the pageant there are challenge games and the annual tug-of-peace. In the afternoon, the entire school hikes to the top of Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park.
This is an imaginative, protected alternative to traditional trick-or-treat activities. For one magical evening, the woods surrounding Ashwood Waldorf School are transformed into a place of enchantment. Costumed children take a guided walk lit only by friendly jack-o-lanterns, discovering tableaux from fairy and folk tales around each twist and turn in the path. Many families return year after year to enjoy this magical night. Check our calendar for date and time.
Lantern Walk for Early Childhood and Grades 1-3
November 11 is Martinmas, a festival celebrated in honor of St. Martin, a Roman soldier who lived in the 4th century. St. Martin cut his cloak in two to share with a a poor, cold beggar. He brought warmth and light into human darkness by his various deeds of kindness. November 11 is also the first day of winter in the old pagan calendar.
This festival is celebrated at a time of year when the darkness of the year is growing stronger. In Waldorf schools in the Northern Hemisphere, we have a “Lantern Walk” in which, using our handmade vessels, we gather the last rays of summer’s sun to light our way toward the darkness of winter, thus giving us strength and courage. It also forms a pathway through the cycle of the year when light will return again, as will be expressed in our Garden Of Light later in November.
Winter Spiral of Light
The Winter Spiral of Light is a tradition celebrated in Waldorf schools around the world. The theme is nonsectarian and embraces all beliefs; we honor simply the light that each of us brings to the world, particularly when we share that light with others. We especially need this as the days grow shorter and the light wanes earlier and earlier each day.
Participants quietly enter a darkened room. As soft music plays, each receives an apple “candleholder” bearing a taper. A large spiral of evergreens waits on the floor, adorned with golden stars. In the center of the spiral a tree stump supports a lighted candle.
Each person walks, one by one, from the beginning of the spiral into the center and lights their candle from the central flame, then turns and walks back, setting their candle down on a golden star along the way.
One by one, each small flame lights up the whole room. When everyone has walked, they leave the room silently to bask in the inner image of the glowing spiral as they wait in the foyer of the early-childhood center for the delivery of their candleholders, which all are invited to take home.
Winter and Spring Assemblies
Twice a year, just before December break and at the end of the school year, the Ashwood community gathers at the Camden Opera House. Each grade school class presents a sampling of its recent endeavors in the performing arts. There is music, dance, poetry, skits, and always a few surprises!
Middle School Play Performance
Each year, Ashwood’s Middle School puts on a major production, alternating between a musical and a Shakespearean play. The performance takes place off campus.
Eighth Grade Projects Night
Eighth Graders are required to take on a major creative project as part of their last year at Ashwood. The goal is threefold: to find something that inspires them, to learn about it, and then to create something under the guidance of a mentor who is a master in their chosen field. Students are also required to document their progress in writing and to present their work to the community at the end of the year. Learn more about Eighth Grade Projects.
We throw the doors open wide. Current families and visitors alike enjoy homemade pancakes, visits the the sugar shack, and hands-on activities for all ages, including math games, circus arts, ribbon stick making, and sand painting. Plus: Our annual sing-along flash mob.
Welcome in the season with traditional fun for the whole family. May pole dancing, music, willow-crown making, face painting, and games for all ages.