written by our Director of Curriculum, Donald Samson
There is a very sweet custom to come out of Scandinavia that Waldorf Schools have adopted as one of their December festivals of light. It is the celebration of Santa Lucia.
This celebration is hosted by the second grade. It is an opportunity to bring a bit of joy and magic to these dark, cold days as we count down to Christmas. It belongs to the second grade because Lucia falls into the list of ennobled, remarkable beings that the children study as part of their second grade curriculum. There is a flurry of activity as parents at home bake “star cookies” that they send to school on December 13 (or the closest school day to that date). The boys dress in blue tunics. All of the girls come to school dressed in white. The oldest second grader among the girls has been chosen to represent Santa Lucia. She wears a unique crown of lights (made in Sweden!). The children have practiced a special Santa Lucia song. They enter one classroom at a time, Lucia, her crown ablaze, goes to stand at the front of the room. Her attendants circle around her. While they sing, the boys, carrying baskets with cookies, walk among the desks delivering a tasty treat. Their visit is brief, and they are gone almost before the children have realized what is happening. When they go, the children are left with many impressions and a special treat for their snack. It is one of the many ways we support the children in multi-culturalism, and is a boost to help see us through the hard days of December.
We introduced this festival last year. This year, we were faced with a particular challenge: we have two second grade classes. The teachers agreed to split the classes to visit between them. However, Mrs. Kirk’s second grade had a further challenge: her oldest girl happens to be twins, Ari and Maya! The two girls agreed to share the honor, and divided the classes to visit between them. It is this spirit of problem-solving and sharing that underscores so much of what we do here at Juniper Ridge.