This festival garden is for setting a scene, to create anticipation, to bring awareness to transformation and to celebrate in the joy that it brings.
So much in our lives today comes instantly whilst the unfolding of life in the natural world around us happens at its own pace. Tuning in and appreciating nature's pace has a calming and centring effect on our being, connecting us with our deep understanding that we too have a rhythm and perfect timing. Often within Waldorf education we choose to work with stories of birth and renewal, drawing upon pictures from the nature which surrounds us in our daily lives, rather than sharing the Christian story of the resurrection of Jesus.
Sometimes within a classroom, a small garden is created to lead the children from lent into Easter. It starts fairly bare and baron, but begins to transform as seeds swell and split apart and give up their existence to grow into new life. Often a simple representation of caterpillar undergoes a metamorphism into a butterfly.
A series of steps are taken across each week and by Easter Sunday, the garden can be filled with eggs, flowers, chicks, butterflies and an Easter Hare who is ready to greet the children on Easter morning.
Here we have used the Christian names for the days for ease of understanding
Palm Sunday (or there about) grass seed can be sown and each day across that week one of the small candles can be lit from the large candle and left to burn out.
Good Friday a caterpillar is wrapped in some silk and laid by the children in the grotto.
Easter Saturday the garden can be carefully watered (but please not that it will need to have been kept damp throughout for the grass seed to grow)
Easter Sunday when the children awake the caterpillar will have transformed into the most beautiful butterfly hanging in the tree, the Easter hare will have visited and left some eggs and the garden will be alive with chicks other butterflies. The grass will have grown and depending on the garden, families of sheep may be grazing or rabbits hiding amongst the tussocks. The buds on the branch may have opened and there could be little children crossing the bridge.
A hare rather than a bunny is talked about because, whilst rabbits live communal lives, the hare is a loner and creates transient abodes. He is said to be bold and courageous and his upright stance is characteristic. His long ears suggest a wide and intelligent interest in the world and in legend and folk-tale he is invested with the virtue of self-sacrifice. These attributes make him more suitable than the bunny to bring to world the message of new life.
This post was created by our Maple Class Teacher Em Barber. Many of these ideas came from the book All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling. Marije Rowling taught art at Canterbury Steiner School for many years.