Saturday, December 1, 2018

ECE Planning for December

There are sooo many wonderful holidays to celebrate in December!!!

Every family and every homeschool group and every school has some tough decisions to make this time of year as to what to celebrate. It's important not to do to much with young children, so that the specialness of each celebration has time to be felt. Not everything can be done every year.

The Winter holidays from around the world share common themes of love and light, warmth and giving, community and celebration, so I feel that there are always unifying threads to be found among the traditions we choose.

This year the early childhood program meets on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. St. Nicholas Day falls on Thursday, December 6th. Santa Lucia Day falls on Thursday, December 12th. Our final week in December we will have stories from the Advent/Christmas tradition. Here is a list of resources I've found which I like, as I compile my thoughts and choose stories, songs, recipes, and activities for our busy December month.

Please realize that this is not a to-do list... that would be way too much... I'm just listing things I like and then will make final decisions from there. Listing is part of my planning process! Hopefully having these be live links will be helpful to others who are going through the exact same planning process this weekend! I'll post at the end of each week what we actually do.

I appreciate Carrie's blog, The Parenting Passageway: Peaceful Parenting for a Hectic World. A veteran Waldorf homeschooling mom, she has taken multiple children through to high school and has lots of curriculum planning ideas and tips to share. She recently put together a post Making the Holidays Bright! on what they are doing for December in her family, focusing on the holidays of light and including links to ideas for St. Nicholas and Santa Lucia.

The Parenting Passageway blog posts 2018:

All Year Round is also an excellent resource and one I highly recommend, particularly for background information on holidays and how they have been celebrated over time and in different countries. Here are the Winter holidays:

    The seasonal table in winter, pages 169-171
    Advent, pages 171 - 172
    St. Barbara's Day, page 190
    The gift bringer, pages 190-191
    St. Nicholas Day, pages 191-192
    Christmas Eve (Adam and Eve Day), pages 217-218
    The Christmas tree, page 218
    Father Christmas and Santa Claus, pages 219-220
    The twelve days of Christmas, pages 223-226
    St. Stephen's Day, pages 227-228
    New Year's Eve (Hogmanay), pages 230-231
    Twelfth Night / Ephiphany / Three Kings' Day, pages 235-237
    Plough Monday, page 244

Well, I was glad to finally discover what Hogmanay is, since there's a song in Candy Verney's The Singing Year (track 90, "Today is Hogmanay") which I've never understood! Festivals Family and Food: Guide to Seasonal Celebration by Diana Carey and Judy Large is also a fantastic book for background historical information, traditional crafts and activities, and lots of recipes!

Feast Day of St. Nicholas - December 6

Feast Day of Ste. Lucy - December 13
celebrates the life of Ste. Lucy and light for the longest night of the year (under the old Gregorian calendar this was the Winter Solstice)

The Four Weeks of Advent

    "Mary's star path" nativity scene instructions, pages 174-176
    Advent spiral activity for a group of children, pages 188-189
    suggestions for treats for the birds, pages 207-208
    from All Year Round by Ann Druitt et al.

    "The Naughty Little Angel" story, page 10
    from Christmas Tales for Young Children by Suzanne Down

    "Advent Circle" movement journey, page 45
    from Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures: Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Approach for Early Childhood, vol. 1 by Nancy Blanning and Laurie Clark

    "Hark, Children" song for the end of the movement journey, above
    from Let Us Form a Ring CD, volume 1, track 23

    Christmas present ideas, for the children to make for their families:
    Pine Cone Weaving ornaments and/or wet felted soaps

    Advent cookie recipes, pages 122-126
    gifts for children from me: paper spirals and walnuts, page 134
    "Star Mother's Youngest Child" story, page 141
    from Festivals Family and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large

    "Thumbprint Oatmeal Cookies" recipe for the Advent Spiral, page 45
    shared by The Waldorf School of Baltimore, MD
    from The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book

    "Advent" song, page 103, track 88A
    from The Singing Year by Candy Verney

    "Holy Nights" story, page 93
    from Tell Me a Story edited by Louise deForest

    Advent Spiral family celebration - Thursday, Dec 20 - 5 pm

    "The Legend of the Christmas Rose"

    regular cicle time with families? traditional Waldorf Advent verse? songs? story? walking a spiral of greenery in the field? dinner as a potluck? the giving of Christmas presents?

    red beeswax candles from Nova Natural in apple candleholders?

    jingle bells and coconut shell clackers for "Jingle Bells" carol?

    for second grade Saints block:
    Mary chapter "Thus the temple became her home..."
    Brigid chapter "Have you forgotten me, Bride?"
    from Stories of the Saints by Siegwart Knijpenga

In my own family, we purchased and put up our Christmas tree from a local nursery on Farm Day and we are slowly decorating it together. Tonight we went to my town's Lights Fantastic Parade and enjoyed seeing all the lights! I'm also planning on having us go to see the decorations at the Harrison-Bruce Historical Village tomorrow, December 2nd, and sing Christmas carols at our church on December 20th.

Our family exchanges all of our gifts on St. Nicholas Day, so for us it's a rush at the beginning of December to get ready, but then we have the rest of the month to relax and enjoy celebrations in the wider community. We do a wrapped "Advent calendar" of winter and holiday books. This isn't 24 books. We do it on a smaller scale just to count down to St. Nicholas Day. This year we will also create Mary's path of stars as part of our needle-felted nativity scene and that will count down to the actual Christmas Day. We also have an ornament Advent calendar of 24 pockets, with a white crochet snowflake in each. The snowflakes will be hung on the Christmas tree as we count down.

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Shelby said...

Great list! There truly is so much that can be done. It's hard to pick!

Renee said...

Thanks! This morning I found that the Country of Sweden posted a video on Youtube called "Swedish Lucia for Dummies." It has some good information and great pictures of what the procession looks like.