It was 37 degrees on the playground this morning and felt like a genuine Arizona almost-winter day. There were still a few hold-outs wearing shorts, and one child even had on a tank top. In general, most had jackets, leggings or pants. There were a few hats and one noted pair of gloves. It was definitely a shift in apparel for the upcoming transition from autumn to winter. Along with the outdoor changes, classrooms are filling up with all kinds of creatures, including walruses, an elephant, a peacock, lions, a boa constrictor, hippos, a zebra, a polar bear, a flamingo, and leopards.
Next week we’ll honor the official shift of seasons with our annual Celebration of the Winter Solstice. Last year we made a significant change in how we conducted our celebration, after decades of performing dances in a large indoor space, such as a gymnasium or auditorium. The pandemic kept us from holding an indoor performance in 2020, and last year we still weren’t comfortable gathering a large group of people indoors. During a meeting with our lead teachers, we decided we still wanted to do something, but not indoor dance performances. One teacher suggested a luminaria event, and quickly a new iteration of the Awakening Seed Celebration of the Winter Solstice was born. It was a huge success. A majority of the typical holiday stress for teachers was eliminated by not having a month of rehearsals, and it was a delightful experience to have our community gather in smaller groups to celebrate the solstice by candlelight. We’re planning a similar experience for this year.
On Wednesday night, beginning at 5:30 and going till 7:30 pm, we’ll set up a pathway lit by over 600 luminarias. Each class is making an art display of an animal based on the children’s book, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. As families walk along the illuminated path, they’ll see the artwork and hear sounds resembling the animals through a soundtrack made by Jay and the students. The pathway will lead to Gwen’s Castle, where a table will be set up for families to make a wish or say a blessing for someone who needs help right now, or has passed on from their lives. Additionally, small flags will be available on which to write a thought for the same person, or someone else. The flags will be hung in Gwen’s Castle along with last year’s collection. Flags will also be sent home on Monday for families to write on ahead of time and returned to school on Wednesday night.
We hope you can join us for this beautiful evening of honoring the winter solstice, the season, and our wonderful Seed community. Seed alumni families are invited, as well as friends and extended family.