A Winter Festival Celebrating Community, by Rahima Dancy


At Rainbow Bridge we always scheduled our “Winter Festival” on the last day before winter break.  We would invite all the parents to come from 11:30-12:30 and take their children home with them—no afternoon care that day because it’s so hard for children to have parents come and go without taking them home.  Because December is COLD in Colorado, this festival required careful planning to fit everyone inside! Here’s how we did it.

We kept everything to a whisper to avoid the chaos and excitement of arrivals, and asked parents in advance to come on time and quietly slip inside, where all the children were seated on the floor next to pillows for their parents.  Then we began with Christmas carols, Hanukah songs and other seasonal songs we had been singing, and went right into a puppet show.  I especially liked doing “The Snow Maiden” from Bronja Zahlingen’s book of puppet plays (available from WECAN) or “The Gingerbread Boy.”   If we were doing “The Gingerbread Boy,” then we would pass around cookies the children had made and everything would dissolve into socializing and eating.  We always cooked a big pot of lentil or “nine bean” soup for the parents who were on their lunch break; the children had already eaten hot grain and veggies at 11:00, so they could safely go right to dessert.

In addition to making cookies, Faith and I loved to make stollen, a German cinnamon and raisin bread that we made in the shape of a wreath with the children. We also had hot cider in addition to the soup.

Simple, festive, and perhaps the only place the children would experience singing carols in community!



Rahima Dancy ran the Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program, a Representative LifeWays Center, for four years.  She is a member of the LifeWays Board of Directors, and the third edition of her book, You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, was released in bookstores the summer of 2012.  You can visit her website, Waldorf in the Home.