My son, Gabriel, spent preschool, kindergarten and Grade One in the Waldorf School, a place I adored for its artistic approach to learning and its emphasis on protecting the innocent wonder of children for as long as possible.
Every Christmas, the school put on a Faire (November 23rd, this year). Preparations took months. Every family was involved in the planning and execution of the event. The school was closed the day before the Faire and when the children arrived the next day it was to a world transformed.
There was entertainment all day long in the Assembly Hall, where parents served up their home-made soups, sandwiches and treats. The gym held an assortment of artisans selling their wares. And there were activities for the children set up in all the classrooms.
The first order of the day was to buy a string of tickets and start visiting the different rooms. There were so many things to do: a Wishing Well, the Magic Cookie House (and, believe me, it was magical), the Story Garden, the Children’s Only Store where parents were parked at the door while kids went in to trade in a ticket or two for hand-crafted Christmas presents for their family, the Nature Garden, Candle Dipping (everyone’s favorite – the room smelled marvelous and you came away with a lovely–or lumpy–beeswax candle created with your own hands).
Simple, natural activities using simple, natural materials.
And one of the simplest was Apple Rings.
Take one apple.
Add a Lee Valley apple peeler.
Let children turn the crank (and there was always a lineup of children wanting to turn the crank because it is magical to be the one causing the peel to curl away so perfectly)
A beautiful, artistic (not to mention delicious) snack created by your own wee hands.
So this year, for the third annual Arts Festival here in our little town, I convinced my sons put on their entrepreneurial hats and provide the opportunity for the children of the area to create some simple magic.
I even offered to buy the peeler–something I meant to do all those years ago and never did get around to–and it was fun to see my 17 year old’s eyes light up as he removed it from its box and set about peeling his first-after-many-years apple.
Not so fun to see him shoulder his 14 year old brother out of the way in order to do it but–still–kind of fun to see how excited they both were to give it a go. If it engendered this much excitement in two teenage boys, it just might be a hit for the younger folk attending the Festival. And maybe a few of the older ones, too.
So, in honor of all our happy Waldorf memories, I present:
Title: Festival Apple
Medium: Quite simply, an apple.