over in the meadow
where the school meets the sun
lives a dear teacher
and the children having fun
love, says the teacher
we love, they say as one,
so they work and learn and play
in the springtime sun
At East Bay Waldorf, the community of faculty, families, and friends gathered together for their May Day celebration on the magical knoll where the school meets the sun. The meadow at the heart of the school, where the children would play kickball during the week, was transformed into the May Queen's Royal Court.
With guitar in hand, a rosemary and oak branch crown on my head, and a levity of spirit in my heart, I participated in my first May Day with a Waldorf school, leading the second grade in a song, and joining other musicians in playing for the May pole dance. The concerted efforts of all the faculty and dedicated families are what brought joyfulness to the day. Blessed with sun and a gentle Bay breeze, the reverent revelry was picture perfect!
The May Queen sat on a raised portion of the meadow under an arch festooned with spring flowers and roses. Grades one through three offered folk songs, including some in German and Spanish. Class Four recited a verse. Class Five and Eight, under the direction of the eurythmy teacher, danced around the May pole to create intricate ribbon patterns against the blue sky. The orchestra teacher provided accompaniment with the strings students, some percussion, and my guitar strumming. A marionette play, crafts, and games rounded out the festivities. Class Eight also continued their fund raiser by offering strawberry shortcakes. Class Six helped with pizzas and other refreshments. The families brought picnic lunches, and enjoyed the day with children laughing and playing.
Being an honored part of the faculty until the end of the school year, I experienced and witnessed the striving of a dedicated staff to bring even just a couple of hours of May Faire joy to the community. The planning, meetings, practicing, preparing, phone calls - tasks that go mostly unnoticed and unrecognized - by the staff whose work life often seems like it is their whole life, somehow, day after day, will pull from a wellspring of their inner selves to enrich the lives of the children.
May Day is more than the symbolic celebration of the vitality of spring, it is the celebration of the life long commitment of continued growth and striving, and the strength of the educator's will forces.