Over the course of our school’s history, we have developed special days, celebrations, programs, and experiences that complement our academic work and build community. Here is a list of our standing traditions:
Family Volunteer Day (August) The unofficial kickoff to the new school year. Families and staff gather to repair, assemble, plant and get the grounds and building ready for the new school year.
Peace One Day (September 21) Our students join others around the world in a day established by the United Nations to promote peace education. The International Day of Peace, as it is officially known, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. Our children come together as a school and join staff in singing a song of peace, doing yoga together, and engaging in the creation of an artwork that symbolizes peace.
Eid-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr The former, known as the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, marks the end of the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. The latter marks the end of the fasting period known as Ramadan and is a time of reflection during which Muslims show gratitude to Allah and give alms to those in need. Depending on how these festivals fall during the school year, our children learn about them from special guests, feast on traditional foods from the Middle East, and elementary students sometimes visit the local mosque.
Dia de los Muertos (October) This Mexican festival, celebrating the lives of those who have passed, is common in many cultures this time of year. Our Spanish teacher organizes the annual feast and parade, which includes music, masks, marigolds and tacos. All families are invited to place a photo of a loved one at one of the tables in our classes that week.
Fall Harvest Day (October) A time for families and children to meet at a local farm to play, gather pumpkins, and share breakfast treats. This is a half day for staff and students.
Diwali (October/November) The annual celebration of the Hindu New Year. Special guests tell the story of how families around the world celebrate. During this festival of lights, debts are forgiven, homes are cleaned and decorated, new clothes are purchased, and blessings given to friends and family. It is traditional for children to receive gifts of money from their parents, given in beautiful envelopes. Families visit their temples and celebrate with relatives. Houses glitter with candles and lights, and then fireworks are set off at night. Our celebration includes music, dancing, food and lots of beautiful clothes and fabrics.
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Tu B’Shavat, Passover With the help of our Jewish families, we rotate celebrations each year to include at least two of these holidays. Food, stories, songs, and special family traditions are shared in each class to help our children appreciate these high holy days.
Thanksgiving Feast and Wagon Train In November, the focus will be on Native American cultures and Pilgrims in the Primary classes. Then on the last Friday before the holiday, families, staff, and friends of the school gather to walk together through a local town to take wagons full of donations to the local homeless shelter. Afterwards, we gather together at the starting point for a potluck Thanksgiving feast with music and Spanish performances by the students.
Christmas, St. Lucia Day, Las Posadas, etc. (December) The Primary classes take part in celebrating cultural traditions from around the world as part of the Christian observance of the birth of Jesus during the month of December. Music is a big part of our celebrations!
World Tour (Late January-April) The two Primary classes embark on an imaginary trip around the world that starts in January and ends in May. The classes visit each continent and study the culture, music, art, biomes, food, and language unique to each country they visit. During this time, family members and friends who have lived in or visited different countries are invited to share their experiences and the oldest children are our tour guides for the destinations.
Parent and Child Days (Throughout the year) A chance for parents to be the students and have the students be their teachers through one-on-one lessons.
Elementary School Dance (May) A celebratory evening of food and dance that is planned by the oldest students at the end of the school year.
Book Swap Students and parents can bring books to the event and swap just before the end of the school year so as to insure good summer reading. The Full Day Primary organizes and oversees the swap.
Parenting Class (spring) A five-session course for parents to learn about child development and Adlerian behavior philosophy. Parents learn strategies to cope with children’s behavior in a proactive and logical manner.