Life at the Waldorf School of San Diego is enhanced by a host of festivals, celebrations, performances and events held throughout the year to mark the passage of seasons and holidays, developmental milestones, as well as significant historical moments. Festival celebrations help create our relationship with time, nature and community. In addition to the community-wide festivals listed here, teachers celebrate other festivals in the classroom, including those connected to families in our community and different cultures being studied.
The school year begins and concludes with the Rose Ceremony, giving a “full circle” experience through the welcoming and farewell roses exchanged between the First and Twelfth Graders. The Rose Ceremony marks a significant moment in time for our incoming and graduating students. This reverent event is a reflection of the beauty, kindness, and care given to all students, each year, at WSSD
On September 29th, we celebrate Michaelmas, a festival dedicated to courage and good deeds. The students learn the story of St. Michael and the Dragon, which symbolizes our search for inner courage to overcome the growing darkness of the coming winter. WSSD celebrates the Michaelmas season with service projects, field games, and with a pageant performed by the students in the grades.
The celebration of Martinmas comes on November 11th, with the beginning of the colder and darker days of autumn. St. Martin is remembered for sharing his warm cloak with a beggar. In this festival, the whole community cultivates empathy and the beauty of sharing: we collect winter coats to give to those less fortunate. We also have an Early Childhood Lantern Walk where the children sing songs and venture out into the night with their lanterns walking along a path lit with glowing luminaries.
Dia de los Muertos, La Toussaint
The transition period from autumn to winter was thought in ancient times to include the return of the souls of the departed to the warmth and light they remembered from their former lives.
Dia de los Muertos is a multi-day celebration of the dead that goes back thousands of years in South American cultures. The holiday focuses on family and friends coming together to honor and remember their ancestors and loved ones who have died. The Day of the Dead is a time of celebrating the continuation of life and our connection to one another. Many Christians honor the lives of their deceased relatives and all the saints on La Toussaint.
Wanderer's Way is a magical Halloween event, especially for Nursery through 4th Grade. Wanderer's Way offers a child-friendly option for celebrating Halloween and raises funds for our 11th Grade's service trip each year.
The Winter Faire is a truly unique and heartfelt gathering for families and especially young children.
Live holiday music, world cuisine, and a Market Lane featuring artisan vendors. Activities include making holiday crafts, a just-for-kids Snow Fairy Market filled with handmade and gently used gifts, an enchanted forest with beautiful Christmas Trees for sale, and much more. Families are invited to stay for the Celebration of Light with holiday songs and snacks starting at dusk.
At the time of the longest night, we find joyful celebrations of returning light and lengthening days on Winter Solstice. Spiral of Lights festival symbolizes how our inner light must shine ever brighter against the cold, the hurry of the holidays, and the dormant earth. In this reverent and beautiful ceremony of light, children are led by an angel along a spiral path of evergreens. Reaching the center candle, the children light their apple candles and set them along the spiral path, slowly bringing light into the darkened hall.
The Shepherds' Play
Faculty and staff traditionally perform the reverential and humorous medieval nativity play as a gift to the students and school community. This tradition of The Shepherds´ Play is observed in most Waldorf schools throughout the world. The teachers perform this play together and the communities from both schools attend.
This annual vocal concert in December, just before winter break, brings the community together to share holiday songs. Traditional and celebratory music from all cultures and countries are performed by the school’s Lower School Chorus and various grades, accompanied by the High school orchestra. This gathering ushers in the Holidays in a joyful, inclusive event.
Martin Luther King Jr Celebration
Each year we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a school-wide assembly. Students gather together in the morning to honor King’s life and work for human rights through songs, speeches, and stories.
This is a joyous day! Classes dance around the Maypole to music provided by student ensembles. We honor our traditional Maypole celebration and weave in some of the other traditions that are living in our community, specifically the Indian festival of colors, Holi and the Oaxacan celebration of La Calenda.
This Spring Celebration is a day filled with dancers and musicians, high school percussionists, petal throwers, maypole ribbon weavers- enjoyed by parents, families and teachers.
Eighth Grade Projects
The Eighth Grade Projects is an opportunity for students in Grade 8 to show personal initiative and independence while deeply exploring an area of personal interest. At the Project Presentations, students share their experience and process with the community
As the most important fundraiser of the year, our Spring Gala is held every year in a spectacular San Diego event space where parents, faculty and staff join together to celebrate the school’s mission. Dancing, great food and conversation and the silent and live auctions guarantee a highly festive evening for all
Traditionally the eighth-grade graduation is held on the day after the last day of lower school and is hosted by the seventh grade. The twelfth-grade graduation is held on the day after the last day of high school and is hosted by the eleventh grade. This is an opportunity for the whole community to say goodbye, and to honor the seniors as individuals and as a group. Both days mark the beginning of new chapters in our student's lives and are celebrated in unique Waldorf style.
Twice a year, before Thanksgiving Break and Spring Break, the whole WSSD community gathers to watch each class present some of their classwork to each other, their parents, and friends. This provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to see what goes on in the classroom, for students to develop confidence and pride in their accomplishments, for older students to recall their younger years, and for younger children to anticipate journeys yet to come.
Class Plays and Concerts
Waldorf students are talented and confident performers, as is evident in the class plays and concerts performed by classes throughout the year. From a young age, they participate in a variety of class plays and concerts, giving them poise, grace and confidence. Class plays reflect the curriculum, from simple puppet shows in Kindergarten to full-length plays as part of the culmination of eighth and twelfth grades.