KINDLEHILL WINTER’S NIGHT Friday 21st June, 6pm

“Stranger, have you the grace to hold ancient things softly in your hands.” K Lucas

Sitting around the campfire, looking up to the stars in unity with the many others who are doing this at the same time…

This is the inspiration shared by Wiradjuri descendent, Mai-Lynn that will be at the centre of Kindlehill’s Winter Night celebration this year.  We anticipate a very beautiful and meaningful celebration as we connect the Heart of Winter, the Heart of Kindlehill School and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This Statement from the Heart is an invitation from First Nations people at Uluru in 2017 to go forward together in this country in truth and celebration. At Winter’s Night, there will be the beautiful singing, the candlelight, the lanterns, the storytelling, as well as the opportunity for each of us to take into our own hearts this invitation to walk with First Nations people in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

CONNECTING TO PLACE AND A SENSE OF BELONGING

A sense of belonging and connecting to place are essential elements of the Geography curriculum in a Steiner School. In the young child it begins in their immediate environment, cultivating a connectedness to nature, family and friends. It then grows outward in ever widening circles to take in the local area, the region, the country, neighbouring countries and then the world as a whole. The child and young person over time, is supported to feel themselves a member of a family, community, nation and also a global citizen. At the same time as this widening of inter-relationship, there is a deepening of the connection to the place where one lives. To feeling oneself connected to nature, to community and to the specific historical and cultural qualities of place.

Each year at Kindlehill we celebrate the Winter Solstice as a rebirth of the sun at mid-winter, as from this time of the longest night, the hours of daylight again increase. This year we are connecting the inner aspect of this, a renewal of our own sun-heart, to the Uluru Statement; listening, and journeying together on this land we all now call home.

At mid-winter, the longest night in our hemisphere, we picture that the earth has breathed in the summer forces of light and warmth from the cosmos and is now inwardly illumined like a pearl shining in the cosmos.

This is also the moment when the sun is “renewing” expressed in the lengthening of days, the waxing of light and warmth as we move toward Spring. This idea aligns with many cultures and wisdom traditions that speak of this renewal or rebirth of the sun at the time of the Winter Solstice. As well, within us, it is also a moment of consciousness, of awakening or lighting up to our connectedness to nature, to one another and to the cosmos.

THE INVITATION

So on this Winter’s Night we invite families to join us for a very beautiful and meaningful celebration of light, warmth, beauty and generosity of heart.

We will begin at the Lake and walk together to school. The Performance Space will be lit by a starry constellation of star lanterns and there will be storytelling, singing and movement as we celebrate this journeying inward to renew the sun within our own being and in alignment with that of the outer sun. After this we will gather outside, form a circle and together look up to the stars as a gesture of commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.  The children will then go to classrooms to light their lanterns, we will gather for a song and then begin the outward journey into the darkness with our light and warmth as we walk back to the lake. We will hopefully carry the beauty and reverence of a very special Winter’s Night into our homes and the wider community.

It is always a special thing for the children to finish the evening at home by candlelight; teeth cleaned, a story or sharing about the evening, then into bed, and on to another journey into the stars and dreams.

PREPARATIONS FOR WINTER’S NIGHT

As we turn toward Winter, how are we preparing for Winter’s Night?

CANDLES AND LANTERNS

The children will make beeswax candles, and lanterns for Winter’s Night as well as learn the songs and verses for our celebration. Parents are welcome to help with these activities. Parents are also invited to assist in making a constellation of large star lanterns which will hang in the performance space to illumine our celebrations.

SINGING

Parents are very welcome to join the teaching staff on Wednesdays at 3 – 30pm to learn some special winter songs that we will share on Winter’s Night.

SCREEN FREE WEEK AND STORYTELLING

Screen free week is an invitation for all families to enjoy a screen free week leading up to Winter’s Night. At school, during this week, there will be a daily storytelling time for all of the children with invited storytellers.

WINTER VERSE

O Mother – earthmother
Us children you bear
Safely in your womb
Willing to share
The gifts that you offer
In deep winter night
Filled with anticipation
Of the newly born light
Breathing in peace
With a heart full of gold
That through our love
As a star may unfold.

It could be said that our times are characterised by uncertainty, anxiety and disconnection. The challenge and the opportunity in our times are to find within ourselves and our communities, the capacity to imbue our lives with meaning and celebration. The seasonal festivals, such as Winter’s Night, bring us into connection with the greater rhythms of the cosmos, with nature, and with an inner awakening in our individual selves, in a warming and supportive community.

Lynn Daniel
Kindlehill School

Jun 2019