Cultivating knowledge of and respect for varied cultures is an essential element of education. At the Waldorf School of Baltimore, you will find a rich and dynamic community. In our homes and  classrooms we find differing customs, languages, music, food, and cultural traditions. Sharing and celebrating these parts of our identities fosters a strong sense of self and familial pride, and orients the entire class towards a genuine appreciation of differences and similarities.

This week, in a beautiful example of culture sharing, the Butterfly Preschool Class welcomed Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, thanks to the support of a class parent and Lead Teacher Jackie Beach. The celebration included the painting of diyas (tiny clay pots that are used as oil lanterns, gifted to the class by a current parent), the rendering of a beautiful chalk rangoli, and the scraping of vanilla beans and grinding of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and star anise for a special mid-morning meal of chai and rice pudding.

While enjoying their sweet snack, Ms. Beach shared a colorful board book where the children learned that the five days of Diwali are a time to rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, decorating with lots of lights, clean house and welcome a bountiful new year, honor the special bonds between siblings, and feast with family and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets.

 Central to the mission of the Waldorf School of Baltimore is ensuring every student feels represented and celebrated. How wonderful to see one way in which this mission may play out for the school’s littlest learners.

Happy Diwali! 

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