Sample Lesson

From the book: The Living Home Kindergarten in the Spring

Celebrating Mayday

The Living Home Kindergarten

MAY DAY -- MAY 1 st

If May Day falls on a school day, you may wish to rise even earlier than usual to gather your drops of dew. In dry, desert climates where no morning dew is found, use a sprig of fresh rosemary, mint or lavender to crush between your fingers and dampen on your face. Arrange a brief, early morning gathering in a lush, secluded section of a park or friend’s garden. Wear fresh garlands and bring a delectable May morning treat. Candied violets or Cecil Breuner mini roses are edible and make a lovely garnish to any light fare. Bring your May Pole—which need not be a fancy, ornate operation. For years we have kept and used a large but light branch with long satin ribbons tied on to the various arms that branch out from the main stem at the top. This is light and easy to transport, even for children. When it is time for the May Pole dance, all that is required is for an adult or child to hold it in the center, and all dance around the pole. “Holders” can exchange places after a dance or two, so all can share various activities.

Begin together in a “Fairy Ring.” Bells can be rung and the May morning greeting be spoken by a caller: Good morning, Lords and Ladies, it is the first of May, we hope you’ll like our singing, it is so sweet and gay. The cuckoo sings in April, the cuckoo sings in May, the cuckoo sings in June, in July she flies away. The cuckoo drinks cold water to make her song so clear, and then she sings “cuckoo, cuckoo,” for three months of the year.

“The Mayer’s Call” or “The Piper’s Song” may then be played on recorders while all gather round the May Pole. One of those gathered may want to come dressed as “Lady Spring.” She can now come forward and say, as she hands a ribbon to each one waiting: Looking up now we do spy colored ribbons flying high. We hold a ribbon in our hand to dance and sing across the land.

Lady Spring can either dance with one and all, or be seated on a simple “throne” (as can be done for the King and Queen of the May, if you choose, for this occasion or rather for a larger May Day celebration or procession).

A harmonious progression of May Pole songs could be:
Come Let’s Go A Dancing
Here We Go Round the May Pole High
Here’s A Branch of Snowy May

Conclude with letting your ribbons “fly” back to the pole and a bow or a curtsy to each other, to Lady Spring or to the King and Queen, as the case may be. If time allows, a lovely parting gesture is to make and leave a little “shining throne” out of branches, rocks, leaves and flowers for the Flower Queen and her flower fairies upon leaving. The following song and verses can be adapted to suit this activity:

May Day festivities can range from the sweet and simple (as above) to the traditional Festivals of the English May with Morris Dancers, procession, intricate May Pole and sword dances, Plays, games and Feasting Tables.

To share in these customs adapted from Europe and to carry on such traditions that feed the child’s sense of beauty, community, fantasy and imagination brings delight and joy. In celebrating and honoring Nature in the Spring, we can weave delightful tales of the fairy world that come a-visiting; make tiny walnut shell boats for them, or send a leaf as a boat with a feather or flower on it down a stream for the fairies to ride on. The imaginative possibilities are endless. This is also an opportunity to make up and weave stories together as a family. Progressively unfolding stories with a main character, such as “The Flower Queen,” or some other appropriate imaginative figure can develop and flow together every evening at bedtime for the entire season. One can plant seeds for the imagination by asking questions such as “ What color are the tulip petals of the Flower Queen’s gown?” Or, “How many flowers fairies does it take to carry her rose-petal train?” And so on. In our family, when our daughter was five, we created a story of a troll that lives in the forest by our home. Our daughter still asks questions about the troll and on forest walks is always eager to go by the tree in which she fancies that he lives. Through the years she has left him notes and gifts and he has reciprocated with surprise notes and presents found, to our daughter’s great delight, when she awakes in the morning. Such stories created by you and your child can be treasured memories that last a lifetime.

copyright © 2002 Bischof
Published by Live Education!