In this thoughtful book, Freya Jaffke describes festival celebrations in relation to child development in the first seven years. She considers in detail the main festivals throughout the year: Easter, Whitsun, St John’s, starting school, harvest, Michaelmas, lantern time, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and carnival.
Drawing on many examples, she shows how we can celebrate festivals with children at home and in kindergarten in a meaningful way. Every festival is prefaced with a deeper contemplation for adults, before considering preparations with children, followed by the actual organisation of the festival — with games, craft activities and decorations, stories, songs, poems and the seasonal nature table.
‘Freya Jaffke presents a lively picture of how the Christian cycle of festivals in the northern hemisphere can be reinvigorated and brought to consciousness in a rich and meaningful way … This is an immensley practical book that shows us what we might make of these worn out festivals when celebrating them with young children. Her genius is in bringing together clear pictures of the inner work of the adult alongside the practical details of life with young children. This is not another book about seasonal crafts and traditions that might be fun to do, but more about, for example, how cleaning and tidying create the Advent mood, how children can enjoy and find deeply meaningful the simplest of activities … This is an extremely useful handbook for kindergarten teachers, giving full descriptions and explanations of all the festivals that she celebrated with her kindergarten children and their parents.’
‘Throughout, one feels how childhood itself is respected and protected. She conveys her warmth for the subject in all the practical advice, of which there’s plenty. Drawings and pictures are included whenever necessary … Celebrating Festivals with Children is a very useful and stimulating book and is recommended to anyone with young children.’
–Perspectives, March 2012
“Every family should have one.” Daily Mail
Over 175,000 copies sold.
Freya Jaffke is an experienced Steiner-Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Germany. Her books on early childhood have sold over quarter of a million copies worldwide and include, Toymaking with Children, Magic Wool and Work and Play in Early Childhood.