In this continuation to City Garden School’s “5 Elements in the Waldorf Kindgertarten” series, we will talk about the importance of The Seasons Table in our Columbia school and in the Waldorf education method.

A seasonal table is a special place where children can experience the seasons and festivals in a visual way. It doesn’t always have to be a table, a small corner, a chest of drawers, or the window sill – a place that is decorated with different materials and brings a piece of nature from outside into the school.

The seasonal table reflects creativity, closeness to nature, and an understanding of the connections and processes of humans, the spiritual world, and the elements. The table is always beautiful. Every season is different.

Why do we set up a seasonal table? Of course, the ideal would be if we could always be outside with the children. Though we spend quite a bit of time outdoors, it is not always possible. The seasonal table offers the opportunity to create and appeals to the children in a variety of ways. It helps them to experience the change of seasons even indoors. The colors and shapes used in the structure bring beauty through colors and shapes. Children have the opportunity to interact with the elements that affect soul and spirit. The seasonal table can be so much more than just a decorative element. It can have a stimulating, harmonizing, and supportive effect.

Building a seasonal table

The seasonal table can be designed in a completely new way with every change of season and with every festival. But there is also the possibility to always place certain things, such as a root or a candle, in the same place throughout the year and to change the colors, stones, figures, etc… around them.

Basic elements of the seasonal table:

  • The Base

The base is a made of cloth: cotton, wool, or silk, in colors corresponding to the seasons. In Winter, these are mainly blue and white tones. In Spring, brown and delicate greens are used. In Summer, a strong yellow, which is joined by red or orange in Autumn. The cloth can cover more than the table and can even be attached to the wall behind the seasonal table.

  • Natural Materials

Many things for the seasonal table are found in nature, in parks, forests, and meadows: bark, roots, moss, fruits of the trees … there are countless treasures to be found outside. Those materials can be placed on the table to stand alone or with other items. For example, a nice little house can be built from bark or a root can offer a wonderful hiding place for gems and dwarves. A piece of willow or creeper can be bent into a circle to make a wreath for the table.

  • Candles, pictures, and precious stones

A beeswax candle, a beautiful postcard, and precious stones can be the basis of a seasonal table. There are no limits on creativity. The colors of the year can also be reflected in the choice of gemstones. Seashells, feathers, stones… all can be placed on the table and available for little hands to explore.

  • Characters

Little figurines or dolls made of wood and felt are a popular addition. They can be people or animals. Mythical or realistic. Simplicity is advisable. Elemental beings representing the seasons in the form of flower children, dwarfs, or similar can be used very consciously and with understanding of the “truths” that apply in their world. So polar bears in a snowy scene or flower fairies on a spring table make sense. There is also something nice when a family, people and/or animals live on the seasonal table all year round and lead through the seasons and festivals as a constant element.

  • Plants and Flowers

Depending on the season, the seasonal table can also be decorated with plants and flowers. Here, too, nature offers a wide range of beauty and there is no need to go to a flower shop to buy flowers.

Seasonal table ideas for festivals:

Elements can come in and out of the seasonal table and some can be constant for an entire season while others may only be present for a week or two, depending on a festival or holiday. Many of the symbols and items used to decorate for various seasons are the same elements used to decorate for holidays.

  • Michaelmas–The symbols of Michael are possible as elements: a scale, a postcard with St. George and the dragon, a sword, a figurine of the dragon.
  • Thanksgiving–A cornucopia with fall fruits or root vegetables can be added. Children can be encouraged to bring vegetables and add a new one each day. Grains are also good during the harvest season.
  • Hanukkah–A dreidel or small menorah can be on the table during this time.
  • Advent and Christmas–A christmas tree or peg dolls dressed for the holiday or a small nativity.
  • Easter–Eggs are common during the easter season. An additional egg can be added each day.
  • May Day–Rainbow puzzle and colored ribbons symbolize this spring holiday.

Stay tuned for Part 5 of our Waldorf Kindergarten series. You can find parts 2 and 3 here.