The Learning Circle: Spring
Spring! The earth coming back to life, the days growing warmer, the light returning! What a beautiful time of year as we turn outwards again. During the spring, all our activities revolve around strength and vitality, abundance and color.
In March, I focus on the theme of caring. This is an excellent time to start a spring garden (assuming the last frost has past) and care for plants. I like to start from seed, so the children see the whole cycle of growth. We can also start to care for birds as they begin to nest, by building houses and shelters to protect their young. During March, there is often many festivals to celebrate as well. The Chinese Lantern Festival, Holi (the Hindu festival of spring), Ramadan, Purim, Ostara, and sometimes Easter all usually fall within the month of March, giving an excellent opportunity to explore new cultures and traditions. In fact, so infectious is spring fever, that you can find a celebration of it in pretty much any culture around the world!
In April, there is an intense growth as everything points to the return of light and warmth. Much of the work we did in March is now evident- the plants are sprouting, the nests are being built. There is progress. This gives us time to reflect on the magic of this season. Create fairy and gnome houses and gardens. Scour the forest for treasures. Dye silks and treasure bags with plant based colors. Read fairy tales and books that connect childhood to nature, like Tasha Tudor and Sibylle Von Olfers. If we want children to care for the earth, we must create an experience of love and magic with it first. Holidays such as Easter and Passover reflect the inherent mystery and blessings we feel during this time.
In May, the sun has returned and the earth is growing warm as we move towards the summer solstice. The rain and fertility of the spring has now produced an abundance that we can enjoy. This is the perfect time to process milk by making butter, cheese, and yogurt. It is also a great time to explore beekeeping. In Japan and Holland, the cherry blossom and tulip festivals celebrate the color and beauty of this month, and Beltane with it’s bonfires and maypoles is a joyful way to welcome the approaching summer.