Each year in the fall, in a formal assembly, we warmly welcome new students to the Vancouver Waldorf School with the time honoured tradition of the Rose Ceremony.
Entering into Grade One as a child is a big step. Most children have spent some time in Kindergarten and after this wonderful period are striving to move on, to learn. This transition is an important threshold for every child and its family. It is one step further away from home, one step, albeit small, into the world and towards independence. It is the beginning of a 12-year path after which we endeavour to release the young people into the world as free individualities. Dr. Steiner so aptly gave us the ideal:
Accept the children with reverence, educate them with love, send them forth in freedom.
In order for the beginning of this voyage to be appropriately celebrated and experienced by the children and their families, every school year begins with the “Opening Assembly.” During this ceremony the grade one students are each presented with a rose by our graduating class, welcoming them into the grade school community. This simple ceremony marks an important transition for the children as they begin their journey through the grades. The rose symbolizes the budding awareness and capabilities of each child as they grow and move from kindergarten into grade one.
The ceremony is also a formal meeting of teacher and student, initiating a personal commitment to the development of skills and personal growth of each child, forming a strong bond that will last for many years.
Once the Grade One children have left the “Opening Assembly” for their classroom, the class teachers and guardians of the other classes have a chance to give everyone present an overview, a picture, an idea of what is to come in the school year.
In the following spring, another Rose Ceremony will take place. This time our new graduates will be presented with a rose and good wishes for the future, marking their transition into the world. And thus a full cycle has been made.
At the spring ceremony, each class presents a contribution from their years’ work, and the Grade 12 students have a chance to reminisce and experience what they have learned over the years. This strong connection between the two ceremonies is experienced by all students, and they belong to the favourites for students and teachers alike.
Both events are an important threshold for all students to experience and are celebrated by the whole school body.