The rose ceremonies that are held annually at the Waldorf Academy in Toronto are unique to the Waldorf system and are powerful moments recognizing the potential of students as they journey through their lives.
Moments such as welcomes and farewells are precious, and demand observing; our formal embracing of these moments are an integral part of our way of life and our community.
What Is The Rose Ceremony?
The rose ceremony happens twice each year – on the first day and the last day of the school year.
At the start of the year, the oldest students in the school – whether grade eight students or grade twelve seniors – welcome the youngest children into grade one on their very first day.
At the end of the year, the youngest students mark the older students’ transition to either high school or university by bidding them farewell in their own rose ceremony.
A beautiful rite of passage, we wanted to be sure to include this in our Waldorf school blogto help students and parents understand the importance of why we celebrate these transitions every year.
What Does The Rose Ceremony Look Like?
On the first day of school every year, a student entering their final year at Waldorf will escort a student entering their very first year down through the school assembly to the front of the hall, where they give them a rose.
The first grader will then put the flower into a vase at the front, which is added to by every student, creating a beautiful bouquet by the end; this, they bring back to their classroom at the end of the ceremony.
There is often singing, or the orchestra will play – sometimes a teacher will tell a story to the students – and each teacher from each grade will paint a picture of the year’s studies to come.
The end of year ceremony involves the same first-year students presenting a graduating student with a rose to say goodbye; a touching gesture in which they bid farewell to these older students who they respect and admire.
Why Is The Rose Ceremony Important?
The rose ceremony is important because it recognizes and immortalizes the moments that are huge transitions for students – Waldorf schools make an effort to pause and observe these significant moments in a child’s life, and help them understand the meaning inherent in those moments.
In the case of the end-of-year ceremony, this event gives the class a chance to think back upon their time at the school, to remember their childhood and the years of learning, and to say goodbye and thank you to their fellow students, teachers, administration and parents.
The original ceremony was held only for the students and staff, but now includes parents and the whole school community in many Waldorf schools around the world.
The students not only understand but appreciate that their school takes the time to recognize these powerful times of transition, because they know it both recognizes their accomplishments and also celebrates their entrance into a new stage of their lives.
Why Do We Use Roses?
Roses hold great symbolism; they have been associated for a long time with many various significant moments, and are practically universal symbols of deep feelings that include love, remembrance, and loss.
Roses have complex petal structures, luxurious scents and stunningly beautiful colours – they both humble us with their perfection while also representing the powerful possibilities that students are able to become as they grow and mature.
Occasionally, Waldorf schools will use wildflowers instead of roses when welcoming their first graders, as they are more innocent, simpler, and less complicated, while still being beautifully welcoming blooms.
The Rose Ceremony At Waldorf Academy
Our students take their role in the rose ceremony very seriously – older students understand that in walking up the young students, they are guides in their journey, and they often gift them with handmade necklaces, for instance.
As they start the beginning of the end of their stay with us, it helps them understand their responsibility to those behind them and following in their footsteps.
Teachers take this moment to celebrate their students with songs infused with hope and the possibility they see in their young charges.
Contact Waldorf Academy
Think back to the ceremonies you’ve participated in over the course of your life, and remember how greatly those impacted you; for our students, the rose ceremony is just like this.
If you can understand why we include ceremonies such as this, you’ll likely appreciate our other unique approaches to education.
Call now to book your appointment to meet with our administration and tour our school; perhaps you’ll find your children’s new home away from home.