Today our two Kindergarten classes came together to learn about Diwali, the festival of lights – an ancient Hindu festival which we celebrate every Autumn.
For Kindergarten children (aged 3-6) understanding an abstract concept such as Diwali is possible when we make it more tangible for them, and so we introduce elements which the children can see, hear, touch and taste as part of our learning.
Teacher Ziggy told the children the story of Sita and Rama, a Princess and Prince who are banished from their home in India, and Sita kidnapped by the King of the Demons. Sita then dropped a trail of jewels behind her and so the children are given beautiful bindis to wear which helps to illustrate the story. Over time all the animals in the world work together to build a bridge to rescue them and then Sita and Rama begin their journey home. It is traditional for people to light candles in the window of their houses to light their way and so the Kindergarten children made clay pots to hold tealights.
We were welcomed by our neighbours the Sikh Temple to visit and have a snack of jelappia. The children wore head coverings and watched the preparations for the festival with interest. We especially liked the decorations – strings of lights against the Autumn trees look pretty as the evenings draw in.
The Kindergarten children made chapatis to have with their lunch of dhal and rice. They were joined for this meal by the Class One and Two children and afterwards we painted mehndi, which is applied to bring good luck, health and prosperity. The little hands showed great patience whilst their henna dried. It was lovely to celebrate Diwali as a school community.
The festival of Diwali spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
Class One and Two have been working with these themes both consciously and unconsciously over the last few weeks as we strive to conquer fears, be brave and embrace learning with our heads, hearts and hands.
Our usual Wednesday walk was to Laurel Park today where we created the image of a diva lamp with Autumn leaves. We looked at the beautiful colours which nature gives at this time of year and used them to reflect the earthy tones of the diva lamp and the fiery flame.
We had a tour around the outside of the Temple, looking at the colours, patterns and shapes we could see. We then created rangoli patterns inspired by what we had seen on the pavement using chalks.
Like the Kindergarten children, the School children made clay lamps, decorated with tiny beads and fashioned a wick from wool, which would traditionally sit in oil.
We wish a happy festival of light to you and yours and look forward to our next community event, the Lantern Walk. Here’s a memory of our walk from two years ago.