The Forest School Winter Spiral

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What's Happening


As we move into the darkest time of the year, let us spiral inside to find the light within. Bringing it out, and sharing it amongst the community. Let our inner light bring us through until the warm sun returns.


The children will create a Spiral of evergreen bows that we will walk through as we all sing songs that we've been learning through the fall months. A candle is lit in the center of the spiral, a symbol of life amidst the dead of winter. Then, as we sing, each child and parent in turn takes a candle into the center of that spiral and lights it, then places the candle in a glass container on the path. The lights brighten the path for those who come after. 

This is a celebration of quiet confidence, of carrying light in darkness, of sharing that light with others. You are invited to attend this festival, not only to watch your own children, but to watch how they are in the community of their peers. How does each child approach the candle at the center of the spiral? Are his footsteps halting or rapid? Does she stop along the way to consider each branch and decoration on the path before placing her candle near the way out of the spiral, or does she set it down right away and hurry on without looking back? Being a witness to this journey can be a moving experience, and adults and children alike carry away from the festival the feelings and meaning they found within it.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the darkest days of the year. The sun is down by dinner time, and even at noon the shadows are long and slanting. Holiday preparations are in full swing, and our minds swirl with plans for gifts, meals, treats, crafts, decorations, travel, cleaning. When we look out into the natural world, we see the opposite of this constant, harried motion. The earth is growing quiet. The plants and animals are storing away food for the cold months or preparing to sink into dormancy. When the snow comes, the quiet will be even deeper.

It is no accident that so many festivals are planned for these dark days. Celebrations of light, community, sharing — these remind us to carry the gifts of summer with us into the quiet of winter. At the time of the longest night, we find joyful celebrations of returning light. The Jewish celebration of Hannukah, the remembrance of the rededication of the Temple and of the miracle of lamps whose oil should have lasted one day and lasted for eight, falls at this time of year. The Hindu festival of lights, Divali, has just passed. Many earth-based traditions honor the winter Solstice with special joy, lighting fires and candles and exchanging gifts.


For All Forest School and Afterschool Children and Families

Thurs Dec 16, 2021

4:00 - 5:30pm


14 Maple Leaf Farm Rd

Underhill, VT 05489


4:00 Winter Spiral 

5:00 Hot drinks by the fire

5:30 goodbye

What to Bring and COVID-19 Protocol for the Event


  • Candles - make sure to bring enough candles for all of your children attending. Tea lights work really well.

  • A Glass Jar (to work as a candle holder so it will block the wind)

  • A snack/hot drink to share for the snack luck

  • A mug for hot drinks and dish ware for snacks

  • Really Warm Clothes (for Thursday families bring an extra set of gloves and socks in case they need to change)

COVID-19 Protocol:

  1. We ask all adults to wear face coverings during the event if they need to come close while singing.

  2. This year only the children will be walking the spiral. Family members will make a large outer circle around the spiral where they can sing and watch as the children walk through the spiral.

  3. We ask guests not to go inside of any ReTribe buildings, except if they need to use the bathroom during the event, they can use our Heath Center building. Remove shoes in the foyer, and turn left to find the bathroom at the end of the hall. 

Directions and Parking

Please park in our lot and cross the road with the farmhouse on your right. We will be in the field right next to the farmhouse.