The Squire's Challenge

Thursday night brings a special ceremony to our family--the Knighting Ceremony. As part of their Medieval studies, Hels' class has been issued the "Squire's Challenge." They are asked to:

Do 5 - 10 hours of community service
Find a special adult who will speak for them at the ceremony
Create a family crest that mixes their interests with their family heritage
Make a wooden sword
Uphold a vow of silence
Compete in a tournament of games
Embark on a quest "requiring the eyes of an eagle, the cunning of a fox, and the courage of a lion"

At the ceremony on Thursday night, they will sing songs in Latin, speak about knightly qualities they see in their classmates, listen to adults describe their community service and character, and take an oath of Valor.

The next day, after a variety of Medieval games that include archery, jousting and the javelin, they embark on a Quest. This will take all morning. They will be challenged on many levels--they might have to give up something that they have been given and really want, they will discover that some challenges can only be conquered alone while others require a group, and they will need patience, precision, agility, strength, and balance.

Finally, in the afternoon, there is a big surprise--as they complete their Quest, they will be greeted by all the other Middle Schoolers, alumni, faculty, and parents and will join in a big game of capture the flag.

The whole idea behind the ceremony and ensuing games is to recognize that the 6th graders are becoming adolescents...that the adult world recognizes them, welcomes their contributions, and supports them in their challenges...and that they are now part of the middle school.

Hels has risen to the challenge beautifully.

She has done much more community service than required, having found her own niche at our local music center where she has taken on organizing the choral library, sorted clothing at a thrift store with her Grandmother in Florida, and tended the school garden. She has opened up to the world a bit and is now looking about to see where something might need to be done.

She has nervously asked a dear friend to be her sponsor. She has put a lot of thought into the design of her crest. She has learned to joust, shoot arrows, and throw javelin's with skill. She's ready!

Sniff. I know I'm going to cry :)

Carrie –   – (May 6, 2008 at 3:06 PM)  

What an absolutely wonderful school your children must attend!

Dawn  – (May 6, 2008 at 3:52 PM)  

This sounds like such a meaningful and special event. What an exciting time for your family. Congrats to Hels.

Patience  – (May 6, 2008 at 4:36 PM)  

How lovely! This is what I call truly inspiring education.

Anonymous –   – (May 6, 2008 at 9:42 PM)  

Go Hels, you rock! :)

Another fine example of how Waldorf mixes learning with life experiences that speak to the child's level of consciousness and development. And so much fun too.

Cadi  – (May 6, 2008 at 11:01 PM)  

Awww. This sounds like such a beautiful event! Don't forget the box-o-tissues, eh?! :-)

Susan  – (May 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM)  

I loved this post --this is why Waldorf education always inspires me. I just love the focus on the whole child. You must be so proud of Hels.

Poppy & Mei  – (May 7, 2008 at 7:39 AM)  

Awwwwwww, such a milestone!
I can't wait to read more.
Good on ya Hels! Xxx

Lisa Anne  – (May 7, 2008 at 8:21 AM)  

I miss my daughter's school for so many reasons, this is one of them. We are doing something similar this year, but I wish we had a community of peers to do this "right of passage" with. The Greek Pentathlon we had last year was a similar experience, our school got together with several other schools in Ann Arbor, it was very special. I am sure Hels is very excited about this.

Lisa  – (May 7, 2008 at 2:59 PM)  

What a really great idea for the kids. Ca't wait to hear more.

denise  – (May 8, 2008 at 5:59 PM)  

Wow - that sounds like a very interesting and inspiring project.

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