I spent a lovely hour with the Pre-school group of our village nursery today. My son was super excited the Mummy was visiting. We are very public with our faith and the staff at the nursery had asked me before about aspects of our faith and how it would effect our son, they had also hinted that they would be happy for me to come in to work with the children. So a window in my schedule allowed me to arrange this afternoon’s visit.
I thought long and hard about how to engage 3 and 4 year olds with the concept of Litha, of the Summer Solstice, and as usual my kids came up with the answer. “Why do I have to go to bed now?” I have been asked a lot recently “The sun is still up!” So we focused on the sun. I recount my session with 16 delightful children below in the hope that you can be inspired by it, or that you can use some of the aspects with your own children.
I arrived just as they were finishing their afternoon snack and as the children got up from the table and wondered over to be on the carpet we started to sing a song about the sun. It’s not at all Pagan but it was short, catchy and fitted with what I wanted to do later.
Once we were all sat down and settled I told them that my son and our family were Pagans and the we didn’t go to church but celebrated at home, in the garden and in the woods. My son piped up at this point that we had a celebration soon and I was then able to tell them about Summer Solstice. I asked them if their mummies were being mean and making them go to bed when the sun was still up, and if they always went to bed when the sun was up. We then talked about what the sun did for us (made light and warmth) and that it was darker and colder in the winter.
Then I got out the paper plates (eye holes already cut), glue sticks and tissue paper in hot sun colours and the making commenced. The children simply covered the front of the plate in glue and ripped up the tissue paper to stick on. Once they were done I attached knicker elastic to the sides and they wore their masks. (Note: in hindsight I should have put the elastic on this morning as 16 eager little suns wanting me to both look at their masks and fix the elastic was a little overwelming and chaotic)
Once we had all made our masks we sat down and I told them all about Ra. I read them the story below through then we all decided if we wanted to be Ra, Osiris or an Egyptian and I read it through again as they (helped by the staff and me) acted it out.
“In ancient Egypt the sun god Ra was the most important of all the gods. Every morning the
sun rose up into the sky and everyone welcomed his warmth and light. As he travelled through the sky he helped the people to grow their crops and warm the homes and land. As day ended and the night began Ra slipped under the Earth to visit Osiris in the underworld and they tiptoed under the Earth back to the place where Ra rises every morning.”