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At The London Acorn School, we celebrate all the seasons of the year through community festivals. At around mid-May, we would normally come together to celebrate spring, and the longer days and bounties of Mother Earth that spring-time brings with her. Kindergarten decorate a “Little Maypole” with coloured ribbons, which is also used by the Little Acorns families; parents/carers along with their children, dance around singing our maypole songs.

This year, our Spring Festival will have to be a more personal affair however, this does not mean it cannot be celebrated with the same vigour and enthusiasm. We hope the information we share with you below will assist you in celebrating, and having fun at home with your family

Making a May Pole

A maypole is originally just a tree trunk, and you might be lucky enough to find a living tree with no branches sticking out for the first 2 metres. If so, you can tie ribbons around it and dance. However, such trees are rare and long colourful ribbons may be a rarity too. If that happens to be the case, you could try making a tiny maypole using either ribbon you already have, or cutting colourful rags, strips of tissue, or even painting long strips of paper especially for it. This tiny maypole could decorate a cake or the table, if you celebrate indoors.

Pictured below is an example for an outdoor maypole; it even attracted some 20cm-tall guests to come and admire it ha ;-)

If you are looking for some more inspiration, our Kindergarten team have shared a video on how to make a maypole.

Our Maypole Songs

Here we go round the Maypole high,

The Maypole high,

The Maypole high,

Here we go round the Maypole high,

Let coloured ribbons fly,

Let coloured ribbons fly.

See lasses and lads go tripping by,

Go tripping by, Go tripping by,

See lasses and lads go tripping by,

Let coloured ribbons fly,

Let coloured ribbons fly.

In rainbow hues make garlands gay,

Make garlands gay,

Make garlands gay,

In rainbow hues make garlands gay,

Let coloured ribbons fly,

Let coloured ribbons fly.

Kelly Ehrman from homeschooling blog, Lavender’s Blue, shares a recording of the maypole song.

Our second song is a version of the song we sing during our outdoor time in Little Acorns  (‘In and Out the Ancient Trees’)

In and out the dusky bluebells X3

Who shall be my partner?

Pitter patter on my shoulder X3

You will be my partner

Traditionally for this dance, everyone stands in a circle singing and one child weaves in front of one person, behind the next, in front, behind, in and out, round the circle, stopping on ‘Who shall be my partner?’ S/he then taps gently on the shoulders of the person to whom s/he is nearest, singing ‘you will be my partner’. This new person then takes the lead, with the previous leader holding onto their shoulders as they weave in and out again. This continues until everyone has joined the snaking line of shoulder-tapping dancers. Here’s a YouTube link of the song and dance.

Spring Wreath/Crown

Another tradition we have at our Spring Festival is the making of wreaths/crowns. Although we use raffia for these and then attach flowers and leaves to them, they can also be made without raffia. In order to make a no-raffia, no-string spring wreath/crown, we suggest making a base circle using long thin creepers or climbers, like ivy or jasmine, twisted together. Bunches of greenery are then worked in, to form a base. Finally, the flowers are added.

It’s a patient matter of poking the stems in between the tougher stalks in the circle.

Making this is in itself a great activity, even if the flowers last just for one day.

For more flower crown ideas, you can visit our Kindergarten Blog post.

Shared Snack/Picnic

Our school picnic after the maypole singing and dancing, is much looked forward to. Morden Hall Park, our community and the variety of cultures and cuisines that are displayed at the picnic are so special. The good thing about celebrating at home however is, that you can enjoy freshly prepared food and you don’t have to transport it. Here are a couple of recipes that we thought you might enjoy:

Elderflower Fritters

Ingredients :

12 x elderflower heads

1 x handful of flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp icing sugar

½ – 1/3 cup of beer (non-alcoholic is fine, carbonated water will also do)

Sunflower or rapeseed oil – enough to fill your pan to a depth of 2 – 3 cm.

Method :

  • Gather flower heads on a sunny day, so the flowers are open. Choose flower heads with no brown edges, ideally no buds, just open flowers. Keep about 10 – 15 cm of the stalk along with it, as this provide a handle when cooking. Be careful though : the thicker stalks are inedible.
  • A gentle shake should be enough to remove any insects; rinsing in water would remove some of the flavour but if you choose to, lay on a clean tea towel to dry.
  • Put a sheet of kitchen roll on the serving plate and put to one side, in a warm place if there is one (in the woodland it’s put near the fire).
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and icing sugar in a bowl, followed by the beer. Add more flour or liquid to obtain a thick, flowing consistency.
  • Heat the oil in the pan. Check that it is hot enough by dripping a small amount of batter in: it should sizzle and cook immediately.
  • Lift this out with a spatula and start the real cooking.
  • Dip one elderflower head in the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off, and holding its stalk with a gloved hand, slowly place it in the hot oil. It will cook in about a minute, turning light golden brown.
  • Lift out and allow to drain on the platter. Continue till all are cooked. Then serve, perhaps with a dusting of icing sugar.

Teddy Bear Pancakes

Prepare your favourite pancake batter. Heat and oil the pan. Place one tbsp of batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out lightly. Then add a modest dessert spoon on one top edge of that first part of the pancake; follow this with four scant teaspoon dabs on the four corners of the biggest circle. Now you have the tummy, the head, the arms, and the legs. A tiny drip high on each side of the head gives you the ears. Flip it over, leave for a few seconds, and serve. You have to work fast – but with a little practice, it looks good, and beware, later you may well find yourself making dolphin, giraffe, or elephant pancakes…

We hope you have enjoyed the post, and as always, we would love to hear from you or see any photos from your Spring Festival celebrations.

With love and light,

The LA Team