The Waldorf School of Philadelphia Children’s Shopping Room helps children feel the joy of giving and empowers them to surprise and please their families with their generous spirit!
Children love receiving presents at the Holidays almost as much as we love to give them. But we cannot deny the gift of giving is often a greater feeling than receiving, and this feeling is something all children deserve to experience!
Imagine this: Your child leaves you in the hallway to enter a fairy-light room filled with reverence and soft-spoken parent volunteers who stoop to the child’s level to introduce themselves as their shopping helper. Together they travel through the room brimming with silks, candles and one-of-a-kind, high quality, hand-crafted items made lovingly by Waldorf parents – crocheted pot holders, children’s aprons, and so much more.
The child trades snowflakes (their currency) for items they’d like to give to a family member. Then the child and helper wrap these presents for loved ones and label them, so they are ready for an upcoming Holiday celebration.
Philly Waldorf Parent and Chair of the Holiday Fair, Carolyn Stanish, says, “It’s always been the most magical part of our Holiday Fair event, and I know it draws people back year after year. It’s a really good introduction to the magic and reverence of the larger event and Waldorf Education overall.”
Ania Munoz has been the Chair of Children’s Shopping room for 9 years. She says that after she first experienced the room with her daughter, she became the chair and has been in the position ever since.
“The first year we came to the festival, my daughter was 5 and we came upon the shopping room. She went in and selected items to give as gifts during the Holiday. When the time came for opening the presents, we were stunned by how much thought she put into picking the presents. They were things we all truly liked and would have wanted based on what our daughter knew about us. I was amazed that a 5-year-old used her deep understanding of our family to pick the perfect presents. It was precious and empowering.”
Since Ania has taken over chairing the room, she has shifted the focus from store bought to all handmade artisan items from upcycled, recycled and natural fabrics. The shift to offering only handcrafting items is a major undertaking, which requires many volunteer craft hours from parents. But, Ania, Carolyn, and the other volunteers know it’s worth it to add even more magic and beauty to the room.
Ania says, “We craft items like felted necklaces, boxes with embroidered and felted tops, ornaments, aprons and the like. When I started crafting with volunteers for the room years ago, we made about 800 items a year. Now we need at least 1600 items to meet demand and interest from the community.”
Volunteer crafters, of which there are 50 this year, will take part in making a total of 15 or so beautiful items for the Children’s Shopping Room. While Ania and other volunteers host crafting night’s, much of the work is taken home by volunteers who get detailed instructions and need no particular skills to help.
While Ania and her team are always looking for volunteers, she is also hoping that the Philly Waldorf community will look in their homes and see if they have any items they’d like to upcycle for the Children’s Shopping Room.
“Donated materials make it more exciting and challenging.
A few years ago someone donated 100 used 6×6 tiles. We found artists to donate their work and then we reproduced the prints on the tiles to be a picture or hot pad. Doing more upcycle projects like this would be really cool.”
Ania and Carolyn know it will be yet another year of beautiful handcrafted items and a magical and empowering event for the children who participate. The Children’s Shopping Room allows our little ones to contribute to the gift-giving reverence and joy of the holidays. It gives them a place to reflect on their family, make independent decisions and experience generosity’s great reward.
Join us at this year’s Holiday Fair and visit our treasured Children’s Shopping Room with your children. The 2018 Holiday Fair is being held on Friday, 16th November and Saturday, 17th November. Find out more by visiting –phillywaldorf.com/holiday-fair