Easter Traditions (part 1)

With Easter fast approaching I’ve been thinking about traditions.


Traditions and celebrations throughout the year are important to our family – patterns of life that give shape to the onward movement of time.  Traditions that we repeat and seasons we observe situate us within a different mode of time – one that is more like a circle than a line –  bringing us back to times and places we have been to before.

Whether it’s New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Spring Equinox, Mother’s Day, Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas – they are there waiting for us each year.  Or perhaps on a smaller scale there are weekly traditions – on Saturday mornings my husband always makes us all pancakes or on birthday mornings we always have croissants.

For us I can see both the annual and the weekly traditions bring great comfort to our children. They know what to expect.  They recall memories.  With so much that is changing in life, they still feel they belong, they can take the joy of the past with them into the future.

So when it comes to Easter celebrations I am not going to try and be original, but the reverse.  We will consiously try and celebrate Easter in the same way we did last year.

I’ll share some of our traditions with you tomorrow.

Poetry with Children

‘They must grow up upon the best… There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; Defoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature–that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.’

— Charlotte Mason

The British educator, Charlotte Mason, held that poetry was a key element of the feast of learning that children should delight in.  Young children don’t need to dissect and analyse – that comes later – but they do need to be helped to appreciate some of the variety and majesty and tragedy and comedy that exists in (and between) the lines of great poems.  And so we spend time enjoying them.  We read lots of poems, focusing on one poet a term, and try to learn one or two along the way.  Anthologies of different poets’ work are wonderful but we have found that taking time to explore one poet at a time has meant we have got to know the poet more deeply.

Here’s a list of nursery rhymes, anthologies, poets and books that we have enjoyed: Continue reading

Easter Picture Books

With Lent underway and Easter approaching, I’ve been digging out our Easter stories to enjoy over the next few weeks.  Here are some we read last year and will do so again through February and March as we prepare to celebrate. My Russian roots are very dear to me at Easter time so you may notice an eastern European flavour in my book choices.

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Valentine’s Day Reading!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner.  I’m not here to encourage you to buy cards, flowers and chocolates, although I’m sure they’d be appreciated! Rather here’s a short post to recommend this book that we read last year and intend to do again on 14th February. Beautifully illustrated short picture book telling the life of Saint Valentine from the 3rd-century – the man behind our celebrations.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christmas Picture Storybooks

This is my last list for Christmas.  Just couldn’t resist!

A few years ago I began collecting Christmas stories – short picture books – to share with the children through Advent.  I love the combination of a good story with beautiful illustrations. So I thought I’d share some that we have started delving into in the lead up to Christmas:

Continue reading