Games and Developmental Movement
The task of the Games and Physical Education class is to help answer the question: How does the child unite with the space around him/her?
Just as the main lesson curriculum meets the changing consciousness of the child, so does the physical education curriculum transform to meet the child s growing relationship to space and to their bodies. There is a gradual transformation from game to sport which is closely related to the children’s gradual change in focus from the air around them in the third grade, to their breathing in the fourth grade, to their blood in the fifth grade, to their muscles in the sixth grade, to their ligaments in the seventh grade, to their very bones in the eighth grade.
The first two grade school years meet the child who is still dreamy and imaginative. Games allow these children to become something different and joyfully sing as they play. No points or competition is involved at this stage. Grade three games offer students the opportunity to foster the feeling of occupying the air around themselves. This would include tag and imitation games, as well as games with tasks such as all kinds of running, jumping, climbing, and vigorous play. In grade four, for the first time, the children establish a balance of one breath to four heart-beats which they will carry into adulthood. It is here that the students play stop-and-go games, rhythmic stepping, and the qualities of Norse myths are
introduced into the games. Throwing and catching skills are also part of many games. The fifth grader has a relationship to space not unlike that of the Greeks. With added balance and poise, their physical activities gain a new character. Running, high and long jumping, throwing the javelin and discus, and apparatus games are introduced with the Greeks love of movement as the goal.
The middle school Physical Education classes of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade sees the game-like quality of the younger years given over to a more disciplined steadfastness to the rules of each game, to achieving more strength, speed, and endurance, and emphasizing the honor of sportsmanship. Tactical, as well as physical, ability is infused into the activities. Team games, competition, personal fitness, and the benefits of regular practice are taught and enjoyed. Games of a social nature are also introduced to give the many social challenges of this age a possibility of resolution.
As part of the Waldorf Curriculum, eurythmy provides the student with the opportunity to learn coordination, spatial awareness, concentration, self-awareness, presence of mind, active listening and the ability to move harmoniously with others. Students practice these skills in community though a movement that has been seen as healing and strengthening. Eurythmy is a beautiful, harmonious movment that uses the human body as the instrument to express the spoken word or the musical sound.
In the Pre-School through lower elementary grades the children imitate the eurythmy teacher as stories poems and legends are recited and music is played on various instruments. The focus is on moving harmoniously together and gracefully as an individual.
In the upper elementary grades, the exercise forms increase in complexity. Exercises require the individual move differently than others in the group. The students begin following patterns drawn on the board and precision, harmony and grace are called for.
In the Middle School Eurythmy lessons encourage the students to experiment and contribute their own artistic ideas in regard to the curriculum. Lessons are intended to reinforce the main lesson work. Parallel with geometry lessons, various geometrical form metamorphoses are practiced. These exercises encourage the student's growing capacity for orientation and abstraction and cultivate social awareness.
Rhythm, rod and symmetry exercises support recreating coordination. All exercises must involve coordination of sequences and attention to accuracy. In Seventh and/or Eighth Grade, the modes expressing spatial and soul elements are combined in longer dramatic or humorous poems, which will be performed to the school community. In connection to European history, the students will learn a variety of folk dances and they will be exposed to music from European cultures.