A movement program that is solidly based on the developmental needs of children can have many school-wide benefits. These include...
In seating a student behind a desk, we as teachers and parents are anticipating that the child is physiologically ready, or soon will become ready, for the year’s tasks. But realistically, every child will struggle with some aspect of the academic environment: it might be a challenge to sit in balance, or to listen quietly, or to muster the fine motor skills for writing. Thus, we must remember that through movement, every child can be helped in some way to reach his or her full potential.
From early childhood through high school, experience has shown that classes of students who are provided with appropriate daily movement activities are able to move ahead more solidly. Benefits of these activities include:
Gym & Developmental
June 29 to July 6, 2014
at Aurora Waldorf School
(Buffalo NY area) - please note that the class size is limited.
The learning goal of this course is to enrich and enliven teaching approaches, starting with the insights of Rudolf Steiner a century ago and then linking these to more recent research and methods. The emphasis will be on activities for grades 1 to 4, but we will also experience how these transform for older classes.
We will examine the foundations of healthy development that occur through movement, and experience how these foundations can be joyfully built through ‘old time’ gym, schoolyard and backyard games once played by children all over the world. Thousands of such activities are to be found in books for gym teachers and recreation directors published between 1910 and 1950. Each day will include five hours of movement and two hours of supporting pedagogical theory. Sessions will include techniques for identifying needs, planning lessons around individual or class problems, sensory integration, addressing specific academic/developmental goals. Following is an outline of the course content.
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About the first session - June 2013
From June 23rd to 30th, a very lively group convened at Aurora Waldorf School to participate in what they began to call “games boot camp” - every day beginning with 90 minutes of classroom study followed by four 90-minute periods of experiential learning. Attendees included movement teachers, class teachers, remedial teachers - from public and private Waldorf schools. There were 3 from Hawaii, 1 each from Alaska, Florida, British Columbia, Maine... and others from many points in between. Backgrounds ranged from just-beginning teachers to pedagogical leaders with many years of experience.
Comments from participants in the summer 2013 intensive...
"Working with Jeff gave me the best tools to look at my students's needs as shown in their movement. As a eurythmy teacher I don't regularly use the games he taught us, but I can transform them for my practice. Jeff's approach is an indispensable basis for any teacher using movement as a healthy path for learning." L.B.S. (references on request)
“I am so grateful for having taken your course. I enjoyed learning the games and the experience of the movement. I experienced a healthy, deep, balanced tiredness from doing your sequence of activities…” L.N.
“...The written resources that Jeff provided us with are very comprehensive and well organized and they now serve as the basis for my teaching movement to children from Grades 1-5. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to have greater understanding and repertoire….” M.N.
"Always the one to try to escape P.E. classes in my youth, I never expected to find so much joy participating in a full week of intense games. This was truly hands-on learning at its best, with a devoted, inspiring teacher... Multiple chances to see AWS children benefiting from Jeff's incredible program were a highlight…" D.F.
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Latest additions & updates
Boys and Girls in Movement
Stereotypes and Archetypes - Balancing Gender Needs in Elementary School Movement
Although boys and girls have many developmental-movement needs in common, they also have important differences in the ways they use movement to structurally organize their perception of and contact with the world. These needs that should be addressed in our Waldorf classrooms, schoolyards and games classes. My goal in this article is to review perspectives on this vital topic, from a number of informative sources; to see how these seemingly disparate sources might be connected; and, I hope, to inspire further research and discussion at your school. —> READ PDF
Two great new (old) articles on development through play & movement
I recently came across these two chapters in a 1984 anthology titled Child's Play and Play Therapy, edited by Anthony D. Pellegrini. If you are searching for ways to answer the frequent questions about movement goals and delaying team sports, I think you will find these both quite helpful. The chart above summarizes these ideas. —> Click here for a pdf file of this chart.
Motor Development and Children's Play - contains powerful material about developing capacities before specialized skills. —> Read it!
The Young Child's Play and Social and Emotional Development - so often parents need encouragement to remember that ages birth to nine are an important window for development of right-brain strengths, and that emphasis during these years on left-brain specialization can narrow this window. —> Read it!
Cold & Spicy Buffalo Style Yogaball
Here's a rough and tumble game that can be played in grades 2 through 5, when the snow is soft enough and snowsuits provide padding. All you need is four cones to mark the two end zones, and a 24" yoga ball. After a kickoff, players can shove, roll, carry or throw the ball across the goal line. Usually a few players will self-assign as goalies. The rules are: no kicking after the kickoff, no neck or head grabs, and don't hurt anyone... very much! (Say that with a knowing smile on your face, and send anyone who's playing too rough to the "penalty box".)
The Art of Roughhousing
This wonderful book shows how rough-and-tumble play can nurture close connections, solve behavior problems, boost confidence, and more. —> BOOKS
OUT OF PRINT BOOKS
Child's Play 3
Wil van Haren and Rudolf Kischnick, England, 1994. A classic Waldorf games book, packed with activities and insights for children and teenagers. (Child's Play 1 and 2 is still available).