A book is now available - consolidates and updates much of the past content of this website
Steiner Books or Amazon
Dear friends, about 8 years ago, I started this website as a way to collect and offer articles and resources that came to me from time to time during my teaching at Aurora Waldorf School, at the teacher development courses offered by the Association for a Healing Education, and during my independent summer intensives and workshop visits to other schools. This past year I picked back through all of this semi-organized material and put it into a more coherent format. As a result, a new book titled Educating for Balance and Resilience is now available from Steiner Books/Bell Pond Press. Because it incorporates updated/improved versions of many of the articles that have been on this website, I will be deleting some of the content you've found here in the past, leaving only items that are not in the book. But the remaining content definitely makes a good supplement to the book. Please use the contact page if you have questions or comments about this.
New article - Nov. 2020
Jumping rope supports academic and athletic foundations
A guide to early skill development
Jumping rope is such a popular childhood pastime all around the world that it may escape attention just how beneficial this activity can be for the physiological development of growing children, as well as for a school’s academic program. During this period of social distancing it’s especially important to note that jump rope routines can still provide a great curriculum cornerstone. Classes can work in distanced stations with individual ropes, to learn and practice skills and tricks – perhaps even without masks if there is enough space outdoors. And when/where appropriate, groups of three taking turns in long-rope or double dutch skills can maintain at least six feet of separation. Distance restrictions aside, regular periods of learning and practicing in the early grades will always provide your students with a “super boost” of capacity-strengthening benefits, including increased focus and self-regulation, and deeper organization for writing, reading and math capacities. In short, vigorous activity sets the stage for quiet learning.
The internet is a rich source of all the things that can be done with jump rope tricks and skill building once learners are past the beginning phases; a youtube video is worth a thousand words in this regard. The purpose of this article (parts of which are adapted from my book Educating for Balance and Resilience) is to offer further insights about the lesser-known ways that skipping contributes to athletic and academic foundations, as well as how to look for and help overcome some of the many little obstacles that your early beginners might display.
Rising popularity for young and old
Especially in recent years, schools around the world have “jumped on” a Heart Association educational and fundraising program that’s become one of their premier annual events. Hundreds of schools across the USA participate in “Jump Rope For Heart”. It has four simple goals:
Get kids active (by having them jump rope).
Educate kids about their hearts, and heart-healthy habits.
Raise money for cardiovascular research and outreach programs.
Teach kids the value of community service.
--> Full article pdf
Juggling - Steps to success
Distance learning environments take away many possibilities for the development of eye-hand coordination. Linked below are: a video of a juggling progression, and an instruction sheet. Since most students will not have juggling balls at home, I offer an easy homemade alternative that works very well.
Highlighting a few of the resources on this website
Two great 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. (Click here for a summary 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 skills, and that emphasis during these years on left-brain specialization can cloud this window. —> Read it!
Space is Human
from an article by Paul Matthews
In 1921 Fritz von Bothmer was asked by Rudolf Steiner to develop the gymnastic education at the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart. When Bothmer confessed to feeling somewhat inadequate for the task, Rudolf Steiner simply advised him to “be happy” in his work with the children. That is what he did; and gradually he evolved a series of gymnastic exercises. Bothmer did not start by imposing abstract theories onto movement. He started simply by moving. He started from the one question, “what is true human movement?” and grew from there, as we all can.
—> Read it!