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:
Announcing the second session:
Gym & Developmental
Movement Intensive Week
June 29 to July 6, 2014
at Aurora Waldorf School (Buffalo NY area)
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.
NEW: Out-of-print book scans
As an educational service, pdf files have been created for a number of out-of-print books. Visit the main RESOURCES page to see all the articles, books, web links and other references available on this site, or jump to the Books page.
Gym/Games Curriculum and Goals, Grades 1 to 8
This article provides a general description of the movement program at Aurora Waldorf School; this outline is provided to the school's parents. One of the stated goals of the AWS movement program is to prepare every 8th Grade graduate with an ‘athletic generalist’ foundation of basic capacities and attitudes. We want to make it possible for any student to go on to competition at the high school level, if the desire is there. Quite a number of AWS graduates have gone on to play at the varsity level – some during their freshman years – in volleyball, track & field, cross country, tennis, wrestling, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming, football, soccer, crew, basketball, and more.
• Ability to work in “team learning” environment.
• Imitation and anticipation - the capacity to carefully...
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Taking Play Seriously
“Scientists who study play, in animals and humans alike, are developing a consensus view that play is something more than a way for restless kids to work off steam; more than a way for chubby kids to burn off calories; more than a frivolous luxury. Play, in their view, is a central part of neurological growth and development — one important way that children build complex, skilled, responsive, socially adept and cognitively flexible brains.” From an article titled “Taking Play Seriously” in the Feb. 17, 2008 New York Times Magazine. For the link to this article, and many others like it, visit the links page.
—> Movement News
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Apparatus Obstacle Course
A few times each school year in the tumbling program at Aurora Waldorf, we organize a high-activity, low-teaching apparatus obstacle course. That is, instead of the regular instructional periods for gymnastics in the lower grades, every so often on a given Tuesday we simply set up all of our apparatus in a loop of stations that the students can play on in free rotation. My thanks go to Maureen Curran for inspiring this lesson model.
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…”
“...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….”
"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…"
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A Model for an All-Grades Tumbling & Gymnastic Circus
At Aurora Waldorf School, we've had an annual all-school circus since 1995. Our movement program for grades 1 to 6 includes the typical quantity of two games/gym classes a week… but also a weekly tumbling/gymnastics class. The annual circus is the finale for the year's learning, and many of the performed activities are anticipated grade-specific stunts or skills. A gym program that includes a dedicated weekly class combining acrobatics, tumbling agilities and games, crawling relays, gymnastics skills, apparatus work, little wrestling matches, plus juggling and other circus skills can be a...
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