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:
The "three R's" are not equal:
Strengthening arithmetic capacities
Waldorf class teachers have exponentially more daily opportunities to take the pulse of each child’s language skill acquisition than is possible for math. From the morning greeting and choral verse to the final handshake, almost every hour in the classroom will provide many moments for formative assessment of grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing. But the number sense and its progress usually appear only during a fraction of the school day (and sometimes not every day).
This disparity of experience is probably even greater in most homes, because parents who regularly read to - and then with - their little children will easily form a general idea about progress. But especially in households or extended families where there is some skepticism about the Waldorf path to reading, daily story time might slide toward the dimension of analysis. Isn’t it true that, compared to arithmetic, there is much more parent awareness of and nervousness about reading in kindergarten and the younger grades?
In this article, I will try to present some ideas and suggestions for helping teachers (and parents) assess and support the foundational, pre-arithmetic skills that are essential to numeracy development in Kindergarten and the early grades.
—> Read article
Have You Heard About Waldorf Education?
by Jeff Tunkey
Or, more to the point, WHAT have you heard about Waldorf Education? My teaching friends and I have grinned or grimaced through so many depictions that are funny, off-base, mystifying, mortifying or exasperating that I want to try to ‘set the record straight’. Here are some of the top misconceptions you also may have heard about Waldorf schools and Steiner Education:
1. “It’s artistic” or “for artistic children.”
2. “It’s unstructured.”
3. “It’s for children with learning challenges.”
4. “It’s non-academic” (especially the perceived image of our kindergartens).
5. “They don’t start reading until third grade.”
6. “It’s way behind the times” because we’re still following the 1919 ideas of Rudolf Steiner.
And then, we have to deal with the 2015 season finale of The Simpsons television series, in which Homer rebels against Lisa’s desire to attend the fictional Springfield Waldorf School because “everyone at a Waldorf school has to wear a hat.”* Well… there definitely is at least... —> Read article
Education for Balance and Resilience
by Jeff Tunkey
Why do Waldorf Schools devote so much time – and salary lines! – to specialty subjects like Eurythmy, languages, handwork, woodwork, gardening, form drawing, painting, music and games? On top of that, why is the first twenty minutes or so of the daily main lesson devoted to movement and singing activities that seem sort of non-academic… and then why does the noontime usually include up to an hour for lunch and outdoor play?
—> Read pdf A full-page size poster of this graphic is on page 4 of the linked article.
New Course Offering - Summer 2018
Strengthening the Whole Class:
A deeper look at the foundations for
academic progress - July 1 to 6, Renewal Courses at Center for Anthroposophy, Wilton NH
The learning goal of this active, experiential course is to enrich and enliven the vital work of strengthening academic capacities through classroom and school-wide movement, drawing and painting exercises. These activities -- grounded in the work of Rudolf Steiner, Audrey McAllen, and others -- are clearly validated by modern science as pathways to physiologic and emotional development. Helping all students strengthen basics like postural control, spatial orientation, movement coordination, body geography, and confirmed dominance: these are not classroom “extras”, but can be as important as academic presentation, at least in the early grades.
-->Renewal Courses website
--> Dayplan for my course
The emphasis will be on developmental activities for grades 1 to 4, but participants will also experience how some of these transform for older classes. Pedagogical lectures will include:
• What is developmental movement? Brain pathways - math - reading - executive function resilience.
• Keys to movement needs. Learning challenges & mainstream labels. Fourfold human being.
• Hope, Love and Faith: applying Rudolf Steinerʼs Pedagogical Law with students and parents.
• Comparative movement needs and learning styles of boys and girls. Math - iron and the vestibular system.
• Postural control in the light of Anthroposophy. Competition & teasing.
Practical, hands-on movement and artistic sessions
In addition to these lecture presentations, the course will provide more than 20 hours of hands-on learning of activities for whole-class strengthening of academic capacities and readiness.
Who should attend
This course is designed to enhance the work of class teachers, pedagogical leaders, and remedial teachers, as well as movement teachers who want to deepen their understanding of the connections between development, movement, and academic capacities.
Two movies to inspire and rejuvenate!
These two movies are as good as it could possibly get in terms of rejuvenation and inspiration. They will each, in their own way, remind you why you're in teaching and help you remember the strengths you truly have. I've shown "Buck" to numerous teacher development workshops... and many of these teachers have shown it to their faculty meetings. —> Read my review
"To Be and To Have (Etre et Avoir)" is a chronicle which follows an academic year in the lives of twelve school kids, ages 4-10, who are taught every subject, from math to gym, by one single dedicated teacher, Georges Lopez.
Boys and Girls in Movement
Stereotypes and Archetypes - Balancing Gender Needs in Elementary School Movement, by Jeff Tunkey
I believe that boys and girls have different developmental movement needs, needs that should be addressed in our Waldorf classrooms, schoolyards and games classes; that while 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. 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 it