In addition, the “field of frustration” in which the child must travel to accomplish these dexterous tasks is a lesson for the child to explore the recipe of challenge, hard work, rhythm and success. In our modern “push button” age, these “will” forces are even more at risk and it is the gift of the Waldorf method that we slow the child down in order to learn the critical developmental task of working through frustration.
Handwork also becomes a time of community and a time to witness and respect each other’s art. Even the most rudimentary pieces offer textures and colors, which compel admiration from one’s peers.
Physical Education and Games
Children’s need and love for games and sports is recognized and met with regular, organized physical education classes as well as daily recess periods. Games and sports are coeducational and stress teamwork rather than competition. A wide variety of physical activities is offered including cooperative games, skating, cross country skiing, hiking, kite flying and jumping rope.
Students in all grades learn Eurythmy, a dance-like art form in which music or speech is expressed in bodily movement. Some characterize it as “visible song” or “visible speech.” Eurythmy was developed by Rudolf Steiner and is a part of the curriculum of all Waldorf schools. Children respond to its simple rhythms and exercises that help them strengthen and harmonize their bodies. Older students work out elaborate eurythmic representations of poetry, drama and music, thereby gaining a deeper perception of the compositions and writings. Eurythmy enhances coordination and strengthens the ability to listen and to work as a social group.
Children make simple, beautiful and practical objects concentrating on exactness, endurance and skillfulness.