Games and movement are critical to shaping growth: physical, social, and emotional. That’s why physical education at Eastside Community School is not focused only on the benefits of exercise, but is a complete program of balanced spatial education.
In the lower grades, physical education ties into the overall focus on imagination; we strengthen the child’s spatial awareness with creative games that include string and clapping games, body geography, and bean bags, as well as circle and tag games. By the fourth grade, we satisfy children’s awakening intellects with games that achieve a task or solve a problem.
Fifth grade students practice for the regional Olympiad, a sports event that emphasizes grace, beauty and skill in the tradition of the ancient Greeks, to complement their academic study of ancient civilizations.
In middle school, students learn to position and conduct themselves in a team during games that use a sense of formation, while circus skills and gymnastics demand all-around skill, spatial awareness, and courage. A seventh and eighth grade regional track meet provides another opportunity for the students to challenge themselves as well as to meet students from local Waldorf schools.
Throughout their education at Eastside Community School, children take part in Eurythmy, a unique art developed by Rudolf Steiner with his wife, Marie von Sivers, where speech and music are interpreted through movement.
In the early grades, we channel children’s natural play into formed movement, where they learn to use and trust the movement of their own bodies by imitating Eurythmy instructors. Later, we guide them toward more exact movements in rhythm with the spoken word. The movement and quality of speech is explored through letters, then carried further via poetry and verse.
In the higher grades, students learn to move in different directions, form moving geometrical shapes, and to shape their movements based on musical tones and the sounds of the words in poetry. Group formations teach them to harmonize their own movements with those of a group. Exercises using copper rods help the body and mind cooperate and build strength and accuracy.