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. I recently posted a new video of a typical Obstacle Course Day on my youtube channel. My thanks go to Maureen Curran for inspiring this lesson model.
—> Watch It…
Classroom Observation Forms and Ideas
In considering a developmental support program for a child, the broader, deeper and more objective that observations can be, of course the better. Also, carefully observing every child – not just the ones “we know” need remedial attention – never fails to reveal new understanding. On the following pages you will find a collection of observation points, forms and resources that I have used over the years to supplement the First Grade Readiness Screening and the Second Grade Extra Lesson Developmental Assessment processes that are standard at my school. These can be filled out by the class teacher and/or remedial teacher. A team effort is always the best!
A Model for an All-Grades Tumbling & Gymnastics 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 cornerstone for healthy classroom work; I can't imagine any other way of addressing so many developmental keys, especially for 7 to 12 year olds. An all-school circus program with a steady diet of these ingredients will promote the following and more.
• Postural Control
• Strengthening the four lower senses of Touch, Life, Movement and Balance.
• Spatial Orientation
• Integrating midline barriers
• Rough and tumble play - a key to the development of executive function/self-control, especially for boys.
• Balancing development in the lower triangle and upper triangle
• Cooperation - "interpersonal intelligence"
• Skill building; meeting age-appropriate movement standards
• The circus is not an organized sport but provides critical foundations for athletics of every type.
“Human Movement Through the Stages of Life”; and “Levity and Gravity” –
two classics by Olive Whicher
The power for movement springs not only from within the body; from the world circumference also comes the force whereby the body is held erect and enabled to move." This statement appeared in italics towards the beginning of an article by the present writer, called "Gravity and Levity in Human Movement", in the 1960 number of the Golden Blade. The theme-gravity and levity in human movement-was there developed to show how man, incarnated as a threefold being of body, soul and spirit, is poised between the centric forces of the earth and the ethereal. peripheral forces which work inward from universal space. These formative forces from the cosmos work in interplay with the earthly gravitational forces, and this comes to natural expression in the different kinds of movement of which the human body is capable.
To an awakened experience of the forces inherent in bodily movement, acquired perhaps through Eurythmy or through the kind of gymnastic exercise developed by Bothmer, the interplay of the upward-bearing cosmic forces with the downward-pulling gravitational force is self-evident. What was hitherto simply a fact of human experience is brought more and more to consciousness.