I know we’ve talked a little about some of the exercises that we can do for certain ages (there will be more to come). But let’s talk a little about what a full lesson looks like. I know some of you are screaming, “Wait! We didn’t talk about my child’s age group yet!” I know. Hold tight for just a bit. We WILL get to all the other grades, I promise! I just want to give this simple run down of the lesson flow before things get more involved and detailed with the older grades. So, for a homeschooler, the lesson can be a bit shorter if needs be. But no matter whether you are doing a shorter lesson or longer, the Eurythmy lesson will always have it’s own in-breath and out-breath. I will break it down further for you, but it looks something like this:
1- Call the lesson to order.
2- Some type of warm up.
3- Main Eurythmy Lesson (as the classes get older, there will be a thinking, feeling, and willing sections added)
4- Some type of closing
5- a quiet moment of reflection
Now for more explanation as to what this all means. So the first thing we do is call the children to order. In a Waldorf school, as the children come in to the Eurythmy classroom and change their shoes, the teacher calls them to order by having some sort of opening. It might be a verse or a song that when the children hear, they know it’s time to get into position (whether they make a circle or whatever you want them to do). I try to keep this the same all year long so the childten know exactly what is expected of them when they hear it. No surprises! For my classes I sing a song and have the children gather in a circle. The older classes, I start the song, which they finish singing as I go around the room and shake hands with each child, calling them all by name with a short comment.
Next is a warm up. This either wakes their limbs or focuses their limbs, depending on what they were doing before Eurythmy lesson. Do they need to be awakened or do they need to bring in their focus? I like to do the warm-up exercise(here) with my older children, or something like the Left-Right Activity (here) for my younger children. I have also done hand slapping games or bean bag activities. I use waldorfteacherresources.com a lot for my warm-ups.
Then we do our main Eurythmy lesson. This is where you will apply all those exercises I have been talking about in my other posts. This is geared directly to their age group and what they are needing at the time. This is the section where thinking, feeling, willing is applied. Thinking could be a story with gestures for first graders. Feeling could be second graders learning beat with Nanabush game. And willing could be form walking or learning with copper rods. These are just a few examples. If you have a lot of active children, you will want to move between a lot of activities very frequently to keep their attention. A lesson I learned the hard way! They will not want to concentrate on something for too long.
Then we have some type of closing. It could be a song or a verse that signals to the children what you would like them to do (gather back in a circle if they are scattered) and that the lesson is drawing to an end. Again, you might want to keep this the same all year long so the children know exactly what is expected of them, no excuses. And again, waldorfteacherresources.com is a great place to not just get verses and songs, but you can hear them too!
Now for a moment of quiet pondering. All age groups are expected to do this. I make it fun for the younger children though. I have them see if they can make their ears magic. (from Eurythmy by Sylvia Bardt). For the older ones we do Yoga Nidra (sleep mediation). This is so good for children to have this quiet moment. Not only does it bring peace and calm to their bodies but it has a healing effect on their minds and ears. It’s especially good if the children are TV damaged! They need this healing so much!
When the quiet moment is over, I either signal this with a short song or verse, and for older classes I shake hands with each child as they leave, for youngers I lead them out with a circle and song and give them back to their teacher (or if at home lead them to the table for painting or music or whatever is next).
So as you can see, it has it’s own in-breath and out-breath. It is better to keep these lessons shorter at first. You can build on them with time, but it is better to have a short successful lesson then have a full long lesson planned out that falls to pieces because no one knows quite what to expect yet. From start to finish lessons will should only be about 15 minutes for up to age four, 20-30 minutes for ages five to six, 30-45 minutes for ages seven to nine, and 45-60 minutes for older ages. Like I said though, it would be ok if, for example, your 9 year olds only had 20 minutes to start. Tell them what is expected with each song or transition and have them practice. Once they seem to know what is going on, start adding exercises to the lesson. This will assure success and fun and the children will want to please you! I hope this helps a bit to get you started in planning those Eurythmy lessons. There will be more detailed activities to come in future posts. I just wanted to lay it out for those of you that have younger children with exercises that are ready to roll! Good luck and remember to breathe and have fun. Because that is what matters!
art by Marie Hall
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