The Feeling Stage: Part 1 (Class 1 and 2)

So folks, you’ve had a lot to think about over these last 2 weeks. I hope some of you were able to apply some of the things we have been talking about. If it still seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. This is a lot of information I am giving to you at one time. Once you understand all these basics, it will come easier. And we will be able to have a lot of fun!

So, The Feeling Stage relates mostly to the plant kingdom. What does this mean? Glad you asked. Think about plants. They are one step above the mineral kingdom. They have the ability to assimilate water, air, and sunlight into food! Plants that are cultivated, rely on the gardener to provide the right environment to grow healthy. So do children in this stage. They rely on us to create a thriving environment. They then assimilate their surrounding world and transform it into something they can use. The plant kingdom consists of grades one through seven. “The inner world of the child between seven and fourteen is full of living, mobile pictures, and, like the plants, the innocence of their inner life is what is most characteristic.” –Reg Down

So let’s take a look at the first group of this plantlike kingdom in the Feeling Stage. The second half of grade 1 (those that have gone through the 6 year old change) and second grade. Like I said before, these children are just discovering that they can affect the world around them; that they are separate from nature. They start to have all sorts of new feelings and emotions stirred up inside them. Not only can they affect the world around them, but that the world can have an imprint on them as well. This can be scary! So how do we, as their “gardeners” create a healthy, happy environment for them? Let’s talk about some fun things we can do with them!

First Grade (after 6 year old change): You can continue to do stories like in Kindy and the first half of Grade One, but it’s probably best to tell a shorter story so you can have the remainder of the lesson to do other things. Here is an example of some of the other things you can do: The Kingdom of Straight and Curves (from Leaving Room for the Angels by Reg Down) is a fun one. You can lay copper rods in a spiral fashion and have the children walk the stairs up the spiral staircase to the Kingdom of Straight and Curves where they learn to walk different forms like circle, square, triangle, gliding figure eight, etc. Another thing you can do is mirror image forms. Partner the children up and have them walk forms, following their partner as if in a mirror. This gives them some perception of spacial awareness. And then there are always copper rod exercises and games that you can do with them.

Second Grade: You can follow the same pattern and outline as First Grade with additional exercises for these guys! Second Graders are still in that dreamy imaginative state. The curriculum for this grade focuses on animal stories, fables, and saints. So the stories used for this grade really have a wide variety. Again, keep the stories short. You can also use the curriculum for exercises in Eurythmy. For example, one of my favorite Nanabush and Dancing Ducksexercises is based on the story of “Nanabush and the Close Your Eyes Dance.” (Idea from Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades by Francine Adams.) This game can be used to teach beat or rhythm. Nanabush, as the legend goes, was the creator of the earth, sent to the earth to live. But in his mortal state, Nanabush becomes greedy and selfish and learns a lot of hard lessons. The “Close Your Eyes Dance” is an Ojibwe Legend of learning to not be greedy. So Nanabush gets tricked by ducks a lot since that seems to be one of his favorite foods. He is always trying to trick them, but they somehow always foil his plans! In this story, Nanabush was just defeated by the ducks. He is very sad and hungry. He sits all alone by the river, watching the ducks swim around, thinking about how hungry he is and how yummy these ducks would taste. He starts beating his drum to take his mind off things. Then he starts dancing. A nearby duck notices him and asks what he is doing. Annoyed, Nanabush tells the duck to go away and leave him alone! The duck insists on knowing what he is doing and wants to participate. Nanabush gets an idea! He plans on tricking this duck right into the fire! So he tells the duck that if he wants to participate, the duck MUST do it the exact way he tells him. The duck thinks it looks like so much fun that he agrees. Nanabush tells him, he must dance around the fire in a circle, but he must keep his eyes closed. So the duck does it. Other ducks see and join in. Soon, Nanabush has dozens of ducks, all with their eyes closed, dancing around his fire. Nanabush starts picking them off one by one and throwing them in the fire to cook. One duck gets curious and opens his eyes to see what is happening. He quacks a loud warning and it sends all the ducks flying away. Nanabush laughs and is not worried because he was able to get most of the ducks. He has so many ducks that it will take a very long time to cook. So he decides to take a nap, but he sleeps so long that the ducks burn to a char. Nanabush has no ducks to eat. He shouldn’t have been so greedy. He should have only taken what he needed to feed his hunger. So the game goes like this. You choose one child to be Nanabush. He stands in the middle while the rest of the children step to the beat that you are thumping. To keep a beat for stepping, you could use a drum or sticks, or even clap a beat or rhythm. The children step to the beat around Nanabush. Without the “Nanabush” seeing, you wink at a child that is designated the alarm duck. One by one, the “Nanabush” pulls children into the middle of the circle. If “Nanabush” reaches for the alarm duck child, that child quacks loudly and “flies” away, flapping his wings. The rest of the children still walking the circle follow suit, quacking loudly and flying away.

So as you can see, the children in the Feeling Stage are very much like the plant kingdom. They live in their imaginations and thrive or fail in the environment we provide for them. I hope these examples I have given you will help jump start your own creativity with ways to teach your children and bring Eurythmy into your home


Nanabush and the dancing ducks art by Daphne Odjig. You read more about her at

The Willing Stage

Welcome to the Willing Stage! This is a fun time! It is all about the imagination. Children in this stage live very much in their imaginations. Their imaginations ARE their reality so we must be very careful what we chose to present to them. The stories and activities that you chose for your lessons are going to change about every 3 months. These lessons are going to be seasonal. It helps the children to really connect with nature. So now let’s take a closer look at this Willing stage. It consists of 3 groups, Ages 0-3, Ages 3-5, Ages 6-7ish.

Let’s take a closer look at the Age 0-3 group.  . This age is fully immersed in the Willing Stage. Like we have mentioned before, they are trying to will their bodies to move! They are working mostly on gross motor skills. This age group doesn’t need any formal Eurythmy instruction unless therapy is needed because of prematurity or disabilities. But there are things you can do that will prepare them for formal Eurythmy later. And these things are activities we probably already do with our little ones. You’ll want to spend at least 15-20 minutes with them. Movement games and finger plays are what we want to focus on for this age group. For example, movement games like “London Bridges,” “Ring Around the Rosies,” and “The Wheels on the Bus” are great for this group. Some examples of finger plays that you can do are “Where is Thumbkin,” “This Little Piggy,” and “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.” As you can see, these are probably things you are doing with your children that are this age anyway. But now you can do it with the knowledge that it will prepare them for Eurythmy ahead!

Now let’s break down the Age 3-5 group.  This group is still very simple, but we can add a little Eurythmy twist now! This group is working very hard to build fine motor skills. They long to jump, skip, and clap. These children live in their imagination. Their imaginations ARE their reality, so we must take care in choosing stories that will help build them up. Their lessons will be about 20 minutes. Children vary differently at this age, so you must learn to “read” them to know how long to make your lesson. At this age, we are telling stories and doing eurythmy gestures and motions. And while the children don’t know they are doing actual Eurythmy gestures, it is of no consequence. What is important is that they are moving and getting full range of motion with their movements! We can tell stories that help them live in their imaginations and help them “put on” these parts. I encourage you to use seasonal stories. The children thrive on these!
EXAMPLE: I tell a story I call, “Little Brown Brother” (from a book called Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades by Francine Adams.) The story starts with the children standing in a circle. I am the farmer. I come around and “plant” each child into the ground (they kneel on the floor, their heads down). I start reciting the poem and while doing so, touch the children on by one on the head (when I do, they sit up and start to “grow”). Then as the poem/story goes on, they come to a standing position. We come to a point in the story where everyone gets to describe what kind of flower they have turned in to. They say what kind of flower they are and act like that flower the best they can.  Sometimes they stand tall with arms out like a bright sunflower.  Sometimes they squat close to the ground like a small purple pansies.  Its wherever their imaginations take them! Then at the end of the story, we sing a song about flowers or spring while clapping to beat and bring the lesson to an end. Fun and simple!

So let’s look at this last group, Age 6-7ish.  This group is probably the most difficult of all the groups.  At least in my experience.  This is the first grade year.  So sometime during this year, these children are going to go through a 6-year old change. Which is why the age is 6 to 7ish.  Some children experience the change right after turning 6.  Some children don’t experience the change until very close to 7!  We must be watching for signs of maturity.  Have they lost teeth? Can they reach their arm over the top of their head and touch their ear without bending their necks to reach? Can they make a sun gesture (arms over the head in an “O”) without their arms touching any part of their heads?   If you answered yes to these questions, then they are ready for a more complicated Eurythmy Lesson and move into the Feeling Stage.  But if you answered no to the questions above, then they fit in this group.  The lessons are going to be roughly 30-40 minutes in length.  Again, we must “read” the children to know how long these lessons should be.  For the lessons, we can tell stories like the one from the previous age group, or we can start telling what is called, continual stories.  Reg Down has written books that are perfect for this!  Have you heard of Tip Toes Lightly?  Not just a cute little story!  It was written perfectly for Eurythmy!  So what we will do is one chapter per lesson.  Every lesson will start off the same and end the same.  For example, Tip Toes is awakened every morning by the sun and goes to wake up Jeremy Mouse who has a morning routine he must go through before starting the day.  He must comb his fur and brush his teeth, etc.  And then they come home in the evening in the same manner every lesson.  But the story in between will be different and offer some wonder and excitement for the children. Do big motions, jump over rivers, climb hills, weave through the trees of the forest (you can even designate some children as the trees)!

So as you can see, the Willing Stage is simple.  I recommend the book Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades by Francine Adams. You can get it at for free! It will help you understand these age groups (and up to Grade 8) much better. She even gives some examples of stories or activities you can use with your children as it relates to the curriculum. As you move forward, remember to relax and have fun! Eurythmy is not meant to be so serious. It is meant to be light and fun and even humorous at times! Good luck and HAVE FUN!





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The Thinking Stage

Coming Soon…

This post will be about the Thinking stage, from roughly age 11 (puberty) thru high school.  We will talk more in depth about each class (or age group) and give examples of what eurythmy exercises to do with each class.

  • Talk about how they are struggling to connect their feeling with their thinking and how eurythmy helps do that.





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The Developmental Stages of Eurythmy

So why do we practice Eurythmy with Waldorf education?  Movement has been felt in the child (and in each and every one of us) from the very beginning of its existence; in the womb, the baby feels its mother’s breathing, heartbeat, even her voice.  As they grow older, the birds, the wind, cars, everything around them is rhythm and song, and calls to their imagination.  When they’re teens, they start to develop self-awareness that can cause them to withdraw and hold back, afraid of anyone else seeing the real “me” and being criticized. Eurythmy allows them to express these feelings in a safe way and be validated in these feelings. Thus allowing them to blossom into the person they are striving to become.
In Waldorf education you hear “thinking-feeling-willing, thinking-feeling-willing” as the pattern over and over again.  For those of you who don’t know what this means, like I said before, Waldorf educates the whole child; thinking refers to the brain or within their head, feeling refers to what’s going on inside or what makes them tick and will motivate the child to learn best, willing refers to their hands or hands-on activities that build character.  So we see this pattern again and again.  You will see this pattern too in Eurythmy; however, thinking-feeling-willing is expressed backwards!  Let me explain…

From birth to roughly age 7 (the 6yo change), we focus on WILLING. Babies do it naturally by WILLING their little bodies to move. They are trying to get their arms and legs to move when they need them to. As they get older, they learn to jump, run, snap, all things that require coordination and skill. Because of this, their focus is very inward; therefore, their imagination is strong and realistic to them. As they play, for example, fairies and knights, they aren’t just creating an imaginative world, they ARE the fairies and knights.

From 7 to roughly 12 years (puberty), we shift our focus to FEELING. They realize they are full of feelings and emotions and through Eurythmy exercises, they learn how to control them and deal with them. They learn that their identities are separate from nature. Their imaginations start reaching out of themselves. They reenact scenes they have seen/heard (and can do so with toys). Now when they play fairies and knights, they are doing so with toys or puppets.  They still imagine in “space.”  For example, if the Eurythmy teacher were to tell a story, the class would be doing the motions with her.  If the teacher jumped over the river, all the children would wait to jump over the river in the exact spot the teacher did.  As they get more towards 11 years of age, their imaginations are much bigger and open and their coordination vastly improves.

From roughly 12 years (puberty) through high school, we start to focus on THINKING. They now learn that they can affect their environment and relationships around them. They can start imagining in “time.” For example, this time when the teacher tells the story and jumps over a river, they jump over the river AS the teacher jumps over the river. They can think bigger; the sky, the universe; and can remove themselves from it (THINKING again).  Each child is on their own path.  They no longer exist as a group.

Eurythmy helps to work with each of these developmental stages.  Each stage has a different need and therefore, the stories and movements will focus on different muscles and areas of their bodies and souls.  Eurythmy is fun and positive so it encourages the children to work through these clumsy stages when their limbs are growing faster than they can learn to move them!  Eurythmy gives the opportunity for creative thought and expression as they work through hormones that rage through their bodies at the onset of puberty and bring up feelings and thoughts they never even imagined!  Eurythmy helps develop the child in a way not found anywhere else.  This is why Eurythmy was created.  For artistic and therapeutic benefits to children (and adults as well)!





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