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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First Day of Co-op!

As I was gathering my materials in the morning to get ready to go to co-op, my 3 year old, we’ll call her Sugar Plum, saw the copper rods and said, “What’s that, mommy?”  I said, “Those are the copper rods for Eurythmy.”  Sugar Plum: “Oh!  For My-rhythmy?”  Me: “No, for Eurythmy that I do at co-op.  We are going to co-op today.”  Sugar Plum: “My-rhythmy at co-op today?!  Oh yay!”  Me: “Sure, Sugar Plum, sure…”  So I guess to a 3yo it’s not YOUR-rhythmy, it’s MY-rhythmy!!  So that was a great start to my day!  Gave me a good laugh!  Today was the first day for our co-op!  It went amazingly well! These kids are so intelligent.  Unfortunately I did not get any pictures because I was so busy with the kids.  Our co-op is broken into 3 different age groups (for time reasons and number of children).  We have our preschool/kindy group, Grade 1-3 (before the 9yo change), and Grade 4 and up (after 9yo change).

For the preschool/kindy class our main lesson was a story called, Autumn.  We talked about what season was getting ready to leave and what season was coming up.  Then we talked a little about Autumn and how different animals get ready for the winter during Autumn.  Then we had our story which was about the little animals growing cold and looking for Mother Earth’s cave.  When they found it, there was a little dwarf there to cover them and make them warm.  Then we sang a little song to put the animals to sleep.  Those kids were so mesmerized!  We did the motions to go with it and the kids really got into it.  You could see how they really lived in their imaginations!  They “put on” that animal or dwarf part.  I just love this stage!

For the Grade 1-3 class I told a story called Golden Apples.  I wanted them to know the story first before doing the motions because I want their help in recalling what will happen next.  This age also loves guessing at what kind of motion we will be doing.  And most of the time, their motions are very similar to the Eurythmy gesture!  That just shows you how natural it can be!   We also did some mirror image form walking.  First we had to travel to the “Kingdom of Straights and Curves” by walking a spiral.  Then for the mirror image part, we played a game called Horse training.  They had to prance like a pony along side their partner, down the middle of the isle, around the stables, and back up to the top where they started.  But you have to stay aligned with your partner!  This posed a great challenge for them, but they did not want to stop until they got it right!

For the Grade 4+ class, we did multiple things.  A lot of them are moving from the FEELING stage into the THINKING stage and need lots of movement of different kinds in order to connect their FEELING and THINKING together.  First I challenged them with the “warm up exercise” (look it up on YouTube, it is FANTASTIC)!  We had lots of laughs there!  Then we reviewed some letter gestures we learned last year, walked some basic forms (circle, triangle, square), then learned to walk them while always facing the audience!  They LOVED this challenge.  They kept finding that they were accidentally shrinking and growing and lop-siding the forms.  They wanted to keep at it until it was right!  Finally, we ended with some basic copper rod exercises and a game called “Tipping Towers” (you can find the description of this game under “Copper Rods”  tab of my website).   The kids LOVED it!

So overall, it was a great first day!  The kids had fun; I had fun! I know where I need to make improvements and what worked out great!  I can’t wait until next Monday!

My stories and activities today were from Movement for the Child Young by Estelle Breyer and Leaving Room for the Angels by Reg Down.

What is Eurythmy?

So some of you may be saying “What is Eurythmy?” I always laugh when people ask me this because there are no short answers. It is so simple and natural yet with so many layers!  Eurythmy is a form of artistic movement in Waldorf education.  It allows you to express your feelings and thoughts without words… words that pale in comparison to what is actually being felt.  Words put a limit on what and how you can express yourself.  Have you ever said, “I just don’t have the words to express how I feel.”  Eurythmy allows you to break free of that.  Rudolph Steiner says, “Eurythmy is an attempt to create a visible speech in such a living form that it will be able to reveal the experiences of the human soul more vividly and therefore more artistically than tone and speech themselves can reveal them.” So these movements are actual speaking. Like a good friend of mine roughly put it, “It’s like interpretive dance for phonetic sounds.” These movements are gestures that represent letters of the alphabet, colors, or musical tones. But this is just one layer! There is also form walking, copper rod exercises, soul gestures, moods, grammar and syntax, and more!  Now I know your head is probably spinning!  But if you just stay with me and follow me on my journey, I will try to the best of my knowledge to help you understand all these things.  Eurythmy really is natural and simple once you get to know it!  I will try to break it down bit by bit and give you little by little!




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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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