Eurythmy for Children
Eurythmy and Education: Pedagogical Eurythmy*
“I see every young child as a fresh new visitor from the spiritual worlds. When I look into the eyes of an infant, I can see the stars shining as if I am looking into the deep canopy of the night skies.
Each child must gradually become accustomed to living on the earth. Children must gradually learn the skills of using the body, developing a sense for space, movement and balance, and large and small motor skills. They must learn to integrate the multitude of sensory experiences that come to them at every moment, and they must be able to do so effortlessly. Upon the basis of a healthy constitution they can then develop the capacities of healthy thinking, feeling and willing.
It is a wonderful thing to accompany this process with “children’s,” or “pedagogical” Eurythmy, an age-appropriate curriculum of Eurythmy exercises that supports and stimulates the development of the growing human being from age three through puberty and adolescence to adulthood. These Eurythmy lessons are geared to give the growing children movements that integrate body, soul and spirit in a way that will allow them to feel comfortable, coordinated, harmonious and expressive in their bodies.
These lessons are generally not long, but are rich with imagery music, poetry and story. They have been prepared with great care so that they offer a rich variety of content and opportunity. The teacher does not explain Eurythmy, nor even offer cosmic imaginations for the sounds and experiences, but rather invites the participants to enter into the movement experience through imitation and gradual mastery of movement.
For this reason, Eurythmy has been an essential element of every Waldorf school experience for nearly 100 years, offering the somatic (body-based) component of education. Eurythmy classes not only support the development of each individual child; they also provide the opportunity for the children to grasp their academic subjects—including math, geometry, science, language arts and cultural studies—through full-body experiences.
It can only be hoped that Eurythmy will become available to more and more young people, beyond the Waldorf school curriculum.