Else Gottgens wrote about her experience in observing many Waldorf classrooms in Chapter Three of our book, “Waldorf Education in Practice”.
“So, as a mentor, what did I see in too many classes where I was asked to observe?
And then, 20 minutes later: Mayhem!”
The mayhem often began with “circle”. “Circle” , in the grades, is supposed to be a warm-up. In Else Gottgens’ mind, many of the exercises, such as singing, reciting, finger plays, etc, actually can be done better behind the desk, facing the teacher!
The author then wrote about including exercises that make the children conscious of their feet and legs and finger games, speech and singing, concentration exercises for listening, and exercises to nourish the Twelve Senses. She debunked the notion that circle is a music lesson, a gym lesson, a speech lesson, a flute lesson and/or a math lesson all in one. In fact, she wrote: “The children should be moving a lot more during other parts of the Main Lesson.” This is for grades one through three, and very important! Imitation as a force in the early grades is waning, albeit a large part of children until the nine year change, but authority comes to the fore in this period of childhood development. The teacher no longer has to demonstrate and do everything with the child, but show the child and sometimes join in and sometimes step back and observe the child! Continue reading