Here is the picture of the true physical being of a twelve year old:
The forces of growth now become active in the bony system of the body. The muscles, which were previously bound up with the rhythmic system, become part of the mechanical working of the skeleton….Limb activity appears clumsy when this process begins, and this is made more complicated by the further accelerated growth of the physical body. The girls have already shown growth in their height and weight, but now it is the boys who take a turn and begin to make visible changes. If you watch closely, you will notice that the girls start to develop hips and the indentation of the waist, also the breasts begin to form. Other changes that are not as easy to see are fuller lips and the cheekbones, which begin to emerge from the skull. – Eurythmy for the Elementary Grade by Francine Adams
Rudolf Steiner talked about how this time, the sixth grade year, is a time where the bones are first perceptible. The child is moving into a heavier, more muscular, time of development. In this way, things like copper rod exercises as done in eurythmy in the Waldorf Schools show that the rod is indeed the extension of this perceptible bone and provide the challenge and precision a twelve year body needs. This year of sixth grade and being twelve is a time of challenge, precision, looking forward.
Many twelve- year-olds seem to detest movement outside of a favored sport or two, but they also seem to love a challenge. Something specific such as hiking, or learning a skill such as how to paddleboard or kayak, can really fill the child’s need for challenge. They really need you as a model to get out and be physical, and to be outside and be physical as a family. They need you to help initiate it all. In Waldorf Schools, gymnastics becomes an adjunct for geometry (Bothmer Gymnastics). We cannot bring that at home, but we can do our best to bring in movement and also a social experience, so important for twelve year olds.
So, there is this heaviness of the child on the earth that I just described, but there is also Continue reading