Those of you familiar with Waldorf Education and Waldorf homeschooling are undoubtedly familiar with eurythmy. I was recently cleaning out my bookshelves and stumbled upon the wonderful book, ‘Therapeutic Eurythmy for Children” with exercises by Anne-Maidlin Vogel. This is a fascinating book with a number of indications for children with noted “disharmonious conditions.” In this view, conditions are distinguished by cause that the therapeutic eurythmist seeks to recognize- is it an imbalance caused by challenges of modern life or an imbalance resulting from temperament (ie, sanguine-nervousness; phlegmatic – apathy; choleric – inactivity and frustration; melancholic -resignation)?
Learning disabilities, especially dyslexia and dyscalculia, are seen as motor disturbances of reflexes, coordination, symmetry caused by one of five things:
- Physical causes – ear infection, middle ear inflammation, anemia, eczema and resulting lack of deep sleep, visual challenges
- Psychological causes – inability to think in abstract (for example, the picture of the bear in first grade is not the consonant B for these children) ( also noted that such children often learn to read in 5th grade); lack of imaginative forces in play
- Excessive temperaments – must bring child into harmony with temperament between ages 7 and 14. Form drawing for the temperament, seating in a group according to temperament, matching songs and music with the temperament are all suggested.
- Children in shock – due to tragic life events, they also may give up on learning.
- Late developers – these children often do well in mathematics but cannot read well or write well. Spatial orientation may be weak; sometimes these children did not crawl as babies. “One should give these children time and then, all of a sudden, to everyone’s surprise, they learn overnight.”
The pages that follow offer some eurythmy exercises to address strengthening the will and rhythmical forces for children with these challenges and also suggestions for how to provide midline crossing of the eyes and work with the feet. It is intriguing reading; I am not sure it would make sense to a layperson with no background in eurythmy, but it would be a lovely book to look through and see what you think if you can find a copy.Those of you who have gone through Foundation Studies or worked with eurythmists in workshops would probably be able to get some use out of this book.