By: Dave Keenan, Games Teacher & Athletic Director
The art of play is an essential and fundamental aspect of Waldorf education and society as a whole. Learning to play age appropriate games and activities gives way to unlimited learning opportunities. The role of teachers and parents is to educate our children to become both healthy and intelligent members of society. What better way than through play! Students at WWCS play in games class, main lesson, recess and after school athletics.
When the child is in the younger grades, they play many imaginative and cooperative games. Circle games such as Cat, Mouse, House and London Bridges allow children to play different roles and ultimately gain self-confidence and more body awareness. Slowly, more skills are developed using jump ropes, balls, hopscotch, 4-square, and many other classics that enhance child development. Emphasis is placed on play and non- competitive environments, with activities like circus arts such as juggling, spinning plates, diabolos and acrobatics.
The 5th grade Olympiad (pentathlon) is a culminating event for the younger grades and includes the individual skills of Javelin, Long Jump, Discus, Running and Wrestling. In middle school at Wasatch, we teach competitive games and team sport as the child enters adolescence. Students participate and learn various activities such as pickleball, badminton, basketball,
volleyball, capture the flag and dodgeball.
Wasatch Waldorf is also developing a great after school Athletics Program where middle school students join a team, are coached through the sport, and then get to compete against other charter schools in the greater Salt Lake area. Currently our school offers Boys/Girls Volleyball, Boys/Girls Basketball, Coed Archery, Coed Ultimate Disc, and Boys/Girls Cross Country. One of the highlights this year was our Girls Cross Country Team winning the State Cross Country Meet!!
Play can be found historically in every culture, every era, and every age group around the world. But, the emphasis on age-appropriate types of play and engaging all children in play is unique in Waldorf schools. Whatever your age, don’t forget to go out and play! You’ll enjoy it and so will your children.
Simply said by legendary Pro NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker Mike Singletary: “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to PLAY”.