Fostering Free Movement in the Waldorf School

How free movement encourages the language development...and much more
How free movement fosters the development of language…and much more


     I love this work by artist Katherine Worel. It conveys so much. In fact, the artist has left it “untitled”. I find myself captivated by the lightness of being, the open gesture of the arms, and the almost “teetering” quality that the child presents. Teetering on uprightness and becoming the “I” in “I am” is a concept we work with in the Waldorf school. The open gesture of the arms is a reflection of the gestures in Eurythmy, a movement art we offer. It expresses, to me, how the young child remains somewhat above this world and ponders on touching down to earth; to learning and being self sufficient in the way that they must for their own individual growth and happiness.


The "I" gesture
The “I” gesture from Into the Henhouse

     The Gesture for “I”, or the sound “ee” is a long straight stretch, from the tips of one hand to the other. It’s the feeling of being drawn into polarities and awakening to oneself holding the balance between them. Individuality.

The "I" gesture
The “I” gesture from The Whole Child Education Centre

An introduction to Eurythmy:

In our speech Eurythmy, we can express the letter ‘A’ through an opening gesture or an ‘I’ through stretching.
 ‘B’ has an embracing character. There are, for each sound, specific movement gestures which express the quality of the sound. Imagine what you would see in the air if somebody is speaking a sound. Some people experimented with smoke – we can create a picture in the air if we are speaking a certain sound. For example, the ‘O’ was round and the ‘S’ sharp like a knife.

With Eurythmy gestures we create the same picture through our movement.

We make the spoken word visible.
That offers us the possibility to express the character of a poem or a story, as a living art piece.
Added to this, each sound has its healing potential. There are different sound sequences which calm us down or enliven us. For example, an ‘R’ sound gives us energy, 
a ‘D’ sound helps us to connect with the ground, an ‘L’ sound harmonizes and so on. 

Eurythmy always offers ways to balance and harmonize.”  

– from The Whole Child Education Centre, Manitoba

Copper eurythmy ball

     One way movement can support the healthy development of a child with visual impairments is through Eurythmy. Here is a wonderful video that expresses how we practice this in the Waldorf school throughout the grades, and how it reaches the child at each stage of growth. Enjoy!

    This is the first in a series of posts on movement. In my next installment, I will address movement related to Orientation & Mobility as well as the connection to language development. I wish you all a happy, healthy, joyful, and incredibly fruitful school year,