Children need to move their whole bodies in big and small ways. Being an urban school, we are especially aware of the need for activities that meet the need for gross motor movement. Much of our play encourages large-scale activity. Stumps and wooden crates need to be hefted into position in order to build a house. Stones need to be brought to the site so that the cloth can be stretched to the perfect tautness. Outside, tunnels are dug deep into the sand, and whole rabbit warrens suddenly appear. The children are thus engaged in these large motor activities for a good part of the kindergarten morning.
The traditional household tasks also meet the child’s need to move – sweeping the floor with a broom, polishing and dusting, scrubbing cloths using a real washboard and hanging wet laundry out to dry are all opportunities to develop finesse and strength in movement.
Once a week every kindergarten class goes on a daylong hike into the Presidio. The natural world offers us rich possibilities for movement – there are trees to be climbed, large branches to be arranged into teepees, and hills to be rolled down. The hike itself offers an experience of the rhythm and vigor of walking.
Once a week, all kindergartens also participate in eurythmy, a movement art.
Fine motor skills are also practiced in the kindergarten. Painting day, seasonal crafts, and drawing all offer artistic experiences where fine motor skills are required. Soup-making day has its own requirement of dexterity with a knife of just the right size, and a pile of vegetables that wait to be transformed into a healthy snack. And kneading the dough as we prepare our weekly bread helps us find strength and agility in our hands.