Throughout Waldorf curriculum healthy movement is cultivated with the understanding that movement is a basis for academic and social development. However, beginning in first grade, regular Games and Gym classes are specifically devoted to movement skills. The games and activities for each grade are determined by the curriculum and by the children’s physical and social development. The character of the games and activities is based in imagination and, later, the free mobility of the limbs.
In the first, second, and third grades, positive social interaction, inner and outer awareness, and an awareness of rhythms and their complexities are encouraged. In the third grade, the children experience a new self‐confidence and awareness of their individuality. Activities are introduced that stimulate balance and the body’s capabilities. For example, running is offered as an opportunity to express one’s free will; chasing, dodging, and tag games allow for awareness in all directions around one’s body and the ability to react to stimulus from all directions.
In the fourth through eighth grades, the children continue to play a wide variety of games and sports, and the goal of movement education during these years is to help the students move toward mastery over their physical body through cooperative and competitive play, and to overcome physical and social challenges in a healthy and joyful way.
The classes become more formal as the students learn and practice skills with an aim toward participation in movement events and athletics programs. The balance and beauty of the fifth grader is highlighted in Pentathlon, and the sixth grade Medieval Games allows students to test themselves. In seventh grade, the Explorers Tournament meets the students’ need for social interaction and understanding. The eighth grade focuses on modern day sports and activities. More advanced skills are introduced and, for the first time, students are divided into levels based upon their abilities.