By Angela Del Franco, Phys Ed/ Movement Teacher Grades 1-8
The Greek Olympics, held this year on Friday May 26, 2023 included seven Waldorf Schools warmly welcomed at the Toronto Waldorf School. Each school was divided into six city-states and competed in six events: discus, jumping, javelin, running, sprinting, and wrestling - all in a single afternoon. The Olympics were held in honor of Zeus and athletes were requested to put their differences aside to compete in the games and be judged on their performance in all disciplines.
Each participant stood out in their own way, whether it was reciting an ode to the gods, presenting a discus as an offering to Apollo, throwing a javelin with precision to form a heavenly arch, or running as fast as Hermes with his Talaria of Mercury (winged sandals). Athletes received medals as a symbol of victory.
In the Fifth-Grade curriculum, students are challenged to develop new skills that encourage them to discover new abilities within themselves. Throughout the year, I have witnessed the students cultivate endurance, perseverance, and attention to detail through their training with the javelin and discus. They prioritize safety and discipline while striving to improve every day, bringing their best selves to each event. I am immensely proud and excited about the prospect of each student using these qualities in their future endeavours.
Ashton was chosen by his city-state leader and judge to perform the final demonstration in the long jump. He made an impressive leap, showing how much he had grown over the year.
Alla Markh, Grade 5 Class Teacher, also shares her thoughts and reflections below of observing and working with the children through this process.
We just wrapped up a sharing circle with the children, reflecting on the Greek Olympics, sharing memories of special moments, and having some good laughs. Greek Olympic is a profound and meaningful experience in the child's development, celebrating the height of their strength and stamina. As I watched the children during the Olympics, I could truly sense the beauty, strength, and endurance that an 11-year-old manifests. I was very proud of how well they did in all disciplines, how they supported each other and how stoically they handled a cold and (for many of them) sleepless night in a tent.