Observing the challenges and blessings of Class Plays
Updated: May 11
The importance of a class play in the Waldorf curriculum is covered well in this article on Waldorf Publications. Over the last two weeks, I had a few opportunities to be immersed in the world of play production for the younger grades - 1, 2 and 3. I was most engaged with the grade 3 class play as we worked together to integrate a few eurythmy components in the play. With a tight timeline, limited stage availability, and highly active energies of the young ones, my level of appreciation for the work that all class teachers do on a daily basis, and especially through play season, has truly sky-rocketed!
As the above linked article highlights, there are many pedagogical reasons for doing class plays, and I was able to see many of them in action during my time of working with, and observing all three grades. The transformation that happens for the students and for the class teachers through engaging with these pedagogical stories, while also persevering individually and as a class through the myriad of challenges they face every step of the way is indeed remarkable. I observed how the sense of purpose and accomplishment that they experience, despite the challenges and vulnerability of sharing their insecurities and strengths on stage, works to break the barriers of fear and builds one's inner strength and confidence. Like many of Waldorf education's components, it is indeed quite a unique experience that builds capacities and leaves soul impressions that serve them through unknown ways in the present, and the future.
I personally extend a huge thank you to the grades 1, 2 and 3 class teachers, Ryan Makin, Baghael Kaur, and Susie Habermehl-Chin, for involving me to some extent or other in their class plays, whether it was simply to observe the fun and challenging process of working on a class play, or working with them to integrate gestures and movement in the plays! Also a huge thank you to all the class parents who contributed much of their time and efforts for all the costumes, sets, stage, and social time arrangements after the evening performances for the families! I also had the chance to see one such parent in action during the grade 3 play production and was in awe of how much time and energy parents contribute, with much joy and enthusiasm! In addition to the hours she spent on finding, adjusting, and creating costume pieces, Sophie Lee, grade 3 class parent was present during many main lessons, and all of the dress rehearsals to transform the grade 3 students into beings from another era! It was a pleasure and delight to work with her, and see her in action. Working as a team of three adults doing many things at once with 20 nine year-old children was a joyful experience, leaving us all wondering how any one person does it on her/his own! Cheers to you all!
Congratulations to all the grades, most recently, grade 2 and 3 classes who have already performed their plays (with much nervous excitement and enthusiasm) to raving audiences, and all the best to the grade 1 class that will be sharing their play with a limited privileged audience of parents, subject teachers and admin staff, next week (although, I think they are all definitely ready for broadway)! Further best wishes go out to the grade 7 and grade 5 classes for their upcoming plays! We know, understand, and see the work you have ahead of you, and wish you all the best in the coming weeks for the hard work, and exciting transformative journey of the class play!