The educational support program at the East Bay Waldorf School is a comprehensive program that includes observation of classes, consultations with teachers and parents, and assessment and individual and group lessons with students.
Educational Support Teacher
The educational support teacher is involved in evaluating students, giving recommendations to teachers and parents, and working with students. The educational support teacher assists in determining Class One entrance. A screening for all second grade students takes place in the fall to observe movement, memory, and academic skill development. Teachers or parents may refer students for individual assessments as well. A small fee is charged for individual assessments. A meeting with the parent, class teacher, and educational support teacher takes place after each individual assessment. In this meeting an educational plan is created for the student. If appropriate, individual lessons are available at the school for a contracted fee. The fees set for lessons take into consideration the need for financial assistance. Referrals to professionals outside of the school may also be suggested, such as an anthroposophic physician, therapeutic eurythmist, tutor, or others.
Small group movement sessions for grades 1-3 may be held by the educational support teacher to help promote healthy brain development through participation in movement activities. These activities are presented through imaginations and games. Individual lessons are designed to meet the needs of each student. This may include tutorial work in academic subjects, sand tray work, movement activities from the Extra Lesson or Spatial Dynamics, or the wide variety of activities found in the Waldorf curriculum.
Sand Tray Activities
Sand tray activities support students by building organizational and communication skills. This creative and artistic work provides an opportunity for children to create stories while making a scene with multicultural figures in the sand. The stories are written down and read back to the child by the teacher in a warm and relaxed setting.
The Extra Lesson uses the archetypal makeup of the human being as a base for furthering the growth capacities within the student. Movement activities such as those in the Extra Lesson promote the development of the senses of touch, well-being, self-movement, and balance. These form the foundation for the integration and release of early reflexive movement patterns and midline barriers with which we are born, and the development of dominance, spatial orientation, body geography, and bilatral integration. Along with this integrative progression, there should be a ripening of the ability to discriminate. Discrimination is needed in developing a process for receiving, comprehending, and remembering information that comes to us through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic channels. The Extra Lesson exercises help to develop the integration and discrimination processes. As these processes mature, it allows the student to feel a stronger sense of self and level of confidence while building the capacity to focus and succeed in academic subjects.
Spacial Dynamics Movement Therapy
Spacial Dynamics enhances the growing human being's relationship to his/her body and surrounding space through appropriate movements and gestures. It makes use of the archetypal makeup of the human being and the forces within us that create movement. Part of these forces of movement are involved with the way that we carry ourselves while in movement and while stationary, including our posture. Other forces of movement have to do with the play and relationship between contracting into a point within and expanding out into the great periphery of the cosmos. Every movement requires a unique dynamic. Learning to initiate the spatial dynamic that best fits a situation allows for a sense of ease and freedom. Spacial Dynamics makes use of games, exercises, and movements on the body to help create the appropriate spacial dynamic for the person.
Therapeutic eurythmy has been practiced in clinics, schools, and hospitals in Europe for more than 60 years. By helping to integrate and balance the whole body, therapeutic eurythmy can be very helpful for children facing a variety of challenges, including coordination and attention difficulties. Through the use of practice movements coordinated with sounds, therapeutic eurythmy helps a child orient him/herself in space. Our therapeutic eurythmist is available to work with children and families through private arrangement.
Therapeutic eurythmy can be of great benefit when a normal, healthy balance has not been established or has been disturbed in some way. Depending upon which level needs addressing, specific eurythmy sounds or exercises are practiced to try to bring about a healthy balance in the child or the adult, as may be the case. This course of practice is usually determined with the help of a physician who has some understanding of therapeutic eurythmy. Some situations are easier than others and how the individual takes up these exercises influences the results achieved.