On just about any given weekday you will find Andrea Janisch leading classes in movement activities. Most parents know Andrea in her role as a house mother in Rock Crystal, but Andrea also has undergone four years of training in Spacial dynamics. This developmental gym program grows out of the work of Fritz Graf von Bothmer, the movement teacher at the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany. Together with Rudolf Steiner, von Bothmer created a physical education curriculum that continues to inspire teachers and therapists today. 

The Spacial dynamics website tells us that von Bothmer’s exercises, with their “quiet beauty and strong geometrical quality, offer both a sense of order and the possibility for experiencing the different dimensions or ‘planes’ of space. They also give a foundation for age-appropriate, developmental exercises for the growing child, teen, and adult.” If you look into the Blue Room during Andrea’s classes, you might see students crawling, running backwards, or rolling on the floor in a particular pattern. You might hear noisy laughter or witness every student raising and lowering their arms in silent harmony, a major accomplishment masked as a seemingly simple task.

Camphill Special School’s educational program recognizes the connection between physical movement and cognition. We know that providing opportunities for our students to engage in and master ordered sequences of movement will decrease anxiety, improve focus, and have a positive effect on academic progress. In turn, this increases self-esteem and contributes to a sense of self-worth. Naturally this helps the child to develop confidence when facing the next challenge. And our students are courageous!

Moving harmoniously with grace and intention is the goal of Andrea’s classes . . . oh, and having a lot of fun along the way!

by Becky Rutherford, teacher

Previous A visit from the good doctor
Next Heart, head, and hands: woodworking in our Waldorf curriculum