The Pentathlon

We're back from an incredible trip to "the olympics".

The Pentathlon is a carefully designed event meant to challenge and honor the many qualities of a child--social, artistic, and athletic. There were artistic events each day as well as athletic. The event began with each school giving an artistic presentation to the crowd. Here is part of Lou's class dancing the misirlou, a Greek dance. Lou and her friend accompanied on the violin.

After the performances, the children were divided into city-states. It was very exciting to find out who would be in each group, as from that point on, they were no longer with their classes. After some ice-breakers, they spent the day practicing the events--javelin, long jump, sprints, wrestling, and discus.

Each athletic event is designed and scored on the three-fold qualities of head, heart, and hand. For instance, in the sprint, the child is scored on how well she keeps her head up and eye on the end-game (head), the form/pace/rhythm of the run (heart), and of course, her speed and place at the end (hand). It's not just how fast they run or how far they jump, but also how they set themselves up and how they accomplish their goal.

It was virtually a silent day with the kids allowing each athlete to do his or her best--setting an individual score with which to challenge themselves the next day.

Lou at the javelin event--nice form!

At the end of the day, the children had a full evening where they designed their city-state banners, ate dinner with their new friends, heard a Greek story, and fell into bed (well, onto the floor--they slept in the classrooms at the school). Lou made it through the night. Hurrah!

Day 2 began with a big procession to the field house led by a drummer, Zeus, and Hera. Everyone was in tunics. This drummer was fantastic. He kept the energy going for the entire day.

Here's Lou with the Athens banner that they had made the night before.

After a beautiful opening ceremony, which included a drumming performance by the older students, the games began! Here is Lou landing her long jump.

The closing ceremony was just as moving as the opening. After a massive relay race filled with drumming, cheering, and energy, everyone settled down for the end. The judges gave each child a medal and reflected on the strengths they saw within throughout the two days.

The medals, made of clay, were sculpted by parents at the host school.

The children had all been learning a song back at their schools. They gathered and sang "Torch of Peace" as a group of 150. You would never have known that they had never sung it before as a large group.

The two days were fun for all the parents as well. Here are parents from Lou's class taking photos. We all had a good time. I, especially, had fun as I ran into old friends from other schools. Helen also had fun as she ran into siblings she had met when she was there 3 years ago. She was also called on to help the judges with some of the events.

We are so proud of Lou. Every child had challenges to meet and the teachers and judges quietly helped them to meet those challenges. For her, it was to spend the night with new friends and to run the sprints, marathon, and relay. She managed first place in one of the sprint heats and made it through the marathon without walking. She's home, exhausted, and still soaking it all in!

It is times like these when I am reminded of why we have given our children a Waldorf education.

softearthart  – (May 30, 2010 at 4:39 PM)  

Yes I agree, it is a special education, and your daughter thrives on it. cheers Marie

sarah  – (May 31, 2010 at 4:06 PM)  

Hooray, comments work for me again! Now I can tell you how wonderful these pictures are, and how I envy your girls going to such a fabulous Waldorf school. :-)

Teaching Handwork  – (June 3, 2010 at 9:37 AM)  

these are some great ideas! THank you for sharing. My oldest will be in 5th next year....I love the 5th grade curriculum

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