At Seattle Waldorf School, the physical education classes we offer align with student development throughout the grades and emphasize healthy development of physical and social skills, confidence, team collaboration, and sportsmanship. In the early grades, students play group games that exercise the imagination as well as the body. In grades 4 through 6, focus turns toward more cooperation and fun group competition. Students in grade 5 practice Greek Pentathlon skills as part of their academic curriculum and begin to learn the foundations of organized sports. In middle school, students participate more actively in team sports such as basketball, track and field, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee, and they begin to compete with other regional sports teams. These experiences prepare them for the increased challenges of high school sports, where they continue to hone their skills, build stamina, and experience the joys and nuances of competitive teamwork.
Because of its location in Seattle’s Magnuson Park on the shore of Lake Washington, Seattle Waldorf High School is able to offer additional specialized sports opportunities as part of the high school PE curriculum including sailing, paddle sports, and rock climbing! Through a new partnership with The Mountaineers, students have had access to introductory rock climbing classes where they learn the basics of bouldering, safe use of climbing gear, how to navigate anchors, and belaying. Rock climbing is also offered as part of the SWS Outdoor Adventures summer program for students in rising grades 4 through 10. See the SWS 2022 Summer Program catalog for more information.
Among the many benefits to rock climbing for students are challenging their own minds and bodies—how to test the mettle of their determination, to face fears, and work through a negative experience toward a desired outcome. Students also work together to encourage and support one another’s strength and celebrate one another’s creative fortitude. In addition, this form of movement cultivates a relationship with the Pacific Northwest bioregion and its many opportunities for outdoor and mountain recreation.
VIDEO BY MARY & JOEL DEJONG, FEATURING STUDENTS IN GRADES 9 & 10
FEATURED IMAGE: DRAWING OF CLIMBER BY RIVER, GRADE 9