The Importance of the Waldorf Class Play
“Through play-acting in the classroom and the production of the class play, the children enter deeply into the stories that they are enacting. They also begin a process of self-discovery and self-expression that can hardly be gained in any other way. In putting on a class play they join with others in a common artistic endeavor that calls forth mutual support and can lead to a deep sense that each person plays an important role, not only in the play but if life.“ - Linden Sturgis
The class play is a wonderful Waldorf School tradition that brings the entire school community together. All class teachers, students, parents and extended families can be included.
The play allows the teacher build the social strength of the class and reinforces several aspects of the curriculum. Preparing for the play changes the routine in a stimulating and artistic way that is a welcome break from the usual rhythm of the of the school year. Many artistic projects can be a part of preparations for the plays, such as creating paper maché masks and props, learning musical instrument pieces, voice and dance opportunities, set design, as well as sewing and fabric arts.
The play helps the class teacher to develop the skills and capacity of the students, and strengthens a sense of interdependence in the whole class while introducing a new form of the creativity, the dramatic arts. Some teachers elect to put on a play only every other year or every three years, it is entirely at the teacher’s discretion.
Teachers decide on the play and the cast. Often an unlikely candidate is chosen for a lead part and an obvious leader is chosen for a small part, which can surprise everyone. This can become an important way to shift class dynamics and stretch individual children’s abilities. The results stretch the child’s abilities and add to the artistic experience and sensibilities of the young artist. In the culture of North America, the preoccupation with “talent” and “genius,” or the personality-driven aspect of our culture can make it difficult to grasp why we do plays in a Waldorf classroom.
An effective pedagogical play is not judged by the same criteria as a mainstream production. The intention is beyond entertainment for an audience or for parents. Children learn to depend on each other in new ways and to discover their ability to take on different characters after deeply entering into a new stage persona. Students find new voices for themselves, new motivations, new friends, and a new appreciation for each other through their interactions on stage.
(February 08 2018) Why a Class Play in Waldorf in Schools? Excerpted from
[blog post} https://www.waldorfpublications.org/blogs/book-news/why-a-class-play-in-waldorf-schools