Students in Class 5, 6 and 7 have unique curriculum-centric festivals in which they partake each year. Our 5th graders participate in a Pentathlon, which correlates to their studies of Greek culture, history and mythology. Our 6th graders take part in Medieval games as a reference to their studies of Medieval times and history. Finally our 7th graders and SGWS host the Renaissance Faire each year to support class seven’s exploration of renaissance science, literature, culture and history.
Spring Garden Waldorf School collaborates with both the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor and the Cincinnati Waldorf School as we rotate the hosting of these events. As many as 6 other local Waldorf schools attend these events that each of our three schools collectively host. Ann Arbor hosts our Pentathlon, the Cincinnati Waldorf School hosts the Medieval games, and we at Spring Garden host the Renaissance Fair.
Because of this great coming together, students have an opportunity to make new friends as they are paired with peers from other schools to be their teammates during games and festivities.
This a coming-of-age competition and a celebration of grace, athleticism, sportsmanship and the upcoming independence of adolescence. Waldorf students study Greek history at the end of their fifth grade year, learning about the Gods and myths and also about historical Greece and its cultivation of democracy, philosophy and the arts. These lessons intertwine and culminate into a day when the intellectual meets the physical and academics reach a peak of relevancy in the student’s minds.
As the student’s come together with other schools to compete, they do not compete by school, but are instead combined together in cooperative relationships with new peers. All student are assigned to be part of one of four teams representing the Greek city-states of Thebe, Sparta, Corinth and Athens. From there they are directed to the stations of competition for one of the five classic Greek events — Javelin, Discus, Long Jump, Foot Racing and Greek wrestling.
The events are not scored on athletic performance alone, but instead on a number of factors including the athlete’s form (grace and beauty which the Greeks revered) and also on sportsmanship with the other players.
The Annual Medieval Games have a nickname — The Mud-Evil Games. It is delightful to watch our children have fun and play hard during this competition, which includes sport such as jousting, archery, moat jumping, and tug-of-war.
This is a hands on experience of sixth grade curriculum, which studies Medieval history in depth. Class Six children study the rise and fall of Rome and the affect Greek and Roman culture had on European civilization up through the Middle Ages.
As shared by our friends at the Cincinnati Waldorf School, “The event combines history, ethical conduct, Bardic Circle presentations of music and verse, and physical challenges in a Medieval tournament. The chivalry, steadfastness and valor that each student displays at the Medieval Games is truly amazing.”
Seventh graders in Waldorf Education study the Renaissance, which appropriately appeals to the emerging adolescent. After all, the Renaissance era’s innovative thinkers were voracious learners, just like our seventh graders, who are also emerging into a new era of questioning the status quo. It is no wonder this time in history is such engaging curriculum for our 13 year olds.
There is a feast the evening of arrival, as there is with all the hosted events. The following morning, multi-school teams are created and they begin to engage in activities to test their physical, mental, and artistic abilities and reflect upon their recent Renaissance studies.
Each event allows students to collaborate, using their different strengths in intellectual, artistic, and physical challenges. Activities include orienteering, a rope bridge, a trebuchet launch, chalk art station, and a tree climb along with various thought-provoking mental tasks along the journey.