The Class Play at Cape Ann Waldorf School

Photos from the 2011 8th grade performed Shakespeare's "The WInter's Tale." 

The class play is an important part of the Waldorf curriculum, with roles chosen to develop students’ innate gifts. You will witness the high level of speech work that is cultivated and how nourishing the class play is for each child.  Every child performs a part and over the years, the class learns to work together as the production grows from a short 10-minute skit  in 1st grade to something as complex as a 90 minute Shakespeare play in 8th grade. 

Connie MacLeod, 3rd grade teacher, wrote eloquently in the newsletter about her class play this year.

Preparation for a class play begins long before the day it is first introduced to the students. The curriculum of the year and the children and their individual needs and developmental readiness must be observed and brought into consideration early in the process. The myriad of available stories or subjects are woven into the play experience for the class. The play then is tailored, whether borrowed or actually written by the class teacher, to meet all desired goals. The goals may be woven from social lessons, goals in speech, singing, or the many other possible benefits from performing a role in front of one‟s peers.

The third grade class play this year is a Johnny Appleseed play with few alterations on the cantata written by Arnold Logan, Johnny Hears the Call. Incorporated is a poem by Reeve Lindbergh. In combining the disciplines of speech and voice, both individual and in unison, the class is learning to work together in a coordinated effort to present a comprehensible tale. This story is relevant to their third grade year of farming and practical work as well as the social experience by proxy of learning to appreciate others and their differences.

Initially the class learned the poem orally, one stanza at a time over the course of several weeks. When the poem was partially learned the songs and the few lines were orally introduced and songs, lines, poem and a short introduction were memorized. A simple set was then put together and the students stood for the first time where it would be performed. The rest came together behind the magical veil of the theatre. Parts were adopted, movements and cues made evident, costumes put together, and the children, prepared and excited, wait for their cues behind the screen.

 

If you are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what putting on the 8th grade show involves, please click on the link in the sidebar, "Letter to 8th Grade Parents" from Director John Sarrouf.

The plays that are chosen compliment what is being studied in the classroom and typically follow the following pattern:  1st grade: a fairy tale; 2nd grade: a legend or fable; 3rd grade: a story from the Hebrew books of the Bible; 4th grade: a story from Norse mythology; 5th grade: a story from an Ancient Civilization, India through Greece; 6th grade: a Roman or Medieval story; 7th grade: a story from the Renaissance & Age of Discovery; 8th grade: class choice.


Everyone is welcome to attend the performances and it's a wonderful way to get to see what's ahead for your children and get to know the school a little better.  Please check the school events page to find the next play performance (play season usually runs January - May).