“Forge me with fire, a sword for my smiting
Fright to my foes and flames for my fighting
Shape me a shield forceful and fierce
Stalwart and shapely to fend against fears
Strike me a spear of speed as a shaft
Fearless to fly as a shot to the start
Staunch be my front against fury assailed
Strong be my soul where the feeble have failed.”
It seems like just yesterday that I was welcoming 24 fresh, eager little faces to Class 1. But it’s been a journey, quite a journey!
We have travelled through the kingdom of fairy tales, across the land of fables and legends, wandered in the Garden of Eden and now in Class 4 we find ourselves traversing the rugged terrains of the Vikings and Norsemen. Each of these paths (stories) meet the children and their developmental needs.
The 9 year old has left the “Garden of Eden”, left their oneness with nature and the carefreeness of childhood. They begin to feel a separateness – they are now meeting the world intellectually. They become aware of the challenges that lay before them.
It is our duty as teachers to help develop the children’s capacities to meet these challenges, face situations both in and out of the classroom that seem insurmountable and then experience the joy and gratification of overcoming them.
Faced with these challenges the 9/10 year looks for heroes and we find them in the characters of Norse mythology –
Odin for his wisdom; Thor for his strength; Loki for his inventiveness; and Tyr for his bravery to name but a few.
The stories told contain sacrifice, self-restraint, resisting temptation, waiting patiently for the right opportunity….qualities that seem not to be too fashionable in this day and age.
Norse mythology has been a topic of the Class Four curriculum in Steiner Waldorf education for over 70 years– because it contains possibilities of inner and outer development for all concerned, teachers and pupils.
We are halfway through this journey of Primary School with many more adventures to master. Each of these adventures are important parts to the wholesome development of the child, which is confirmed to the teacher every step of the way. But for now I am enjoying experiencing the rapture in which the children receive their daily lessons.