Monday, April 2, 2007

Medieval Games

At the end of April the Cincinnati Waldorf School sixth grade will host the Medieval Games. Three Waldorf sixth grades, two from Michigan and one from Ohio, will join us here for a total of 80 students. It is a two day affair: Medieval feast and Medieval games.

THE FEAST: On Thursday evening we will host a Medieval feast and enjoy singing together around long banquet tables. In addition to the 80 students many families are traveling to see the event, so we expect well over 200 people to attend the feast! Each class will present a song or poem or selection from their class play to share with the crowd. My class will sing a Gregorian chant or two and perhaps play their alto recorders. The feast and festivities are being coordinated and created by a few incredible sixth grade parents who have researched Medieval food and entertainment in an effort to be as authentic as possible.

Following the feast, out of town students will spend the night with our sixth grade families.
Some of my students have requested out-of-town students that they remember from the fifth grade Pentathlon in Ann Arbor. Some students still write to each other and now can't wait for a two day reunion.

THE GAMES: On Friday morning we will gather for the Medieval games. These events have been coordinated and physically created in the woods of Meshewa Farm by a few other incredible sixth grade parents. Like the fifth grade Pentathlon which divided the students into Greek city-states, we will divide the classes into eight shires of ten students each. Unlike the Pentathlon which focuses on events that require physical precision, grace, and beauty, the Medieval games focuses on teamwork, mud, physical determination, mud, some skill, and more mud. Whereas the Pentathlon engages and challenges the fifth graders' physical and emotional state of balance and equanimity; the Medieval games meets the sixth graders who have grown into their physicality; into their limbs to be standing on the earth. Fifth graders look up to Mt. Olympus and the pantheon of gods and goddesses and sense beauty and perfection. Sixth graders look out into the world and at their peers and feel awkward and maybe a bit unsure. What better way to ease into adolescence than in the mud!?
Archery certainly requires skill and precision, and we are grateful that the Akron Waldorf School will bring their equipment and experts to teach the sixth graders. The other events are: the steeple chase which is basically an obstacle course through woods and streams; jousting which involves piggyback rides; tug-of-war which involves brute strength and perhaps mud; moat jumping which is jumping across wide and muddy streams; and the dungeon escape which involves trying to get your whole shire out from the middle of a web of ropes. I expect that the sixth graders will have a fantastic time and remember this event for years to come. I expect they will make friends, laugh a lot, and get really muddy!