In the Waldorf school every child learns to draw, to paint, to sing, to play the flute and soon other instruments, so why not to the theater? Why not the art of the play?
In every grade near the end of the year a Waldorf class performs their class play. It is an opportunity for the students to give a gift to the school community and to their parents. It is an opportunity for the class to prepare, present and to show themselves as a class.
A play is not a simple thing, but it has many moving parts: costumes and sets, backdrops and props and of course the acting, the words and gestures of the children on stage. The play, like the other arts mentioned, draws out, develops and cultivates specific faculties in the human being by presenting certain unique challenges, offering beneficial gifts.
In the first grade it is in the form of a circle, not bringing too much consciousness to the children and then through to the eighth grade where these same students stand before the school community, in make up, under lights, speaking pages of dialogue and bringing their characters to life confident and strong.
And so each year, as the play is prepared and performed, it grows in complexity and sophistication. No matter the grade; the first grade play, the fourth grade play, the eighth grade play, all take on a special importance for the performing students. All are rites of passage as they announce this class to the community. The class play is a tradition honored and anticipated by the students, a moment of growth and ritual.