Nancy Blanning’s Review of Joyful Movement
“A new treasure is available to homeschoolers and Waldorf parents in Donna Simmons’ Joyful Movement, A Resource for Nurturing Balance, Movement and the Senses. It is woefully evident that young children are having a harder and harder time developing physical coordination and ease in movement, which normal childhood used to just naturally render. Likewise, more children are nervous and jittery, lacking a sense of comfort and security in the rhythms of their physical bodies and within the environment around them. Donna has addressed these issues in a warm, reassuring, sensible, and very practical way.
“The first part of the book gives a concise overview of development up to age 9. She also clearly describes the principles that Waldorf educators and parents have found to be effective in supporting and protecting the healthy development of young children. Donna’s observations offer a clear foundation for these thoughts. Included as well are suggested resources for further reading to deepen one’s understanding of these critical issues. Practical suggestions for bringing rhythmic activity in the lessons are clearly outlined. The importance of the children having access to the natural world is importantly emphasized. And a guide to creating your own backyard obstacle course is also included.
“More fun comes next. Over half of the book offers a compilation of verses, songs, and movement ideas to use with children. Some are familiar; others will be new to the reader. These contain rich language with good, strong rhythms to carry movement along; plus pictorial imaginations children can easily enter into. To find such material on one’s own would take hours of research in many different sources. Donna has done a real service in collecting these materials to make the task of educating and supporting the healthy development of our children a little easier and lots of fun.”
Reviewed by Nancy Blanning, Waldorf kindergarten teacher and therapeutic educator; teacher trainer; and co-author with Laurie Clark of Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures, Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Emphasis for Early Childhood.