“The learning of a foreign language greatly depends on imitative musical abilities. Although they are somewhat ebbing from the change of teeth onwards, the language teacher can still make use of them in a most creative way.” – René M Querido, “A Creative Approach to Foreign Languages for Waldorf Teachers”
Seeing the creativity in the language teaching in all our Western Cape Waldorf Schools during the annual Class 5 Language Sharing, is always an enriching experience for both the children and teachers alike. Every year the Class 5 children travel to Constantia or Stellenbosch Waldorf School to share songs, dances and verses (or even a skit) in their two second languages: Afrikaans and isiXhosa (or English) . Not only is it thrilling to see others share their work, it is also the first time the children meet before joining each other again for the exciting Greek Olympics during their Class 6 year. This year Class 5 made name cards for the children of Zenzeleni and this was a wonderful way of anticipating who we are going to meet on the day of the sharing. After a few ice-breaker games the sharing of work commenced.
I always love seeing the children drink in each of the performances of the 6 other schools present. This year Zenzeleni Waldorf School started the sharing and it was lovely to see the ease with which they shared with us some of their Afrikaans and English work (their two second languages). After Stellenbosch Waldorf and Michael Oak Waldorf, it was Imhoff’s turn. Class 5 performed the well-known Afrikaans poem: Die Ossewa and showed everyone how to make tea in isiXhosa. Their rendition of a well-known isiXhosa song was very popular! The children’s faces lit up when they heard other children perform songs or verses that they know well themselves, even though it had a slightly different twist…
Spending a morning immersed in their second languages is a powerful support for the learning the children will undertake in these languages during their Class 6 and Class 7 year. Coming together as a community to celebrate the beauty and shared experience of undertaking this task opens up the possibility for deep appreciation.
“…language is a means of communication between human beings and it is perhaps one of the most important ones. It is also the gateway to understanding a particular folk which has its own genius, its own individuality, its own musicality and expresses itself in countless manifestations of everyday life.” – René M Querido, “A Creative Approach to Foreign Languages for Waldorf Teachers”
Ester Ruttmann, Afrikaans and Handwork Teacher