Gymnastics…Steiner style

Rudolf Steiner asked Fritz von Bothmer to design a form of gymnastics for the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart in 1921.

According to one website, Bothmer initially refused to do what Steiner asked, saying he “felt inadequate for the task”.

Steiner urged him on, however, and nearly 100 years later, this is still a form of exercise for children at Steiner schools, not just in Germany, but in the UK too.

The curriculum book for Steiner schools goes in to detail about how Bothmer gymnastics is to be used for each year-group in school.

The overall aim of the movement curriculum (subtitled “games movement sport”) is to “support the central process of integrating the child’s soul-spiritual being with the bodily organisation through the medium of movement”.

I had never heard of this kind of gym before I saw the curriculum book, and have found there are several examples you can watch on the internet. Prepare to be amazed… by the inactivity of the participants. The amount of energy required seems to be minimal – unless the examples I saw are not representative.

On the plus side, parents will not have to spend out on games kit or leotards.



  1. Helen

    The example I selected is in fact one of the more energetic – although I think the jogging is the warm-up. Have a look at some of the other clips too.

  2. Helen

    On his blog Gregoire Perra says that Steiner wanted a way of introducing sport to comply with what normally went on in schools. So he invented a sport that wasn’t one! Steiner hated sport because he thought it would lead people away from anthroposophy; if they were disconnected from their body, they were disconnected from themselves, and therefore easier to control.
    Here is his new post

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