Grade 5 Greek Olympiad

The 5th Grade is often referred to as the “Golden Age” of childhood. At this stage of development students enter a period of enhanced consciousness and sense of self as individuals. In class, study is focused on the history and geography of Ancient India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt & Greece. The year culminates with the Greek Olympiad – a contest with grace, truth, beauty, and skill at its heart.

Vancouver Waldorf School | Gr 5 Olympiad | Javelin
Glory to thee, O Zeus, most powerful!
Give me courage to stand tall.
Glory to thee, Athena, of all the Gods most wise!
Give me strength to trust myself.
Glory to thee, golden Apollo, most radiant!
Give me beauty that I may honour your power.
Before the Gods I swear that
The words of my mouth and the deeds of my hands
Will reveal the purity of my heart.
Accept my efforts, I pray.

The Games

Last week our 5th Grade class, lead by Mrs. Johnston, traveled to Hope BC to compete in the Greek Olympiad, fashioned after the original Olympic Games in Greece. This annual event draws students from Waldorf schools from across BC and Alberta for a festive competition that complements 5th Grade studies.

The focus of these tournaments is on the harmony and beauty of form, the effective dynamic of the movement, and the potential to increase each child’s own individual level of performance with objective measurement. This way of play creates an enlivening and joyful experience, challenging the children to work towards greater harmony rather than challenging each other.


For the duration of the Olympiad, the students were divided into teams representing the Greek City‐States (Argos, Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Iolcus, Sparta, Thebes). The athletes spent most of their time with fellow city‐state athletes, and participated in every event (unless an injury prevented full participation). A King and a Queen accompanied each City-State, the Kings chaperoning the boys and the Queens chaperoning the girls.

Vancouver Waldorf School | Gr 5 Olympiad | Social

Events and Awards

The 5 Events participated in by the athletes are: Javelin, Discus, Long Jump, Running and Wrestling. Both technique and beauty were considered by the judges with a tolerance for individual style and physical differences. Students were recognized their speed, distance, grace and form in the events. We were fortunate to have a number of Spatial Dynamics experts who form a team of Judges headed by Graham Oslund and Les Tulloch.

This living history experience of the ancient Greek Olympics … is a time to honour the natural athlete in every child.

Garden City Waldorf PE teacher, Bonnie Bolz

Each athlete was honoured with a medallion of participation, and their unique contribution was pointed out quietly by the judges, queens and kings.

Vancouver Waldorf School | Gr 5 Olympiad | King and Queen

Social Aspect

Students at this age are at a threshold between the imaginative cooperative games of childhood and the competitive oppositional sports of adolescence. The 5th graders have fun, make new friends, and typically become more interested in the performances of others than obsessed with their own victory.

Each class shared a short presentation; a song, a musical presentation, a portion of a class play, or anything from the Greek block studies. In the past the students have written odes that can be shared at the Olympiad. All volunteers are asked to consider ways in which they may enrich and inspire the Olympians’ imaginations, and are encouraged all to embrace the ancient Greek dress and culture for the event!

Vancouver Waldorf School | Gr 5 Olympiad | Wrestling

Vancouver Waldorf School | Gr 5 Olympiad | AthenaMistress of gold‐crowed Festivals,
Olympia, Lady of Truth – your priests
with ceremony and with sacrifice
Honor Lord Zeus:
‘Bright Thunderer, what would have you
for those competing here? Their heart
seek praise for high accomplishments
and rest from pain.’
Truly, Zeus sends to men
who honour him, the grace
of answered prayer.
O Olympian grove, made lovely
with river and well growing trees,
welcome this Victory Song,
welcome your garlanded winners!
Whoever wins your shining
prize, Olympia,
wears glory always.