When the drum plays, the children twirl, leap, roll, slither, fly through the room. When the drum stops, they freeze. Each time they freeze, I give a new directive. I direct their attention not only to how they are moving but also to how they are freezing — how they hold themselves still.
Holding Still— How Do You Do It?
The children practice holding their shape still on the outside and turning their attention inward to how they physically affect and can influence their body state and how they feel.
“I stretch my fingers and my feet and then soften my stretching a little bit, and then I can hold still.” says a kindergartener.
The whole class tries out this strategy in three steps.
- Soften stretch and
“Look how I can hold still now!” a child exclaimed excitedly.
“What is that like for you? Do you feel powerful? Does this feel challenging? Exciting? Tiring? Easy?”
“What is that like to hold yourself still in this way? How do you feel?”
How do you Freeze? Do You Stiffen, Squeeze, Soften Yourself? How and How much?
- One child showed us and told us how she stiffened herself, extending outward to make her whole body rigid,
- Another person squeezed himself, pulling inward
- Someone else softened and rested part of his body on the floor to hold still.
“How frozen do you make yourself inside?
Do you make yourself super solid? Or softly solid?
Do you freeze so solid that you hold your breath and slow your blood flow? Or do you make yourself softly frozen — flowing on the inside, while frozen on the outside?
How tightly do you hold yourself? Where do you pressure yourself? And what does that feel like inside of you?”
The children learn by doing, showing and sharing — using their body language, their words, and trying out each other’s ways of moving and freezing.
Degrees of Freeze and Patterns of Holding
FREEZE! What is the pattern of your frozen shape? Each frozen shape you make is unique, what is yours now? And how are you holding yourself and your shape still? Are you squeezing? Stiffening? Softening? Where in your body are you holding the most? How about the least?
FREEZE! How much inner tension or pressure do you need to hold yourself still?
- Do you hold yourself so tightly as if to make yourself frozen solid inside and out?
- Or do you hold yourself frozen on the outside, but stay soft and breathe easily on your insides?
- What is it like to change your amount of tension, your degree of freeze?
- How do you physically change your inner quality — from frozen solid, to frozen, to softly frozen like thick, mushy soft serve ice cream?
- What is that like when you change your degree of solidity? How does this change how you feel? How does this affect how you move, act, and interact with others?
The children discover how changing their tension — how and how much they squeeze or stiffen themselves — affects their body state and how they feel, think and behave.