March 2018

2018 Summer Festival July 9-27 -- Now Open for Online Registration

Online registration for the 2018 RSCT's Summer Festival is up and running, as of yesterday. You can access the link from several different places on the Summer Festival webpage. Or use THIS DIRECT LINK TO THE ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM.

And here's a link to download a pdf version of the eight-page Summer Festival brochure if you'd like to learn more about the courses and workshops that will be offered.

This year's Summer Festival, which runs from three weeks in July, from July 9th through the 27th, features some innovative and unique courses and workshops.

First Ever "Indigenous Waldorf Week" 

One of these is a full-day course in Week Three, titled: "Indigenous Waldorf Week -- On Behalf of First Nations Children: Searching for an Education". From the summer festival program:

"Waldorf is an education created for cultural renewal. Waldorf/Indigenous schools are emerging to lay the foundation for the re-kindling of Indigenous spiritual, cultural, linguistic and community life. 

Two leading Haudenosaunee teachers, Amy Bomberry and Aronhiateni (Sean Thompson), who inspire their teaching from Waldorf pedagogy, Chandra Maracle, a cofounder of the Everlasting Tree School and two experienced Waldorf teachers, Les Black and Elyse Pomeranz, are the facilitators for this course. 

This course is open to all who want to enter into an open exchange on how Indigenous education can benefit from using Waldorf education and how Waldorf schools can learn from Indigenous culture and spirituality and present it to their children in an authentic way. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants are welcome."

Mary Willow from New Zealand

Another innovative course that takes place in third week of the Festival -- in case you needed a good reason to register for all three weeks -- is with parenting and early childhood teacher and consutant Mary Willow, who is currently based in New Zealand.

Mary is well known to many in the local anthroposophical and Waldorf community because she has moved back and forth many times between Canada and New Zealand. But in recent decades she's pretty solidly in New Zealand, where she helps parents learn to parent in a Waldorf-inspired way.

Mary's full-day week-long course at the Summer Festival is titled: "Early Childhood for Parents ñ ìRoots and Wings: Laying the Foundation for Children to become Confident, Resilient, Free-thinking Adults". Here's the course description (from the Summer Festival brochure):

"Early childhood is the critical period for laying the foundation for all learning and well-being. We cannot understand the child’s journey through the early, middle and teenage years without this insight. This workshop will give a new and essential understanding of the profoundly different stages of childhood, how children learn at each stage and how to respond with age-appropriate parenting and teaching. 

From there we will focus on what to do when children encounter difficulty and how to guide them through sensitivity, reactivity, resistance and distraction to confidence, resilience and success. Mary is the founder of Plum Parenting (, a service providing one-on-one education and mentoring for parents and teachers in New Zealand." 

Learn Waldorf Remedial Methods with HEART

Margaret Beard and Arlene Kamo will be offering Summer Festival participants a taste of RSCT's HEART remedial Waldorf education program through a morning course during Week Two, titled: HEART Remedial Education -- "Learning to Read the Movements of Our Children". From the Summer Festival brochure:

"Many things are revealed in the gestures of movement. In this workshop, Marg and Arlene, co-directors of RSCT’s Healing Education and Remedial Training Program (HEART), will offer parents and teachers the opportunity to awaken capacities of observation in the movement of their children in order to understand the importance of archetypal developmental movements in early childhood. In addition, the educational practices that can be offered to support and/or remediate this on-going foundation of the will in grade school children will be explored." 

And Something Especially for Homeschoolers Too

Marg Beard will lead a Week Two, afternoon course, titled: Homeschooling Workshop with Marg Beard -- "Living Learning in the Home". From the brochure:

"This workshop, while working with Steiner’s pedagogical principles, will explore the essentials in educating your child(ren) at home and will invite you to actively engage in the art of creating an environment for living learning that suits your unique home setting. Marg is a co-founder of the Rosewood Homeschooling Group and, working with the principles of Steiner’s pedagogy, homeschooled her three now adult aged children from birth through the high school years."

Courses for Grade School Teachers:

All that's in addition to the usual preparatory courses for Waldorf class teachers, to help them get a headstart on preparing for their next year's teaching, not to mention courses in Waldorf language teaching, Eurythmy, celebrating festivals, and developing your meditative life as a teacher.


One week full-day is $600. Two weeks is $1,100. Three weeks is $1,500.

One week half-day is $350. Two weeks is $600. Three weeks is $850.

Next Steps:

Read the full details about all the course offerings in the downloadable pdf version of the Summer Festival brochure (optimized for fast downloading).

For more of a summary of courses and programs, see the Summer Festival web page.

And if you're ready to register now, or just want to see the registation options, here's a link to the new online registration form.

Join us this summer for an experience of the wider Waldorf community!





Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family, Summer Festival  
February 2018

Jan’s Month in China

Jan Ney Patterson, the RSCT's early childhood teacher education director, recently returned from her first visit to China where she mentored in three Waldorf schools working with both teachers and parents. Although she had been asked to go several times previously, she felt it was time to take the plunge, in November of 2017.

Culture Shock

She was warned that the experience would be a culture shock and hard work, but nothing prepared her for the reality. Jan found herself working all day, evenings, and weekends, as well as sleeping on hard cots in unheated homes. “Everyone wanted to take me out to dinner” she said which meant even more meetings. In the beginning she was so homesick she didn’t think she would be able to last the month. She had done her best to come prepared but when unable to access drop box to retrieve reference files she was often thrown back on her own resources and inspiration from her angel. “It definitely stretched me professionally”.

Two of the three schools Jan visited were kindergarten to grade eight near Xi’an, a city that is famous for the Terra Cotta Warriors. It was always her wish to visit this site and she was grateful for a day trip to see them.

Both Parents Attend Workshops on Waldorf Parenting

Jan led two weekend workshop on Waldorf parenting which attracted 40 participants. It is common in China for both parents to attend all such events. One session for example was on the important role of storytelling and circle work in a child’s development. The parents were delighted to learn by heart The Bremen Town Musicians and a lively movement journey of the Three Little Pigs.

In the evenings Jan worked with the school’s faculty and administration to deepen their understanding of early childhood development. Given the potential tedium of listening to translation, making these presentations visual and interactive was key. Jan found herself stressing the importance of meaningful work in a country where children are often catered to by the extended family. One parent came up later to say her son now helps to clear the table.

Climbing a Mountain with the Children

At one school Jan worked with a teacher who was having difficulty with her class: more boys than girls and all very active. Every morning they climbed up the mountain side to find a spot to play and have snack. By the end of the week both their play and their ability to listen had transformed.

Two of the schools were in small villages where Jan walked past fields with women planting vegetables, harvesting the corn, and drying herbs and home-made noodles. It was a Waldorf teacher’s paradise to see such meaningful work. As the only foreigner in the village, when she walked down the ally-ways the villagers would come out to greet her. When she ate in the little café they would come in to practice their English. It was like being a celebrity.

The Foreign Grandmother

At one of the schools she lived with a young family whose grandmother prepared all her favourite meals. The family’s three-year-old daughter asked if she could sit with “the foreign grandmother”. “The food was amazing”, said Jan, everything local and homemade, prepared lovingly over one little gas burner. But, she said, you had to be careful what you asked for, because the next day, there would be a case of it delivered. Receiving a bag of live crabs to have for supper was the most difficult. A real luxury for the family but hard to face.

Leaving a school, after working with the parents and faculty for a week, she felt incredible sadness. You develop such a close bond especially with your translator who not only translates your thoughts but your soul. Aside from her translator, there was only the occasional person who spoke English. One little girl whose father was an English professor helped her by telling her what she needed to do and introducing all the children so she would learn their names.

Waldorf Resonates with Chinese Traditions

Waldorf is by far the most quickly growing independent school movement in China. Jan said that the Chinese people find the Waldorf philosophy resonates with their spiritual traditions. Many of the parents want for their children what they did not get in their highly academic early years. They understand the value of play and the effects of too much stress. Some parents who live in big cities even establish second homes near a village Waldorf school so that their children can attend.

In spite of the many cultural differences between China and the West, Jan feels, children are the same everywhere. She confirmed her understanding of archetypal images that Steiner indicates all children bring with them. The way they laugh, whine, throw tantrums are a universal language. She saw some extraordinary play but also children who have been “pulled out of the water” too soon. Waldorf parents in China have the same worries that we do, about whether their child is going to be prepared for the challenges of adult life. Children in China also attend a lot of extra-curricular lessons.

A Generation of Parents Who Grew Up as Only Children

A big difference now in China is the change in the “one child only” policy. Parents who grown up as only children want their own to have brothers and sisters. Many other things are also changing quickly. Cell phones are everywhere; even the old street cleaners are looking on their devices as they sweep and hundred-year-old grandmothers use them.

There was great interest in our RSCT teacher education program, and request to come back to continue intensive work in the schools. Not many Chinese teachers can afford to come to Canada for a year to study Waldorf education. They want us to go there.

On her last two days in China, Jan got to be a tourist in Beijing, where she rented a bicycle to get around. The trip to the Great Wall and the Imperial palace was on the final day. Places Jan had only dreamed of visiting were experiences beyond words.

Many thanks to WECC Waldorf Early Childhood China and the support of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto for making this opportunity a reality.

Jan Ney Patterson

Director of Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education


1. Jan presenting to the faculty of a Chinese Waldorf school.

2. Jan visiting the Terra Cotta warriors.

3. Children climbing a mountain as part of their new daily rhythm.

4. Jan visits the Great Wall of China




Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  

Move the Mars Seal in Eurythmy March 3rd

In the early decades of the last century, the philosopher and educator Rudolf Steiner drew what he called "planetary seals" for each of the seven planets -- as seen from the classic pre-Copernican, geocentric point of view. These seals are like a harmonic resonance of each planet, and can be moved in Eurythmy.

Following up on previous sessions with the Saturn seal and the Sun seal, Eurythmist Reg Down -- who has recently moved to Thornhill from California -- will be leading a group in moving together in Eurythmy, Rudolf Steiner's Mars Seal. 

This session willl take place Saturday March 3rd from 1:30 to 3:00 pm in the Eurythmy room at the Toronto Waldorf School. Cost: $20. Students or seniors, $15. Please RSVP to

For more biographical backgound on Eurythmist Reg Down, see the RSCT original Saturn Seal post.


Psychoactive Substances and Personal Development

We will explore, from conventional and esoteric perspectives, how mind altering substances including opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol work on our bodies to give the experiences they offer. We will look at these effects in the short and long term, with a special focus on human development.

Pay at the door ~ $15 Students & Seniors $5

A portion of the proceeds will go to Kenneth’s favourite charity Hesperus Village

with Dr. Kenneth McAlister, M.D.

Location: Waldorf Academy, 250 Madison Aveenue Toronto

Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018. 7:00 ~ 8:30PM

Kenneth McAlister BA, MD, is a general practitioner, certified in anthroposophic medicine, and has been in practice for over 30 years. He has been involved with the development of Hesperus Village where his practice with the Pegasus Medical Centre is also located. He is a founding member of the Canadian Anthroposophic Medical Association and has six children. He likes to play music in his spare time.

Sponsored by the Toronto Branch of the Anthroposophical Society of Canada

January 2018

Community Meeting February 4th Re: Three-Year Strategic Plan for the RSCT

Please join us to give your feedback and input to the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan for the future of the Rudolf Steiner Centre on Sunday Feb. 4th, from 12:30 to  4:30 in the RSCT seminar room (the main space). The event will be preceded by a light lunch at 12 noon.

Building upon the community meeting of September 29, we have developed a draft of the plan and wish to refine it with your help. The final version of the strategic plan will be approved at the Board Retreat on February 25 and will guide the Centre’s activities over the next three years.

The Strategic plan is included below so that you may read it beforehand. You can also download a copy here in pdf form.

Your input is welcomed and needed!

WHERE: Rudolf Steiner Centre Seminar Room

WHEN: Sunday, February 4, 2018

TIMES: 12:30 – 4:30 (with a light lunch at 12:00)

PURPOSE: Envisioning the Future, Three-Year Strategic Plan, 2018 – 2021

Photos are from the RSCT's Sept. 28th Envisioning the Future event.

Envisioning the Future
Three-Year Strategic Plan
 2018 – 2021

Version 4.0

January 23, 2018

Envisioning RSCT in Ten Years

In 1979, three individuals, Wendy Brown, Shirley Routledge and Diana Hughes, posed the question: “What can be done to answer the need for increased spiritual understanding in a world of escalating materialism?”

As an answer to this question, the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto was created in 1981, originating first out of rented quarters in downtown Toronto, then occupying rooms at the Hesperus Fellowship Community in Thornhill, until a donation from Kay Barthelmes enabled the Centre to build its own structure adjacent to the Toronto Waldorf School in 1991.

For the last 36 years, RSCT has provided programs in Waldorf teacher professional development and adult education in anthroposophy, with graduates of the programs actively working in Waldorf schools and other institutions in Canada and around the world.

Today, building upon the dedicated work of countless individuals over decades, RSCT has developed a ten-year vision for its next work into the future.

It is the intention of the Board of Directors of RSCT to guide the organization forward in realizing its full potential to foster cultural renewal across Canada out of the transformative resources of anthroposophy. Over the next decade, the RSCT will strive toward becoming an effective, national charity that provides vocational programs, cultural outreach, and social services.

These three pillars of the ten-year vision are a natural evolution, an organic movement from vocational programs to Anthroposophical service work, to providing service in community and renewing the cultural outreach aspect of the Centre.

All three of these areas will contribute to RSCT’s growth and sustainability. As expressed by the directors in the Board meeting of March 7, 2017: “In discussion, the board expressed approval for this ambitious and needed vision. There will be risks as well as opportunities, and a great deal of hard work.”

How did the Strategic Plan Come About?

Our first step was to hold an initial community and stakeholder engagement meeting on September 29 in Toronto with 50 participants, who self-selected their topics and groups. The participants included board members, the executive director, program directors, adjunct faculty, alumni, donors and broader community members. Fifteen groups formed at the meeting to address everything from anthroposophical therapy, to deepening of foundation studies, to Waldorf teacher education, to anthroposophical hubs, to childcare and homeschooling.

The key questions were:

What ideal goal do we want to achieve in three (3) years for this theme of the vision?

What can I/we do to get there – actions, resources, ideas?

What are questions/concerns to address?

RSCT then developed a strategic plan for the years 2018-2021 to assure sustainability of its programs. The three pillars of the strategic plan are: Vocational Programs, Cultural Outreach and Anthroposophical Service Work.

An essential part of the strategic plan process was to connect with, involve and engage stakeholders - donors, schools, alumnae, supporters such as the Anthroposophical Society, whose input was solicited and incorporated into the strategic plan.

The goal is not to “implement a plan” but rather to see where initiatives are emerging amongst the grassroots and to see where individuals are harbouring hopes and will impulses to realize their vision. Whether it be in education, childcare, biodynamic gardening or farming, etc., the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto will offer its resources to help make these initiatives happen.

This “Organic Planning” uses a process that unfolds naturally through continual focus on common values and consistent communication and dialogue among stakeholders.

After consultations with the community, the Three-Year Strategic Plan 2018-2021 was approved by the RSCT Board at its retreat in February, 2018.


there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”  -- Believed to be from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1832)

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Vocational Programs

Building on our current programs, RSCT will strive to bring the highest quality of education and training opportunities to people wanting to work out of anthroposophy. RSCT will be a formally recognized private career college and will offer diploma-granting vocational programs for Grade School Teachers and Early Childhood teachers.


Presently the full-time teacher education and early childhood teacher education is a combined program with breakout courses.

Both are under enrolled - there are four students in the Full-Time Teacher Education program and one student in the early childhood teacher education program.

It is a rich program with highly qualified program directors and adjunct faculty, that's not realizing its full potential.

The programs have been successfully pre-screened under the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills development (MAESD) as “professional development”, but the teachers need paid teaching experience to qualify to enter the program.

The low enrolment is the main cause of the risk to financial sustainability of the Centre.

Goals & Strategies

Increase enrolment in the Teacher Education and Early Childhood Programs to ensure thriving, financially viable programs

Year 1: 2018/2019

Apply to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) to obtain a Designated Learning Institute number in order to accept international students.

Upgrade IT systems in order to market the programs nationally and internationally. For this purpose, RSCT will use the results of consultations with Managerial Advisory Services (MAS), a highly professional pro-bono service offered to non-profit organizations.

Use Immedia consultant for Web marketing and brochure redesign.

Partner with the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education to provide scholarships to Indigenous students for the full-time and part-time programs.

Build rigour into the FT and PT Teacher Education programs.

Expand local core faculty for FT and PT Teacher Education programs.

Expand “visiting teacher” faculty for FT and Pt programs and “adult education” events.

RSCT becomes a Private Career College

Year 2: 2019/2020

Apply to become a registered private career college and offer vocational training. Students with no prior experience in teaching will be able to qualify for the program.

Year 3: 2020/2021

First cohorts of high quality, rigorous vocational programs with a college diploma in Waldorf Education or an Accredited Diploma in Early Childhood Education

Explore Feasibility of Future Programs

Year 1: 2018/2019 and Year 2: 2019/2020

At the September 29 Envisioning meeting, 15 themes were spoken about. For the Three-Year Strategic Plan, we need the discipline to say no to 15 so we can do 3. We will use “Organic Planning” to discern where needs are and where initiatives are emerging. Areas from the September 29 meeting that we will explore:

Teacher Education - university partnerships, support for teachers in schools, travelling master teachers, continuing education which meets the needs of experienced teachers

Homeschooling – accreditation, interactive website, distance/ on-site, global partnerships, develop a “program” with steps of progression

Parenting Education - pre-natal courses, work with midwives, parent education led by parents, short-term courses on specific child development challenges, webinars

Waldorf beyond Cultural/Spiritual Historical Streams – Indigenous Waldorf , cross-cultural listening, poly-lingual/poly-cultural

Public Education and Outreach - a simpler message of anthroposophy, advocacy re public education policy and university curricula, consultative relationships with Senior policy people in the Ministry of Education, Keynotes at education conferences, Research & Development Group established and funded

Curative/Remedial Education - conferences and workshops for parents, remedial week intensive for current teachers, therapeutic/remedial summer camp for children, regional (global) mentoring/training hubs, education in early years healthy movement

Eurythmy - intensive courses

Working with Nature Spirits – beekeeping, biodynamic gardening, indigenous wisdom, workshops, nature walks, appreciation of nature.

Scan with openness what is emerging.

At the end of year 2, narrow down and focus on 1 or 2 streams.

Year 3: 2020/2021

Report back to board with a Feasibility Study on possible other vocational streams to implement.

What would it look like to develop a new vocational program(s)?

Our guiding measure for our vocational programs will be the success of those who earn our diplomas in their respective fields. We will track this and improve the quality of our program designs as required to this end.

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Cultural Outreach

Adult Education in Anthroposophy

Recognizing the contemporary importance of cultivating a wide-spread awareness of anthroposophy, RSCT will undertake various initiatives to support the introduction of anthroposophy into Canadian culture.


Presently there are 85 participants in Foundation Studies Distance of which the director is Gene Campbell.

There presently three Foundation Studies Encounter programs running

A weekly evening program for Toronto Waldorf School childcare teachers

Saturday morning meetings at RSCT.

Monthly meetings at the Everlasting Tree School on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve.

These programs have the ability to change lives and give meaning and direction to a person’s life.

Goals & Strategies

Establish Foundations Studies as a high quality program in all parts of Canada and in at least one other continent

Year 1: 2018/2019

Develop with core faculty a cohesiveness of all FS programs offered that meet or exceed AWSNA requirements

Expand Foundations Studies in Anthroposophy Distance first in Canada by hiring more mentors and adding French-speaking mentors.

Advertise for mentors in diverse languages for international expansion

Initiate a Foundation Studies Encounter program in Asia with RSCT certification, starting with a four-week program in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the summer of 2018.

Year 2: 2019/2020

Develop non-certificate programs custom designed according to needs, e.g. for board members, seniors, etc.

Offer a free introductory 10 minute course on website – “Try before you buy”

Begin to develop online webinars, platforms, resources

Year 3: 2020/2021

Incorporate online learning tools (archives, resources, assignments) and IT platform for national meetings as part of RSCT IT budget

Offer an online course involving reading, individual mentoring, group meetings

Offer Anthroposophical mentoring/counselling for individuals

Develop and establish a model of “Anthroposophical Hubs”

Year 1: 2018/2019

Define the model of what an anthroposophical hub would look like.

Year 2: 2019/2020

Cultivate a pre-hub group whose goal would be to define a commercial model.

Base this viable financial model on existing enterprises such as the Green Beanery in Toronto (importing of fair trade coffee) and Elderberry’s in Los Angeles (quality organic food).

Year 3: 2020/2021

Establish one anthroposophical hub as pilot project that can serve as a model for initiatives in other Canadian cities.

Establish Anthroposophical Retreats for Youth

Year 1: 2018/2019

Initiate a pilot project retreat for youth (20-35)

Year 2: 2019/2020

Explore other retreat possibilities, e.g. Biodynamic Camp in Ontario, Anthroposophical Retreats for Youth in British Columbia and the Maritimes.

Year 3: 2020/2021

Establish retreats for youth in other parts of Canada based on the experience of the pilot project in Wakefield, Quebec.

A guiding principle for these endeavours will be to establish financially viable initiatives to reach those who are seeking spiritual meaning and direction in today’s world.

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Anthroposophical Service Work

RSCT will expand into various forms anthroposophical service work designed to meet day-to-day needs in Canadian communities out of the unique perspectives and techniques in anthroposophy.


There’s a great need for high quality childcare in Canada.

The RSCT Early Childhood Professional Development Program is one of the only full-time programs of its kind in North America.

RSCT also offers part time professional development for practising early childhood education teachers.

RSCT has great potential to be a leader in child care professional development.

Goals & Strategies

Establish a National Waldorf Childcare Enterprise in Canada to meet the needs of parents seeking a high-quality environment for their children

Year 1: 2018/2019

Develop a business case for a National Waldorf Childcare Enterprise in Canada

Hire a Childcare Enterprise Director who will be responsible for establishing childcare centres

Form a Childcare Advisory Panel to guide the enterprise

Establish childcare centre(s) in Ottawa where there where there is an initiative group of early childhood educators with provincial qualifications and Waldorf experience interested in supporting this project.

Collaborate with WECAN for use of patented service mark (Waldorf).

Develop, in conjunction with WECAN, a Birth-to-Three part time program to train educators for these centres (a condition for working at the centre will be a Waldorf Birth-to-Three development course).

Year 2: 2019/2020

Using the model of the Waldorf childcare enterprise established in Year 1, establish further childcare centres in the GTA in collaboration with Halton Waldorf School, London Waldorf School, Trillium Waldorf School, Waldorf Academy and Peterborough as potential feeders to school enrollment.

Year 3: 2020/2021

Expand to other areas of Canada with a potential of 3 centres

Explore other possibilities of service work

Year 1: 2018/2019 and Year 2: 2019/2020

At the September 29 Envisioning meeting, 15 themes were spoken about. For the Three-Year Strategic Plan, we need the discipline to say no to 15 so we can do 3. We will use “Organic Planning” to discern where needs are and where initiatives are emerging. Areas from the September 29 meeting that we will explore:

Eldercare - community integration, intergenerational living, partnerships with elderly living at home, training for those working with the elderly, celebrate ageing – change culture

Palliative/End of Life Care - we need to talk about/demystify death, alternative death and dying rituals, a hospice where we can go to die with support and without medical interventions, death and dying discussion groups

Year 3: 2020/2021

Report back to board on other streams to decide on the feasibility of implementing further programs.

A guiding principle in developing these ventures will be fiscal responsibility. Ideally these enterprises will generate some profit to sustain a carefully sequenced national expansion, that we might benefit as many Canadians as possible through this good work.

A message from RSCT co-founder Shirley van Houten-Routledge

I am quite excited about the wide and all-encompassing vision. I trust the imagination reaches the inspiring heavenly powers also, and will bear fruit in coming times. Keep me informed please!

In the 50 year history of this campus we can see how the dedication of a small group can sow seeds that mature into a valued enterprise - note the founding of Toronto Waldorf School, Rudolf Steiner Centre, and Hesperus Village. The campus has become a resource centre and contribution to a life style caring for chlldhood, adulthood and elderhood. The vision of Rudolf Steiner Centre is to expand and grow this adult 'centre' contributing to a Canadian human culture, a new way of existence for a society founded on spiritual understanding for all levels of life.

Inwardly we develop as human beings morally consistent, inspired and carried by individual initiative. Outwardly we become a community, a movement of professional applications and collaboration in all fields of life.

Maybe invisible, but a new human culture already exists globally by engaging thousands of people whose lives have been touched by Rudolf Steiner in spiritual inspiration and its practical applications.


Shirley van Houten-Routledge

That's Shirley on the right, in the photo below, from Sept. 28th, 2017:

"Ideally, it would mean saying to oneself: Whatever the next hour or day may bring, I cannot change it by fear or anxiety, for it is not yet known. I will therefore wait for it with complete inward restfulness, perfect tranquillity of mind. Anyone who can meet the future in this calm, relaxed way, without impairing his active strength and energy, will be able to develop the powers of his soul freely and intensively. It is as if hindrance after hindrance falls away, as the soul comes to be more and more pervaded by this feeling of humbleness toward approaching events."

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 17th February 1910




December 2017

Planetary Seals in Eurythmy Continues in 2018

What better way to kick off the new year than by moving the Sun Seal in Eurythmy in a group. Reg's last workshop on the Saturn Seal earlier this month was a great success and so the series is continuing with the Sun Seal on January 6th in the Eurythmy room, which is located in the west wing, at the Toronto Waldorf School, at 9100 Bathurst St., Thornhill.

Eurythmist Reg Down will be continuing his popular Planetary Seals Eurthmy workshop series with a session on the Sun Seal on Saturday Jan. 6th, from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. For more information on Reg Down and his artist biography, see the RSCT's earlier blog post about the Saturn Seal session. Cost $20 (seniors/students $15).

There will also be further follow-up workshops (also in the eurythmy room at TWS) for the remaining seals - Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn - on the following Saturday afternoons throughout the winter and spring of 2018: Feb 3, March 3, April 14, May 5, and June 2.

November 2017

Saturn Seal Eurythmy Sunday Dec. 3rd

This Sunday Dec. 3rd, eurythmist Reg Down will lead a workshop on The Saturn Seal, from 9:30 to 11:30 am in the Toronto Waldorf School forum. In his poster for the event, Reg writes that Rudolf Steiner drew seven planetary seals that are like a harmonic resonance with each planet, and they can be moved in eurythmy.

New Kid in Town, Reg Down

Here in Thornhill we probably have more interesting people than your average suburb. The Toronto Waldorf School plays a role in that and we can probably thank TWS for the arrival here this summer of Reg Down, eurythmist, puppet player and author of books for both children and adults.

Reg and his partner, Miki Higashine, who teaches Grade Three at TWS, came here from Sacramento, California, which, like Thornhill, has long been a major anthroposophical hub.

Born in Flin Flon Manitoba, Reg grew up in Namibia, South Africa and Ireland, where his father worked as a mining engineer. Young Reg was only 18 months old when his family moved to Namibia. They lived in Africa until he was eight, and then moved to Ireland. There, he went to school in Dublin, in a school founded by Charles II in 1672. 

When he was back there in Architecture school

When he graduated at age 17, Reg went to London to study at the Architectural Association School, with Keith Critchlow, who was into Chartres Cathedral, Stonehenge and the geometry of megalithic sites. Many of Reg’s friends at the time were into various ancient spiritual streams, but while Reg was seeking a spiritual path, none of the streams his friends were into, appealed to him.

Reg wanted something more modern and appropriate to the times. At one point he asked a friend for a list of all the occult bookstores in London. The first one Reg visited was the Rudolf Steiner bookstore near the British Museum. When he picked up a copy of Theosophy, and started to read it, he knew he was home.

One of his fellow students and friends at the school was Julia Barfield, and when Reg told her he was interested in anthroposophy, she suggested they go to a lecture by her uncle, Owen Barfield. She also told him about Emerson College, an anthroposophical training centre for adults, located about an hour south of London, near Forest Row.

It turned out that John Davy, the leader of the Foundation Year program at Emerson College and Keith Critchlow, Reg’s teacher at Architecture School knew each other, and so, with Keith’s letter of recommendation, Reg was readily accepted at Emerson College.

From Eurythmist to Puppet Master

Reg’s studies at Emerson College, starting in 1976, when he was 21, proved to be something of a turning point in his life. After  a foundation year and a year of eurythmy studies at Emerson Colllege, Reg went to Pennsylvania with his new wife, Susan Trigaux. While in Pennsylvania, their son was born, and Reg was introduced to puppetry through Susan’s father, whose day job was as a New York business executive, but whose passion was puppetry.

Reg then continued his study of eurythmy in Nuremberg, Germany with Margarete Proskauer-Unger. He and Susan then lived and worked in Australia, Vancouver, Nelson BC, and then finally in Boulder, Colorado, where he and Susan went their separate ways.

Reg then moved back to Nelson, where he met his present wife, Miki. Reg and Miki moved to Sacramento so Miki could take the Consciousness Studies program with Denis Klocek. But that one year turned into 19 years. 

And now they’ve moved here to Thornhill so Reg can be close to his aging mother who now lives in North York.

Puppet Plays and Eurythmy Workshop

Here in Thornhill, Reg is continuing his work both with puppetry and with eurythmy. Over Hallowe’en he put on one of his puppet shows six times, both at TWS and at the Paper Pipet bookstore. He will be doing another two performances of his “The Cricket and the Shepherd Boy” on Dec. 16th at 10:30 and 11:30 am in the TWS kindergarten.

And coming up soon, on Sunday December 3rd, Reg will be leading a Planetary Seals eurythmy workshop beginning with The Saturn Seal, which Reg describes as the foundational seal, embodying centre periphery, as well as secondary and tertiary polarities. Reg says it is a fun seal for a group to move. Please register in advance at Cost $15.

Check out Reg's Author Website,

Also see Reg's Eurythmy Canada website


Every Gift Counts — Little or Big

What do we Will?

Spending or giving money is an expression of will. We vote with our dollars on what we want to happen in the world. And our will — our dollars — combine with other people’s dollars to help make what we will, a reality.

Is the result a simple summation — a total of the dollars — or does the will expressed in those gifts work beyond the money itself to pave the way in unseen realms, for the realization of shared goals?

Each Person in the Support Community

We like to think that the participation of as many people as possible is an important goal of our fundraising effort, and that if each person in our support community gives whatever they feel they can or want to give, then the total dollar goal will follow of its own accord.

So please accept this reminder. There is so much going on this time of year that it’s easy to forget. And if you value what is cultivated at the Rudolf Steiner Centre, please make a gift —however small or large — to help that work to continue and grow into the wide world. Thank you.

Photo: Full-time Teacher Education program graduation for 2017

Read the original Annual Gift Appeal Letter

Make an online donation through Canada Helps


Your Help is Needed – Annual Gift Appeal

Dear Friends of the Rudolf Steiner Centre,

We are living in perilous times.

The overall picture of Waldorf teacher development in North America has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento has closed its teacher education programs, Sunbridge College has closed its full-time teacher education program, and the Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan (WISM) will be closing in two years.

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto and the Centre for Anthroposophy are two of the remaining Waldorf institutes to offer full-time programs in teacher development. Here at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, the full-time program is not reaching its potential. As well, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development (MAESD) has imposed new regulations on the programs. Toronto Waldorf School has chosen, upon the expiry of our lease, to buy our building and now we are tenants.

An Uncertain Future

RSCT faces an uncertain future in a time of financial restraint and instability.

Yet we must survive and not only survive but grow, in order that the benefits of anthroposophy and Waldorf education continue to be accessible to the many who are seeking. To do this we must adapt, we must be courageous, we must work hard and smartly. Only then can we count on the support of the community and of the spiritual world.

These great challenges also present an opportunity. The RSCT board of directors has taken a bold step by developing a 10-year vision to be realized in three areas — teacher education, cultural outreach and anthroposophical service work.

On September 29, RSCT held a visioning meeting with 50 participants, who self-selected their topics and groups. Fifteen themes were addressed with energy and enthusiasm. For a full report on the meeting, please refer to the “Blog” section on our website under the heading “Envisioning the Future Follow-Up”.

As we move forward from the vision to developing an actionable 3-year strategic plan with three key objectives, we will be looking forward to further opportunities to consult with our partners, stakeholders, staff and supporters.

Strengthening Waldorf Teacher Education

In Teacher Education, we need to strengthen and deepen our current programs. A massive amount of work went into obtaining a Designated Learning Institute number to enable the Centre to enroll international students. RSCT is also working in partnership with the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education to provide scholarships for Indigenous students.

Taking Foundation Studies International

For Cultural Outreach, we plan to strengthen our mentoring services and expand Foundation Studies internationally. We have started by engaging two French-speaking mentors. A Foundation Studies Encounter course will take place this year at the Everlasting Tree School on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. As well, members of our extended faculty are currently planning to hold a Foundation Studies Encounter course in Vietnam in the coming year. As we know, these programs can inspire and change lives. They require seed money to grow.

Protecting the Threatened Forces of Childhood

The third area is Anthroposophical Service Work. We plan to establish Waldorf childcare centres to protect the threatened forces of childhood. We are about to hire a National Childcare Director and our first project is to open childcare centres in Ottawa. In collaboration with the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), we are expanding our Birth-to-Three Program to respond to the professional development needs of the early childhood educators in our future childcare centres. We need funding for scholarships to support them as they develop their capacities to better care for the young children.

These are all steps towards realizing a new vision for our Centre. More than ever we need your support. Last year we raised $15,000 from our gift campaign. This year, we have set a goal of $25,000.

We thank all past donors and we ask you all to give generously to fund our future work.

Thank you.


Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  

Six Questions for Carol Triggiano

Rudolf Steiner Centre

Next Friday and Saturday Nov. 10th and 11th, the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto will host its annual Waldorf Development Conference on the theme of “Parents and Teachers Working Together in the Age of the Consciousness Soul”. 

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Carol Triggiano, who has a lifetime of experience in Waldorf education, and in teacher education as well. Click here for the details on Carol's educational background, the conference schedule, and a link for online registration.

We thought it would be interesting to ask Carol a few questions in advance of her visit, and to share the answers, as a way of encouraging interest in the Friday evening lecture for parents, as well as in the Friday / Saturday conference.

The RSCT's questions and Carol’s answers follow below:

Not Just a Teacher, but Also a Parent

RSCT: In your bio there's a lot about your experience as a teacher. Have you been a parent as well? If so, can you say a bit about that, ie how many children, ages, educations etc.

Carol: I am the mother of two adult children, a son age 36 and a daughter age 31. They both attended Chicago Waldorf from early childhood through high school. My son Nick is married, has a 10 month old baby and is a part time stay at home dad. He is enrolled in a Waldorf early childhood teacher training program. My daughter Amy has an undergrad degree from Earlham College in drama. She then studied nursing at University of Illinois and currently is a nurse in a hospital Intensive Care Unit. 

RSCT: In the title of your talk -- Speaking as a Teacher Using the Three Pillars to Build Relationships withTeachers, Parents & Administrators, you refer to three pillars. Which three pillars are these?

Carol: The three pillars I will be addressing in teacher parent relationships are: Interest, Empathy and Trust.

Living in Chicago

RSCT: Not directly related to your talk, but more as background as to where you're coming from -- you're coming from Chicago where a Waldorf teacher has recently been shot on the street by a stray bullet. Can you say a bit from your perspective about what that event says about life in Chicago as a Waldorf teacher. Do you feel like you're on "the front lines"? What has this event catalyzed in terms of relations between the Waldorf community and the wider world in Chicago?

Carol: The tragic death of our colleague called forth astounding support from our Waldorf parent community, the Rogers Park neighborhood and the city of Chicago, including from some of its top officials. There was an outpouring of compassion, service, financial donations, prayers and a call for unity in support of her husband, our faculty and community. The Chicago Waldorf School was founded over 40 years ago as a city school. We are committed to serving the children who have been born into one of the most beautiful, cultured, historical, diverse cities in the world. My dear colleague passionately loved Chicago and would want us to embrace our important work here.

Home and School

RSCT:  Do you feel that Waldorf blurs the boundaries between home and school more than other educations? I'm thinking of things like field trips and camping that, in the past, might have been seen as belonging more to the parents' domain, but maybe now the schools -- or at least Waldorf schools -- are doing more of what used to be called parenting. In many of today's busy families with both parents working full time jobs to pay Waldorf tuitions, this might be welcome, while in other cases, maybe less so.

Carol: Our responsibility is to make as clear as possible to the parents the scope of our pedagogy. Field trips and class trips are meant to deepen the classroom work: i.e. a 6th grade caving trip after the study of mineralogy. If we communicate well about the curriculum, then the parents can decide if this education can meet the needs of their child. We also should offer parents the opportunity to learn about child development and how the curriculum meets the child at different ages. Our sphere of influence is in the classroom, not the home.

The Times we Live in

RSCT:  You visit a lot of Waldorf communities in your travels. Are there recurrent themes and dynamics currently playing out between parents and teachers now that are different that they were ten or twenty years ago?

Carol: I think many parents today are overworked, overstressed and tired. Many also feel greatly pressured to do everything "right," whatever that may mean. I think the same may apply to many Waldorf teachers. This dynamic offers a ripe opportunity to explore new ways of communication.

School and State

RSCT:  Notably in the medical realm, the state has been making demands in areas belonging to parenting -- such as compulsory vaccination. What role can Waldorf teachers or schools play in helping parents deal with this kind of state pressure with regard to parenting.

Carol: These state demands are strictly in the hands of the parents and I don't think we should be interfering or offering advice in any of these arenas. Parents need to decide independently how to deal with these situations.

For more details about the Nov. 10th and 11th conference and a link to online registration, click here.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  
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