James Brian, Karen Weyler and the whole Star Seedlings team have been working hard on getting the 81 Speedvale Ave. E., Guelph location ready for it's inaugural open house on April 6th, which will be the Saturday after this coming Saturday. As you can see from the photos, a lot of progress has been made, but there is still more to do.
Kudos to everyone on the great progress so far, and here's hoping everything goes smoothly with the work that still remains to be done to get the Star Seedlings Family and Childcare Centre ready to meet the parents and children who will be joining the community. Thanks to James for the photos (from March 28th, 2019).
The unspeakable happens every day. Afer that, nothing is as it was. Every day, children are traumatized by violence, abuse, war, expulsion, accidents, medical interventions or natural disasters. The younger the victim is, the longer and more intense the traumatic event continues, and the closer the relationship between the trauma victim and the perpetrator, the more lasting the traumatic shock becomes.
Dealing with Students who have Suffered Trauma
Psycho-traumas are psychological wounds that can lead to life-threatening complications if inadequately treated. If children and adolescents do not succeed in coping with their stressful events, various trauma sequel disorders can occur, which can eventually lead to a biographical break in the event of a severe continuing chronic process.
Often victims then become perpetrators. Waldorf education as emergency pedagogy is a partial aspect of an overall trauma pedagogy concept that is based on a four-phase trauma progression model. Emergency pedagogy is not trauma therapy. It is an attempt to stabilize traumatized children and young people by means of pedagogical interventions, to activate their self-healing powers and to support them in the processing and the biographical integration of their traumatic experiences.
Introduction to Psycho-traumatology Seminar
With Bernd Ruf, author of "Educating Traumatized Children"
Suggested Donation: $100
Friday, April 5th from 1 PM to 8 PM (dinner included)
Saturday, April 6th from 9 AM to 12 PM
at The Everlasting Tree School
775 Seneca Rd, Ohsweken, ON,
For more Information and Registratoon: Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-445-1333
On March 7, 2019, in Ottawa, Canada, 300 guests celebrated Douglas Cardinal‘s 85th birthday. Douglas is a world-renowned Indigenous architect who designed the Museum of the American Indian in Washington and the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa
As well, he has always been a strong advocate of education for Indigenous children and in 2011 he cofounded the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education. Here's a quote from Douglas Cardinal on education:
"So the challenge today is to get back to the original principles of respecting the child and developing a concept of education around the child’s needs, around the child’s rhythms and teaching the child to be responsible, to follow his own talents, his own path and his own direction.
And I believe the system of Waldorf education does that and is open to bring in the languages, the teachings of the elders and the thousands of years of knowledge and traditions of being in harmony with the land, in harmony with each other, because their whole concept of teaching is teaching the child that we are all connected."
We are pleased to share this video from 2013 with you in which Douglas speaks of how Waldorf education is aligned with Indigenous spiritual values and how Waldorf education can serve as an appropriate model for educating Indigenous children (click link below to open):
All hands on deck to prepare the Star Seedlings childcare for an open house on April 6th. Left to Right: James Brian, George Ivanoff, and Karen Weyler putting the finishing touches on the renovation of the new childcare. Thanks to Rob McKay for the photos.
First Star Seedlings Childcare - in Guelph
One of the goals in the current RSCT strategic plan is to open childcare facilities in various locations across Canada to serve children whose parents can't stay home to look after them. The first such childcare is set to open at 81 Speedvale Ave. in Guelph, on April 6th, 2019, with an Open House invitation already being circulated this week to local parents, friends, and the general public. See poster below:
On February 2nd, members of the RSCT board visited the then-future site of Star Seedlings and brought gifts for the childcare. In the photo above, Diana Hughes presents a refurbished wooden cradle that was used by both her children and her grandchildren, complete with doll and bedding. Here it is in a closeup below:
A whle ago we posted on this blog, a list of items which the fledgling Star Seedlings would like to receive to be used in their program. Here (below) is an updated version of that list.
Hand-Made Toys Still Wanted for Star Seedlings
Dolls: about 14 both pajama and dress-up with clothes, simple hair and with faces, i.e. eyes and a mouth in a perfect triangle
Stand-up Puppets: various family figures and professions, approx. 6” high, no arms, head ¼ of total size of figure, needlefelted wool underside that is removable. 100% Wool felt
Animals: knitted, felt or made from felted sweaters, simple and true colours, farm and domestic only
Wooden Cradles with Bedding and Blankets
Birthday Crowns: 8 in various sizes to fit children aged 2 through 6 years, wool felt, with elastic backing, decorated with number of birthday i.e. 1 each 2 years and 6 years; 2 each 3 years, 4 years and 5 years
Bean bags: 20 sized 3x3” and 20 sized 6x6”, solid red or blue corduroy, filled with dried beans
Balls: knitted, wet felted, sewn felt, filled with wool fleece
If you are not handy or have no time, we would be happy to receive cash donations, or you can purchase items from the Paper Pipit Star Seedling Wish list. Linda is giving us a special rate.
Please contact Jan Ney Patterson email@example.com or call 905.764.0934 if you have questions or to make donations.
We would love to receive this by April 1st if possible.
Photos of the New Star Seedlings Childcare - a Work in Progress
Below: More pictures from that February 2nd visit:
The childcare is located in a former church manse. The church itself is off to the right of the picture above.
Above: view from the back parking lot of the new childcare.
Above: panning to the right of the photo above the previous photo to show more of the back parking lot.
Above: Speedvale Ave is a major thoroughfare in Guelph. The house is set well back from the road. Before it was acquired by the RSCT, this house was already established as a licensed childcare under the name "First Steps". In the picture above, the old sign is still there. It has since been replaced by the new Star Seedlings sign below:
Here are some more recent photos of the state of the childcare, from March 7th, via Karen Weyler:
Above: kitchen renovation nearing completion.
Lazure painted walls above and below:
Above: new hand carved stair railing. Below: new window.
The Silk and Strings Marionettes group put their recent learnings about Indigenous culture to good use earlier this year in three performances of "The Dancing Stars", the Mohawk legend of the Origin of the Pleiades, at the Toronto Waldorf School’s Children’s Winter Festival in mid-January of 2019.
Putting the Learning into Practice
Many members of the group had attended last November's RSCT Waldorf Development Conference and/or last years RSC Summer Festival's Indigenous Waldorf Week which were about how to integrate Indigenous cultural material into the Waldorf curriculum in a respectful and good way.
The group consisted of current and former Waldorf EC teachers and RSC teacher trainees.
One of those trainees, Wasohnti:io Hill, was very instrumental in making the performances possible. She suggested this particular story and was very generous with her support, offering advice with respect to the creation of the script and costumes, doing the drumming and singing in the performance and helping with the coordination with her Mohawk community.
After the TWS Winter Festival performances, the Silk and Strings Marionette group was invited to present the same "Dancing Stars" puppet show at the Everlasting Tree School at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.. The Everlasting Tree School is a Mohawk immersion school that just last year was recognized by AWSNA as a Waldorf initiative.
It was particularly meaningful that the group was able to offer two performances there on February 2nd, since this story is a central part of their community’s New Year ceremonies that are held right at that time of year.
Performing for an Indigenous Community
One of the players in the group, Patti Wolfe, sent this report about their experience at the Everlasting Tree School:
“Our performances at the Everlasting Tree School went very well indeed. Everyone from the ETS community and our marionette group were very excited about the opportunity to come together for the event. We were beautifully welcomed with all the support we needed to stage the production and we were warmly hosted with bountiful servings of wonderful healthy food all day, including some specially prepared indigenous dishes .Two of the Everlasting Tree School teachers were able to step in at the last minute and take up supportive parts in the performance which very much added to the wonderful feelings of connection.
The audience was a mixed crowd of the very young, adolescents and elders as well as visitors from afar. This was a wonderful step forward in developing a stronger relationship between our established Waldorf community and this young and growing Mohawk immersion school that has chosen to embrace Waldorf pedagogy.
Sharing with the Community
Afterwards, we were able to sit together over soup and hear about Mohawk (Haudenosaunee) history and culture and to share questions and common contemplations. There was also some discussion about the possibility of future shared marionette shows. I would say that it felt good all round and in fact for me it felt very much like a happy reunion.”
It is encouraging to see how last year's Indigenous Waldorf courses and conferences at the RSCT are bearing fruit in both regular and indigenous Waldorf school settings so close to home. Let's hope that, as time goes on, Indigenous Waldorf will find growing acceptance across Canada and across the continent.
Photos are from the dress rehearsal for the Toronto Waldorf School performance in January 2019.
Much of the world’s art has been in service of the spiritual. The discovery of perspective and other scientific methods may have interrupted this; but not for long...
Goethe and Newton
In the late 18th century Goethe developed a colour theory, an alternative to Newton’s, which challenged the way in which we see. His vision gave rise to a new way of seeing which was to influence J.M.W. Turner and others as they pictured the invisible.
Artists at the Forefront
At the end of the nineteenth century a renewed surge of interest in the spiritual gave birth to abstraction – picturing the invisible. For the arts, the greatest influence then, and into the twentieth century, was Theosophy. Franz Marc, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Malevitch and composer Arnold Schoenburg were devotees. Of special interest is the recently rediscovered Hilma af Klint, possibly the first great abstract artist whose connections with Theosophy and then Rudolf Steiner make her a very special case.
Lawren Harris, Franklin Carmichael, J.E.H.MacDonald and Arthur Lismer of Canada’s Group of Seven were all card-carrying members of the Theosophical Society as was Bertram Brooker who had the first exhibition of abstract art in Canada.
Join Julian Mulock in a lively, richly illustrated discussion of these and other artists in their quest to picture the invisible.
About Julian Mulock
Born in England of Canadian parents, Julian spent his school years in Waldorf schools in England before moving to Canada. He graduated with honors from the three-year Special Art Course at Central Technical School, Toronto.
In 1972 he joined the staff of the Royal Ontario Museum as a scientific illustrator for six wonderful years before embarking on a career as freelance illustrator,
muralist and painter.
He is a member of the Society of Canadian Painters and a member and past president of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, a favorite haunt of The Group of Seven. Lifelong interests in the worlds of the invisible and of art have led him to give considerable thought to the intersection of the two.
Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm, April 7th and 14th. Tea will be served following the April 14th session. $20 each time. $15 for students or seniors. This event will take place at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto at 9100 Bathurst St. #4, Thornhill, ON, L4J 8C7. Free parking is available.
About the Picture
The painting on the poster is by J. M. W. Turner and is titled Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – After the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis.
On Feb. 14th, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette presented RSCT grad and South Shore Waldorf School teacher, Kathy Lucking, with a Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division) for her work with the Madagascar School Project. See official photo above.
In addition to her work with the Madagascar school (described below), Kathy Lucking is currently the Grade 2 teacher at the South Shore Waldorf School in Nova Scotia. Kathy graduated from the RSCT Part-Time Teacher Education program in July of 2016.
About the Madagascar School Project
Then-director of the RSCT, Warren Cohen, wrote about Kathy’s work with the Madagascar School Project already in January of 2016. From Warren’s report:
“The Madagascar School Project was founded in 2007 by Kathy Lucking who was working/volunteering in an orphanage in Madagascar. She wanted to help children break free from the crushing cycle of poverty and malnutrition that have plagued over two thirds of this country. She decided to found a school there, Sekoly Tenaquip and has worked tenaciously ever since directing this school as well as securing funding and resources for it.
The school serves an impoverished population, many of whom cannot afford the minimal school fees let alone feed their children during the “Hungry Season”. Now in its 7th year Sekoly Tenaquip has over 550 children enrolled from 18 surrounding villages. Many walk for over an hour to get to school each day and count on the school lunch as their only meal of the day. The school has 32 teachers from KG to Grade 12 and was founded initially on the traditional French school model which involves a rigid routine of drilling and testing in all subject areas as is common throughout Madagascar.
Kathy a retired Ontario school teacher envisions the possibility of converting the school into a Waldorf school, the first in Madagascar. She enrolled in RSCT Professional development for Waldorf Teachers part-time program as a school director. She has also travelled far and wide in Canada seeing and teaching in Waldorf schools as part of this program. Step by step she is working to convert Sekoly Tenaquip into a Waldorf school to help this unique community creatively find solutions for its future.
Kathy will be graduating from the Steiner Centre this July (of 2016). She is working with others, including her mentor Warren Lee Cohen, to sensitively bring the ideals of Waldorf pedagogy to this Malagasy community. She introduces new ideas and then listens carefully to what finds resonance within the faculty so that they can grow into leadership in practically applying these ideas to their school. It is a process that requires complete metamorphosis: letting go of old colonial forms so that they can step into nascent Waldorf ideals. These can only take root if the teachers and families see the potential of education in a whole new light. Education can be a pathway to getting a good job and can also re-enliven the whole culture of their community creating many new pathways to prosperity.
Already the art of storytelling is taking root and bringing with it depth and joy for students and teachers alike. The teachers are learning to teach through stories, to engage the children’s imaginations and thus to inspire them to learn. Storytelling also gives ample opportunities to weave together a number of subjects in a way that helps the students learn more effectively. Building living pictures is central to Waldorf pedagogy and will help engage students so that they can make positive changes in their lives, families, country and culture. Big changes are needed to break this cycle of poverty and oppression and it will take many creative people to start the tide of change….” Read the whole report here.
Followup on the Project
Warren visited the school personally in 2016 and published a further update on the Madagascar school in December of that year. Here’s the link to that report.
“This honor recognizes great Canadians for exceptional deeds accomplished over a limited period of time that bring honour to our country. They honour achievements in both civil and military divisions,
The Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) were established to recognize remarkable contributions in many different fields of endeavour, from advocacy initiatives and health care services, to research and humanitarian efforts.
Past recipients have tackled poverty in their community, improved educational opportunities for children in Canada and abroad, or raised awareness of important causes and issues. They inspire us and make us proud.” — from the Governor General’s website.
Dawne McFarlane, who has led storytelling courses and workshops at the RSCT for many years has a new role in the wide world of storytelling. Starting this year, Dawne is Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, which begins today, Saturday March 2nd and continues through March 24th.
Dawne suggests that families will be particularly interested in the TD Story Jam - a full day of family activities and stories at the Toronto Reference Library Sunday March 24, 11am-4pm; here's the link for that event.
Students of Indigenous Waldorf culture will be interested to note that at the opening ceremony Tuesday March 19 at the Native Canadian Centre Toronto (6.30-830pm), RSCT graduate Aronhiaten:ni (Sean) Thompson will present the Haudenosaunee thanksgiving address.
Here’s a overview of the whole festival from Dawne’s director’s letter:
“Storytelling Toronto presents the 40th annual Toronto Storytelling Festival! “Hatched” in 1978 at a cafe in Kensington Market, the Toronto Storytelling Festival first took flight on April 1,1979, and soared into becoming one of the world’s top urban storytelling festivals. We celebrate our 40th year with enormous gratitude and continuing flights of fancy. As always, 1001 heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, tellers, sponsors, partners, and listeners.
Behind us are the ancestors who gave voice to the stories of the earth, water, fire, and air. The festival continues to honour the storytellers of the First Nations who are keeping their oral traditions alive. Our festival theme this year is “Stories told eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart” (Scottish Traveller proverb). Tradition bearers bring wisdom from the ancestors to illuminate our future, weaving new understandings from the web of old stories. Our beautiful festival image from Luciana Baptista-Cohen’s original watercolour painting portrays the brilliance of these storythreads, the open hands that give and receive them, and the warmth of the global storytelling community we celebrate.
“There was a belief that the world was one great beating heart; the rivers and waterways it’s veins and arteries; the oceans the vital organs...” So begins a story told by Seannachaidh of Glendale Seoras Macpherson. Traditional oral stories are the most authentic source of the holistic worldview that is essential for our future. We know that we are at a tipping point and sustainability is not enough. What is needed now is radical hospitality, vigilant stewardship, love in action. Stories are powerful tools for change and always have been; they are vital ways of connecting us “heart to heart” with each other and the natural world. They are bright threads of creativity and love to weave into re-imagined ways of being with each other and our Earth.
The “old ways” discovered anew continually bring us back into the present with hope for the future. Welcome. Fàilte. Aanii. Tawow- “there is enough room.” You are part of the re-imagining.
With regard to the photo above, Dawne says; “I get to meet with such interesting characters as Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival 2019. These fabulous creations will adorn our venues with banners and giant puppets, transforming auditoriums, libraries, and marketplaces into places of wonder and giving rainbow birds flight — they will likely bring the sun to shine on us too! Many thanks to Red Pepper Spectacle Arts. And especially at the TD Story Jam family day March 24, where they will also help children of all ages make shadow puppets and shadow puppet boxes.
Dawne at the RSCT Summer Festival 2018
At last summer's RSCT Summer Festival, Dawne was on hand to introduce guest storyteller and author from Norway, Georgiana Keable. Here they are together, in the photo below from when Dawne was thanking Georgiana for sharing her story with the audience in the TWS forest playground.
Below: Georgiana Keable signs her book for young fans after the story, last summer at the RSCT Summer Festival.
The image below, which is being used as a logo for the 2019 Toronto Storytelling Festival, is from an original watercolour painting by artist Luciana Baptista-Cohen and beautifully portrays the warmth of the giving and receiving of the brilliant threads of story. Luciana is a parent at the Toronto Waldorf School.
The RSCT's Summer Festival of the Arts and Education takes place over three weeks in July, from July 8th through July 26th, 2019. The full 20-page brochuredescribing all the courses and presenters for the 2019 Summer Festival is now available online.
Printed copies will also be available soon, hopefully by the second week of March or earlier.
RSCT bookkeeper Pradeep is off on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of Shiva in India. He takes with him a coconut containing prayers and wishes from this truly international group of students and teacher from the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto. Nationalities represented in this group include, from left to right: Haudenosaunee, Chinese, Canadian, Indian, British, Mexican, and Korean.