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July 2019

Start of Week Three of the RSCT's 2019 Summer Festival of the Arts and Education


Above: Merwin Lewis welcomes a new student to his Waldorf Essentials class on Monday morning of Week Three.

Attendance for Week Three of the RSCT's 2019 Summer Festival is up substantially from earlier estimates with about 60 students now enrolled. Merwin Lewis' morning class on Waldorf Essentials has 23 students this year, up from just four last year. There are 18 in James Brian's Waldorf 100 course and 16 in Heather Church's Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood program.

Elisabeth Chomko (photo above), who led the morning singing last week, is back again with a whole new set of songs. This week includes five students attending from the Everlasting Tree School. One of these, Konwenten:ras, spoke a Haudenosaunee morning prayer in the Mohawk language after the singing.

In students from foreign lands, this week we welcome four more students from Korea, making a total of nine in attendance this week. There is also one student from Lebanon.

Above: four new students from Korea arrived in Canada this weekend in time for class on Monday morning.

Graduation on Thurs. July 25th

Just a reminder that the graduation for students in the three-year part-time Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers program takes place this Thursday at 5 pm. Everyone is invited. No RSVP is required. Just show up at the RSCT seminar room on the Thornhill campus at 9100 Bathurst St. Thornhill.

And up in Durham, at Glencolton Farms, the first ever Young Adult Retreat program started this past Sunday July 21st and continues through Saturday July 27th.

Above and below: pictures from Marie France's games class in the TWS gym, Monday afternoon. Above: introductions. Below: stretching exercises.

Above and below: Lunch time this year is a little longer than last year, to allow for in-depth conversations. Some like to spend their lunch outdoors on the grass (above). Others prefer to be inside where it's air-conditioned. That's Merwin Lewis and Heather Church in conversation in the photo below.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

In Memory of Joan Almon, July 14th, 2019


From Our Friends at WECAN: 

Joan Almon, our inspiring, courageous friend and colleague and the founder of WECAN, had been dealing with breast cancer for more than a decade before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June. She continued to be active and full of future plans and initiatives until very recently, and crossed the threshold peacefully in her sleep in the early morning of Sunday, July 14th. She would have celebrated her 74th birthday on August 10.

Our hearts are heavy, but we are inspired by her initiative and tireless good will on behalf of children everywhere. After many years of working as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, Joan founded the Waldorf Kindergarten Association (today called the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) in 1983, in order to provide resources and support to the growing number of Waldorf early childhood educators in North America. She launched the Gateways newsletter, edited a number of publications, and organized the first North American Waldorf early childhood conferences.

Joan also travelled internationally as a lecturer and advisor to countless kindergartens on several continents and was active in the International Waldorf Kindergarten Association. Click here to read a tribute to her pioneering work that appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Gateways.

Joan went on to become co-general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, and in 1999 she co-founded the Alliance for Childhood, in order to reach out more broadly on behalf of healthy childhood, partnering with many individuals and organizations to advocate for the critical importance of free creative play in the first seven years of life.

She was the author of Fool's Gold - A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood, and co-author of Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School. Joan loved fairy tales and puppetry, and performed many marionette plays. Many will remember her ambitious large-scale marionette production of Goethe's fairytale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.

Joan was a warrior with an enormous heart, tremendous will forces, and a deep understanding of the needs of the young child. ˇ˛ A memorial service is planned for late September. We will announce details here in the coming weeks.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  

Start of Week Two of the RSCT 2019 Summer Festival of the Arts and Education


Photo above: Plant observation exercise in Robert McKay's Meditation for Teachers course.

The magic continues with week two of the 2019 Summer Festival of the Arts and Education. This week is a smaller, more intimate, experience. Last week's grade intensives are over. This week's focus is more inward and artistic with morning sessions including Robert McKay's course on "Meditation and the Spiritual Path of the Waldorf Teacher" and Fiona Hughes' course on "Seven Essential Nutrients for Health".

Fiona Hughes (right) with nutrition class students, getting introduced on Monday morning.

This week there are over forty students in attendance. About 28 people came out for Tuesday morning's start-of-day singing with Elisabeth Chomko. There are about 30 students in Robert's meditation course and nine in Fiona's nutrition class.

Afternoon courses are likewise full to capacity. Fourteen students in Brian Searson's "Coloured Dust" chalkboard drawing workshop, thirteen with Larry Young, Painting Faces, in the art room, and fourteen aspiring felters with Kathie Young in the RSCT seminar room.

As was the case last week, this week's students hail from far and wide. Notably there are three from Korea, along with participats from Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Whistler, Edmonton and Calgary.

Events Open to the Wider Community

This Thursday July 18th at 5 pm there will be two student research presentations. Jennifer Bergfeldt will talk about "Building a Healthy Parent Community -- as a Support for the Children in the Classroom". And Jessica Sykes will present her research on "Teacher Talk Today -- weaving, experience and being".

And next Thursday July 25th, also at 5 pm, will be the graduation of the Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers Part-Time program. No RSVP is necessary. Just show up.

If you come for the presentations this week or the graduation next week, be sure to check out the exhibition of prints of 50 of Larry Young's paintings which is located in the hallway outside the TWS music room.

One of Larry's paintings was featured on the cover of the 2019 Summer Festival brochure. Before moving to Toronto, Larry taught art for many years at the Green Meadow Waldorf High School in Spring Valley, New York.

Above and below: Exhibition of Larry Young's face paintings in the TWS hallway outside the music room.

Above: Getting organized in Robert McKay's editation class on Tuesday morning.

Above: First-thing-in-the-morning singing with RSCT music teacher Elisabeth Chomko

Above: First day of Brian Searson's "Coloured Dust" chalkboard drawing course.

Above: Artist Larry Young with students in the TWS art room, getting ready to paint some faces.

Above: Some of the needle-felting samples brought to the Monday's felting class by teacher Kathie Young.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

2019 Summer Festival of the Arts and Education Starts Today at the RSCT in Thornhill


Above and below: Monica Sutherland leads students in a song from the Torres Islands at the opening assembly Monday morning July 8th.

The RSCT's 2019 Summer Festival of the Arts and Education officially started today with an 8:30 am singing session for students and faculty, with Monica Sutherland (see photos above). This year's festival attracted students from as far away as Korea, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Mexico and Iceland, although most of the students are from Canada and the US.

Above: Eurythmy class with Susann Herb Eddy on Monday afternoon.

This year's enrolment is up from last year. According to RSCT executive director James Brian, there are 117 students registered in this year's programs, which breaks down to 75 or 80 students in week one, during which the full-day grade intensives take place, then about 50 students in each of week two and week three.

Above: Lunchtime conversations on the grass in the RSCT front yard on Monday July 8th.

This year, for the first time, there was a gathering at 5 pm on the Sunday before the course started for faculty and first-year part-time Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers program students. This year there are eighteen students starting first year in the program. Photos below are from that event:

Above and below: First-year Waldorf teacher part-time students meeting with faculty on Sunday July 7th.

Brian Searson (middle) and Ena Bruce (right) are here. Brian will be teaching chalkboard drawing.

Phil Hartman, Ena Bruce and Diana Hughes chat with students.

Phil Fertey from Vancouver is teaching the Grade Eight intensive this week.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  
June 2019

Nicanor Perlas - From AI to Threefolding


Above: This was the scene last night in the TWS music room, with all the people who came to hear Nicanor's talk on the challenge of AI.

We were a little nervous about hosting an international speaker on a weekday near the end of June, but we needn't have worried. People rallied to the call. Folks came from as far away as Buffalo New York, Montreal Quebec, and Durham Ontario to hear Nicanor Perlas share his knowledge and insight last night on the topic of artificial intelligence and the challenge it presents to humankind in the 21st century. A big thank you to everyone who came out and helped make the evening such a success.

Tonight Nicanor will be speaking again in the music room at the Toronto Waldorf School at 7 pm on a topic that has the potential to be something of a solution to the problems he described last night -- social threefolding. Without getting into the details too much, this will be about how society can be restructured so that its institutions can be made more responsive to genuine human needs and concerns. 

Two photos above: Nicanor being interviewed this morning for a documentary film on Social Threefolding.

Nicanor has been quietly supporting efforts in this direction in his native country, the Philippines, where good things are happening on the local level at least, in a growing number of towns and cities, inspired by ideas based on Rudolf Steiner's idea of the Threefold Social Organism, that Nicanor was invited to share with local leaders. 

Above: Janet, Melissa and Gloria came all the way from the Buffalo New York area to hear Nicanor's talk on Artificial Intelligence.

So while last night's presentation was challenging on many levels and many people were being awakened to threats they barely knew existed, this evening's talk promises to be a little more encouraging, as we learn about some of the ideas and the ways that human beings can mount a meaningful response to social challenges such as Artificial Intelligence.

Gabriele will again be selling copies of Nicanor's two most recent books as well as many books which he mentions in his bibliographies, at a book table in the hallway outside the music room tonight. Nicanor says that following his lecture tour in the United States, his books are sold out down there. So we're lucky that Gabriele still has copies left at her TriFold book table.

Hope to see you tonight at Nicanor's talk on Social Threefolding.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

 

  

Getting Ready for Nicanor Perlas' talk on Humanizing Artificial Intelligence June 26th, 7 pm


We're Looking forward to Nicanor Perlas' talk this evening on Humanizing Artificial Intelligence. Nicanor arrived last night and has been spending the day keeping up with his various other projects over email and such.

Like the Seventh Seal

Toronto -- well, Thornhill, actually -- is the seventh stop for him so far on his North American tour this summer. We were over at the music room checking things out earlier today and putting up a couple of tables in the hall, one for Gabriele's books, and another for Sybille Hahn, who has kindly agreed to collect the admission fee of $20 from each person.

We wanted to keep the fee affordable, while still having a good chance to cover our commitments to Nicanor. We paid for his flight from New York, are putting him up in a hotel for three nights, where he can relax better and get more done, than if he were staying in a private home, and we want to give him a good honorarium as well.

World Class Author and Activist

So we're hoping lots of people will take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear a world-renowned author and activist share his views on the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Those include Artificial Intelligence (tonight June 26th at 7 pm), and Social Threefolding -- recognizing the threefold nature of society and working with it, rather than against it (tomorrow June 27th, also at 7 pm).

His Books Sold Out in America

Tonight Gabriele of Tri-Fold books will be on hand with copies of both of Nicanor's recent books. His 1999 book on Shaping Globalization has been recently reprinted with some additional sections. Nicanor will be signing books for people after the lecture. You can bring your books from home or buy one (or two) at Gabriele's book table which will be in the hall outside the Music Room.

Nicanor said that as a result of this summer's tour, his books are now sold out in the United States, and they had ordered 350 copies of them to begin with. He said that crowds of about 80 people have been typical for his American events.

Now it's Our Turn

We'll see if we get that many here in Thornhill, at the end of June, two weeks after school is out. However, a few people have contacted us, wanting to reserve advance tickets, worried that all the seats will be sold out. We've told them that we are not taking advance reservations, but we are hoping to have space for everyone who wants to be there.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in the Toronto Waldorf School music room tonight at 7 pm. The part time Early Childhood course students have been working on a marionette show in the music room. They'll leave their stage, covered with silks, and we'll have to work around it. Should still be room for enough chairs for everyone, and we're soon going over to set them up, in good time for tonight's lecture! More on Nicanor: https://www.rsct.ca/Nicanor-Perlas-This-week

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

THIS WEEK: Nicanor Perlas June 26 & June 27


It's the last week of June. School's out at TWS and RSCT, although local public schools are still in their final week of classes. And Nicanor Perlas is coming to Toronto -- well, to Thornhill at least. Just to be super-clear, both of Nicanor's local events will be up here in Thornhill. There are no events with Nicanor in downtown Toronto. 

Two Talks in Thornhill

Both Wednesday and Thursday evening talks will be in Thornhill, in the music room at the Toronto Waldorf School, sponsored by the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto. Wednesday's talk will be on Humanizing Artificial Intelligence. The talk begins at 7 pm, although Gabriele will be open with her book table already at 6:30 pm in case people want to buy copies of one of Nicanor's books, or perhaps of one of the books he mentions in his bibliographies. Gabriele has compiled a partial list of those books, which we have included at the end of this post. There will be a book signing after Nicanor's June 26th talk.

Nicanor has spent most of the last month touring across the United States. On Tuesday evening he'll be flying into Toronto Pearson airport from New York LaGuardia. Before that he was in Boston, doing three events in one day. After Toronto, he's off to Vancouver for a weekend workshop. 

Next Steps to Learn More about AI and Threefolding

And early next month he's giving a week-long course in California on threefolding and AI that is being hosted by the Right Livelihood College, Institute for Social Transformation, University of California Santa Cruz. Nicanor writes that "It will not only cover the theoretical aspects of threefolding but will go into greater details of how it can be done. I will use our large scale societal threefolding efforts in the Philippines that are already affecting the lives of 300,000 people plus more on the horizon, as a case study. In addition, we will also take a look at other efforts that are being done by participants themselves." 

The course is titled " Humanizing Artifcial Intelligence: Using Cultural Power, Governance & Business to Address the Challenges of Our Time" and runs from July 8-12 in Santa Cruz, CA.

For more about Nicanor's background and qualifications, see this earlier blog post.

Read all about it...

In addition to Nicanor's own books, "Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power and Threefolding" (1999) and "Humanity's Last Stand: The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence" (2018), Gabriele (of Trifold Books) will have the following books for sale, starting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday June 26th at the Toronto Waldorf School music room (where Nicanor's talk will take place):

A sampling  of the Books available from Tri Fold Books, mentioned in Notes to ‘Humanity’s last Stand’:

An Autobiography, Rudolf Steiner

Other Biographies of R. Steiner

Anthroposophical Movement, R. Steiner GA258

Appearance of Christ in the Etheric, S. Prokofieff

Approaching the Mystery of Golgotha, R.Steiner

An Outline of Esoteric Science, R. Steiner

Anthroposophical Leading Thougts, R. Steiner

Anthroposophy as a Path of Knowledge, R. Steiner

Archangel Michael. His Mission and Ours, R. Steiner

Background to the Gospel of Mark, R. Steiner

Buddha and Christ, R. Steiner

Effect of Occult Development ….R. Steiner GA 145

Egyptian Myth & Mysteries, R. Steiner

Esoteric Christianity, R.S.

Esoteric Lessons 1904-1909, R. Steiner

Evolution  of Consciousness, R. Steiner

Gospel of John, R. Steiner

Gospel of Luke, R. Steiner

Heavenly Sophia and the Being Anthroposophia, S. Prokofieff

Human Heart, E. Pfeiffer

Human Heart, Dr. Thomas Cowan

In the Sign of the Five, T H. Meyer

Karmic Relationships Vo. 3, R. Steiner

Karmic Relationships Vo. 4, R. Steiner

Knights Templar, R. Steiner

Knowledge of Higher Worlds, R. Steiner

May Human Beings hear it! S. Prokofieff

Mission of the Archangel Michael, R. Steiner

Parzival, Wolfram v. Eschenbach

Parzival, retold

Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, R. Steiner

Riddles of Philosophy, R. Steiner

R. Steiner and Ch. Rosenkreutz, P. Selg

Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries, S Prokofieff

Shaping Globalization N. Perlas

Temple Legends, R. Steiner

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

Full-Time Waldorf-Teacher Graduation 2019


Class of 2019 Waldorf Teacher Full Time Grads, flanked by Director of Early Childhood Jan Patterson (left), and Director of Education, James Brian (right). Student grads are L-R: Lee Joong Gwang, Ariadne Castillo, Sulemita Herrera, Liu Dong Dong, Wahsant:io Hill, Daniel McSharry.

Every year at the end of May the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto graduates a fresh batch of Waldorf teachers from the Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers Full-Time program. This year there were six graduating teachers, including two in the Early Childhood Full-Time stream. 

Where Are The Grads Going?

So who are they and where are they heading off to next in their professional journeys?

Daniel McSharry is going to be working as an assistant in the Grade Four class at the Toronto Waldorf School during the mornings. In the afternoon he will be teaching various classes as a math and science specialist. When we talked to him a few weeks ago he was planning to look for accommodation nearby to TWS. He'll be here for the RSCT Summer Festival (July 8-26) and then he's off to Columbia for a couple of weeks vacation.

Early Childhood specialist Wahsant:io Hill is returning to her home and family at the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (near Brantford) where she plans to open a Waldorf-inspired home childcare. She feels that this is an impulse that has come to her out of the cosmos and is something she has been wanting to do for a long time. For more about Wahsant:io see this earlier blog post.

Liu Dong Dong is staying in Canada a little while longer. She's planning to go to Montreal and visit museums. Then she's headed back to China for a bit of a rest and spend some time there considering her options. There are many Waldorf schools and initiatives in China where she could teach.

Sulemita Herrera has friends coming to visit from Australia. Then, with her friends and her husband, she, will travel around Canada for five weeks. Then she'll be back for the TWS Summer Camp, then back home briefly to Mexico, and then off to Costa Rica where she will be teaching Grades One and Two (15 children) at the Bona Casta Waldorf School, where RSCT alumna Katherine Beecham is currently teaching.

Ariadne Castillo was going to do a little more practice teaching in the TWS preschool with Mr. Mario, before going off to Barcelona, Spain for a month. Then she'll be back to work at the TWS summer camp where she'll have a group of four-year olds. Then it's off to Tijuana, Mexico where she will be teaching a mixed-age kindergarten in a new initiative that has been running for three years now. The school has a close connection with the San Diego Waldorf School in California, which is just across the border.

Lee Joong Gwang went back right after his RSCT graduation to attend the graduation of the Grade Eight class he had student taught at the Cincinnati Waldorf School. After that he is going to San Francisco and then he’ll be back at the RSCT for the Summer Festival from July 8-26 where he will be helping to teach some classes. Lee and his wife Young Sook are originally from Korea, but they have been living in the US where Lee worked as an engineer and their children attended Waldorf schools. Lee hopes to eventually start a traveling school that would be based on a boat.

Sulemita and her husband, Eduardo.

Daniel and friends, with a copy of the programme for the graduation.

Ariadne (right) with her mom.

Longtime RSCT handwork teacher Annette Wintjes, and her neice from the Netherlands.

RSCT teachers Diana Hughes and Paul Hodgkins.

Recorder playing at the graduation.

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

NEW: Five Scholarships Announced for Young Adult Retreat Week at Glencolton Farms


Five Bursary Opportunities available for Glencolton Retreat 2019

Experience Anthroposophy on a Biodynamic Farm  July 21 to 27, 2019

RSCT is pleased to announce that we can offer five bursary opportunities for people wishing to attend the retreat who cannot afford the retreat costs. The bursay will cover all or a portion of the costs based on need.

To apply for the bursary, please send an email to Jame Brian, Executive Director at jmbrian@rogers.com no later than Friday, June 28 at 5:00 pm, addressing the following questions:

1. A Brief Biography

Please tell us a bit about yourself and why you are interested in attending the retreat. No more than 200 words. Please include your phone number and let us know whether it is better for us to contact you by phone or email.

2. Your Need for a Bursary

Please provide your family income for 2018, a description of your current financial situation explaining why you need a bursary, and how much you can contribute to the cost of the retreat which is $1,350 CAD (inclusive of food and lodging).

James will respond to you by Tuesday, July 2 to let you know if you were successful in securing a bursary.


Note: The Wakefield young adult retreat that was earlier announced for August is no longer being offered for this year.


© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

  

Full-Time Early Childhood Program -- a Student's Experience


Wahsonti:io Hill is a one of six full-time students who graduated last month from the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto’s one-year full-time Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers program, and one of two who chose to specialize in early childhood. Their program is called Professional Development for Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers Full-Time.* Wahsonti:io is third from the right in the photo above of the full time grads cutting the cake at their graduation.

She Heard about it from Chandra

Wahsonti:io’s first exposure to Waldorf came through her friend, Chandra Maracle, who was one of the founders of the Everlasting Tree School at the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (near Brantford). Chandra recognized the benefits of the Waldorf approach for Indigenous children, and she would drop little seeds to stimulate interest among her friends.

Later Chandra took her friends to visit some Waldorf schools and shared with them the knowledge she had gained about Steiner’s approach to children and learning. From what Chandra showed her, Wahsonti:io saw the beauty in Waldorf education and appreciated how it fit with Indigenous culture.

Wahsonti:io’s path then led her to take part in the RSCT’s Foundation Studies Encounter program in Thornhill, with Paul Hodgkins in 2008. At the time she had no intention to teach. She just wanted to understand anthroposophy and the foundations of Waldorf for her own personal interest.

Photo above -- Family members at the graduation June 2019, L-R: Audrey Hill, sister, Karonto:ton, daughter, Ienenhstaienthos, daughter, Kakwiri:io, son, Ollie Beaver, father, Rarahkwaseres, son, Teiehkwa, daughter, Atiaktatie, partner, Wahsonti:io.

Journeying with her Children

Then when the Everlasting Tree School (a Waldorf initiative) started nine years ago, she enrolled her daughter in Grade One and her son in Kindergarten. Those were the only two classes being offered at the time. Her daughter, Teiehkwa, graduated from Grade Eight at ETS last June (2018). And this past year when Wahsonti:io was living in Thornhill to attend the full-time program, her daughter, Teiehkwa (photo below), took on the role of being the primary female at home, even though she was only 15 years old.

She made sure her Downs-Syndrome brother got up in the morning and got off to school. She did the cooking, and played the role of the mom. Wahsonti:io said that her kids enjoyed school. But, over the four years she struggled with cancer, starting at age 11, Teiehkwa missed a lot of school, and needed tutoring. It was during that time that Wahsonti:io had started in the part-time Waldorf teacher program at the RSCT, but had to withdraw so she could be there for her daughter.

Benefits of the Full-Time Program

Later, Wahsonti:io decided to do the full-time program at RSCT (instead of continuing with the part-time program). She knew she wanted to have a more in-depth understanding of the early years in Waldorf education. She said that having completed the full-time program now, she would not even consider the part-time program, given what the full-time program provides.

She said that at RSCT, all the instructors brought to the classroom an in-depth understanding from their own classroom experiences. Each built on the other in terms of understanding Steiner’s model of education and child development. She said the opportunities to do practicums with master teachers really enabled her to put into practice what she had been learning.

Putting the Learning into Practice

Wahsonti:io was grateful to have been able to work with Mary and Genevieve in the TWS Birchgrove kindergarten, as well as with Mario and his helpers in the TWS childcare. And also with Lea in the Parent and Tot, and with Laurie in her Hearthstone home childcare. Wahsonti:io said they were all amazing people. She also spoke of her feelings of being welcomed into the community here and made to feel at home by everyone she encountered. She said she feels fortunate to have been a part of it this year during her full-time studies at the RSCT.

One thing Wahsonti:io wants to do next is to take some courses in the Pickler method to better understand how the lower senses are formed in the earliest years of child development, and to learn what a child needs, and what they will not benefit them.

Marionette Show about the Seven Dancing Stars

Wahsonti:io said that one of the parallels between Waldorf and Indigenous cultures is the central role of stories and storytelling. Last January she was invited by Patti Wolfe to work with a group of experienced Waldorf educators to help develop a marionette show based on an Indigenous legend about the Seven Dancing Stars. 

Patti had come to her with a script, but Wahsonti:io was able to help her find a more authentic version of the story. Patti also wanted to consult with her about skin color and clothing for the puppets that were to represent the Indigenous parents and children in the story. The marionette show was presented as part of the Toronto Waldorf School’s Children’s Winter Festival, and again a few weeks later for audiences at the Everlasting Tree School’s midwinter festival.

Wahsonti:io played the drum for the performances and got to see how a Waldorf marionette show was put together from very beginnings through performance for audiences. She said she was surprised how much work was involved in really doing it well. Photo below: Wahsonti:io and Patti during rehearsal.

Wahsonti:io says that the story of the Seven Dancing Stars is about the constellation of the Pleiades. She said that her people watch that constellation rise in the night sky so that they will know when to celebrate the midwinter ceremony, which is the most important ceremony of the year. It’s the appearance of those stars that signals the timing of the ceremony. Wahsonti:io said that many Indigenous traditions connect that constellation with the origin of their people.

About the Full-Time Program

Earlier, Wahsonti:io had taken courses to qualify for an Ontario Teaching Certificate. It was a 3 to 4 year part-time program. She said that program was more about what you fill the children’s heads with, and about the legalities and liabilities of teaching. After completing that program she did some second-language teaching in Indigenous language and culture schools. But Wahsonti:io said that what she learned in the Ontario Teaching Certificate program doesn’t begin to compare with what she learned over the past year at the RSCT, in terms of preparing her to stand before the children with love and a sense of who she is as a person.

Wahsonti:io had nothing but praise for the leadership of the full-time RSCT Waldorf teacher program and how Early Childhood Program Director Jan Patterson and Teacher Education Director James Brian work together, bringing their compassion, their skills, their knowledge and their organization together to make it all happen for the students. She said she also appreciated James’ help with finding a suitable place to stay, and the help of the Toronto Waldorf School in including her daughter in the first grade class while Wahsonti:io completed her teaching studies.

In addition, Wahsonti:io said she also enjoyed being able to make friends with other aspiring Waldorf teachers from all around the world, including students from Mexico, China, and Korea, and to have the opportunity to learn about their cultures. Now she feels she has lifelong friends from around the world. And with the professional development she was able to achieve at the RSCT she feels she now has something more to bring to the Six Nations children that would immensely benefit their spirits.

Bringing it all Back Home

Now that she’s graduated as a Waldorf early childhood teacher, Wahsonti:io plans to start a home childcare program on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She says that although there are already four Ministry of Education daycares on the reserve, as well as several private home daycares, there are still long waiting lists, and there’s still a need. In addition to a Waldorf approach to early childhood, Wahsonti:io wants to offer an immersion in Mohawk language and culture for the children in her home childcare.

And now that she has experienced the community of living and studying here, she wants to try to re-create something of that in her own life through her home childcare and by encouraging others to take an interest in Waldorf, and eventually come to study at the RSCT.

*In case you’re wondering why the convoluted names, it’s because, for the last few years, the RSCT has been limited by the government to enrolling students who already have teaching experience, or in the case of part-time program, students who are currently teaching in schools. An application process is underway to reclassify the RSCT as a private career college. And once that process is complete and accepted by the government, the RSCT will once again be able to accept students into teacher education programs and early childhood teacher education programs without needing them to have had prior teaching experience or current teaching positions. 

© Copyright 2018-19 RSCT Inc.  All rights reserved.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  
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