December 2018

Working with the Archangels - Jan in Ireland

Above: view of the historic town of Kilkenny in Ireland, from a local tourist information display.

Recently our Director of Early Childhood Education, Jan Ney Patterson, attended a four-day conference in Kilkenny Ireland for leaders of Waldorf early childhood education programs. The 89 participants included representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Canada and the USA. This conference was the third and final in a series of colloquiums. 

Lest Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

During the conference, Jan was able to meet some of the people she had worked with at the earlier conference in Vienna. Jan also renewed her connection to Graham Kennish a colleague she knew from her time at Emerson College in the 1970s.

The theme for this conference was about the inner development of the educator. Who trains the trainer and how deeply do they drink from the well? 

Working Together with Other Teachers Around the World

Florian Oswald, leader of the Pedagogical Section in Dornach was the keynote speaker.  It was significant to have someone primarily related to the grade school focus working with the early childhood educators as the two areas need to work more closely together.

Florian admired how the International Association of Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) organization had established such high standards for the training of early childhood educators.

Every morning opened with the verse from Steiner’s mystery drama The Portal of Initiation setting the tone for the day. 

"When many people join in conversation, 

Their words present themselves before the soul 

As if among them stood, mysteriously, 

The Archetype of Man. 

It shows itself diversified in many souls, 

Just as pure light, the One, 

Reveals itself within the rainbow’s arch 

In many coloured hues."

WECAN photo above, from the Kilkenny colloquium, reprinted by permission. Other photos courtesy of Jan Patterson.

Ph.D. Equivalent for Early Childhood

A teacher educator must herself be a master of the subject she is teaching.  How do we gain this kind of mastery? How do we do spiritual research? In the academic world, professors are expected to have a Ph.D. but what is the equivalent for early childhood? To stand before our students we must be actively working on our own inner development.

To deepen our relationship Florian stressed the significance of what has come to be called “the night work”. Connecting to one’s own angel is the first step. The second is for our own angels to connect to one another through the activity of the archangels. From one to another, they unite us with colleagues all over the world. 

Above: view from Jan's bedroom, at the place she was staying, near Kilkenny Ireland.

Like Modern Monks - The "Night Community"

Florian called this activity “the night community”. We are like modern monks. But we only become a community when the space between us is filled with listening to the other. We need to hold back and become interested in what the other is saying.

We have two thresholds —sleeping and waking. In the night we digest the day. But in the day, we need to pay attention to what comes to us from the night. It’s a two-way process. Why is it that the person you need to talk to, suddenly show up? Or just the right thing happens. It is the angel sorting out your day. This is the morning call of “Michael.” 

Here in Canada we are attracting students from all over the world. This year we have our largest, most mature, and most diverse group of part-time and full-time early childhood student teachers. Now more then ever, we need the support of the archangels to allow us to do our work.

Florian is adamant that to do this we need to get rid of limited pre-conceived ideas. As a result of this work, life can start to change as it does for example when a child starts to change during a focused child study.

Learnings from the Workshops

Jan was also able to attend three of the many workshops that were offered. One was about biography, looking at one’s own life as a treasure chest, a self-education process. Another workshop was in Psychosophy to develop skills to become your own counsellor and look at yourself more objectively. And the third one was on using art postcards to enliven our teaching.

Holly and Michael Soule lead a sharing workshop about how we prepare our students to meet the social dynamics in a Waldorf school and how to nurture social capacities in teachers. 

Jan came away both enliven and with a stronger sense of the important role we play at the Rudolf Steiner Centre. Even though we are small in number, we still have the possibility of bringing a great light into the world, but in order to do this, we must first re-kindle our own light.

Jan Ney Patterson 

Above: Jan walking by the river. Below: one of the colloquium sessions in progress.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  

Christmas Greetings and Upcoming Events Dec-Feb

The photo above is from the RSCT's end-of-the-school year Christmas festival, which was celebrated with faculty, volunteers, friends, and this year's full time Waldorf Professional Development students, on Friday December 14th.

At this festival, the Teacher Education students presented a puppet show of an indigenous story in which one of the characters was a little bird. The students also made little birds out of white wool and gave one to each person who attended the festival. Many of the people in the photo are holding up the little white birds they were given.

Remembering the Wider Community

This is a time of year when we want to remember all those people who have connected, or will connect, with impulse of Waldorf education and anthroposophy and with the work of the Rudolf Steiner Center Toronto.

If you are one of those who has already made the connection, we would like to thank you for your participation and interest in sharing with us the task of helping people discover and learn more about Waldorf and anthroposophy through programs and events that the RSCT offers. And if you are one of those who will be connecting with this work in the future, please don't wait too long to get in touch.

We also hope you will support this work with your generous donations, volunteer help, and by confirming that you want to receive our emails. 

Best wishes for 2019

James Brian, RSCT Executive Director

Upcoming Events Dec. 14 - Feb. 12

Dec. 17 - Third Festival of Light at Toronto Waldorf School, 8:30 am

Dec. 19 - Oberufer Shepherd’s Play – Join the TWS faculty, staff, students, and members of the community for a performance of this traditional medieval shepherd’s play in the Toronto Waldorf School forum. Admission is by donation. 

Dec. 21 - Fourth Festival of Light at Toronto Waldorf School, 8:30 am

Dec. 22 - Last Village Market Saturday of 2018

Dec. 29 - Village Market closed for one Saturday. 

Jan. 5 - Village Market re-opens for 2019

Jan. 15 - Local members of the Anthroposophical Society are invited to meet on Tuesday January 15th, 7 pm in the Foundation Room at Hesperus to join an initiative group working together towards forming a new members group in the Thornhill area. For more info:

Feb. 1 - Registration begins for Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy, and Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers (both full-time and part-time). All of the above programs start in Sept. 2019. Foundation Studies will be offered both on Wednesday mornings (for parents) and Saturday mornings, at the RSCT in Thornhill. There may also be Foundation Studies programs in downtown Toronto, in Guelph and in Halton. Registration also begins in February for the RSCT’s Summer Festival of Arts and Education July 8 to 27. Contact: • 905-764-7570 •

Feb. 12, 19, 26, March 5 - Dr. Kenneth McAlister will give a course titled “Enlivening Our Concepts with Experiential Exploration” in the Foundation Room at Hesperus East. Sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society in Canada. See details on poster below.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  

Wish List for the RSCT's First "Star Seedlings Family and Childcare Centre" in Guelph

The RSCT's Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director, Karen Weyler, has been hard at work, getting ready for the opening of the first "Star Seedlings Family and Child Care Centre" in Guelph in the spring of 2019. The house which the new centre will inhabit, has been previously used as a childcare centre, which should simplify compliance and approvals.

However, as you can see from the interior photos above, it's going to need some loving work to make it into a "Waldorf" childcare centre. Karen has sent the following list of things that are needed to get the new centre up and running for the spring of 2019.

If you have any of these items and you're willing to donate them to the Star Seedlings, please contact Karen directly at

Donations & gifts for four rooms needed & gratefully accepted:

Heavy duty washer and dryer


Indoor plants

Wool Carpets and any area rugs of all sizes, plain/solid colour preferred

Love seats and cushions

Window blinds of various sizes


Wooden hand rail for stairs

Bookshelves of all shapes and sizes, wooden for rooms but also metal for storage

Tables, of all shapes and sizes

Chests of drawers


TOYS - traditional hand made Waldorf toys, blocks, dolls, play stands, play kitchens.......

Natural materials - shells, pinecones, acorns/chestnuts, etc.

Wooden stumps, dry branches and wooden discs

Wool blankets - preferably solid colour


Brooms and dustpans

Vacuum cleaner and industrial mop

Candle holders and lanterns

Picture frames

3-ring binders

Printer and office desk

Household kitchen cooking materials such as bowls, measuring cups and mixing

spoons, baking dishes eg. Muffin tins

Tool box with screwdriver, hammer, pliers, selection of screws and nails etc.

Gardening tools

Snow shovels

Once again, if you have any of these items and you're willing to donate them to the new Star Seedlings Family and Childcare Centre, please contact Karen directly at Thank you!


Waldorf Schools, Family  
November 2018

Renewed Vision for the Future - 2018 Gift Appeal

Photo above: Faculty and friends with this year's full-time Waldorf Teacher Professional Development students at the RSCT's Michaelmas festival on September 28th, 2018.

Dear Friends of the Rudolf Steiner Centre,

We have wonderful news to deliver!

We have successfully turned the challenges of the last two years into a renewal of the Rudolf Steiner Centre. We listened closely to extensive input from 50 members of the community in a visioning meeting, interviewed past and present students, and our committed board engaged in several extensive retreats. As a result, the Rudolf Steiner Centre is moving into the future with new confidence and purpose.

From this comprehensive review we have developed a strong, three-year strategic plan for our future which can be viewed through this link.

The results of these efforts have already begun to bear fruit. Our programs are attracting increased interest both nationally and internationally, while we are also developing an exciting partnership with the Canadian Indigenous community.

None of this would have been possible without your steadfast support. We thank you!

We continue our efforts to become an accredited Private Career College so that we will be able to accept more applicants into our Waldorf teacher education programs and build a platform for future vocational training initiatives.

To do this requires concerted effort and expenditure. As we continue to expand our programs, we ask you to give generously to fund this and our future work as we continue to develop the transformative resources of anthroposophy.

To make a donation:

Please go to the Canada Helps “Giving” button on RSCT’s website home page – you will receive a tax receipt immediately:

Or visit our website’s “Giving” page to send a cheque.


James Brian, Executive Director

Jan Ney Patterson, Director of Early Childhood Education

Robert McKay, Chair of the Board of Directors


RSCT 2018 Successes


• The Early Childhood Education part-time program is at full capacity of 17 for the first time. The 2018-2020 cohort is a remarkably diverse and mature group. The Birth-to-Three program was developed by Jan Patterson, our director of Early Childhood Education, to meet the needs of childcare educators seeking what Waldorf education can offer in caring for the youngest and most vulnerable of our children.


• The Summer Festival was a great success with over 150 participants. Full-day grade intensives were offered and received positive feedback from teachers and students.

• Nine participants graduated from the Teacher Education part-time program who are now teaching at schools across Canada and in the United States. Currently there are 16 students in years 1 and 2.

• RSCT sponsored an intensive four-week Foundation Studies course in Hanoi, Vietnam, with 35 graduates.


• Foundation Studies Encounter, under the leadership of Elyse Pomeranz and Les Black, saw the graduation of 12 Indigenous participants. This course was held at the Everlasting Tree School on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve.


• Two courses in Foundation Studies Encounter are being offered at RSCT in Thornhill: Saturday mornings and Wednesday mornings for Toronto Waldorf School parents, both under the leadership of Paul Hodgkins.

• A new course in Foundation Studies Encounter has started Monday evenings in Guelph at the Trillium Waldorf School under the leadership of George Ivanoff.

• RSCT was accepted last November as a Designated Learning Institute by Immigration Canada and currently has students from Korea, China and Mexico in the full-time Teacher Education program.

• To attract more Canadians and thus provide more teachers for Canadian schools, the Centre is now applying to become a private career college. We hope to be able to accept students starting in September, 2019.


• The Waldorf Development Conference, with the theme Working with Indigenous Cultural Material in the Waldorf School Setting, attracted 110 participants from Canada and the United States.


• We welcomed the return of Professor Fred Amrine for a well attended Sunday Afternoon at the Rudolf Steiner Centre.

• In the new year, RSCT will be opening a childcare centre in Guelph called the Star Seedlings Family and Childcare Centre. This will be under the leadership of Karen Weyler, our National Director of Childcare.In Memory of Gene Campbell


In Memory of Gene Campbell

Gene Campbell, the founder of the Foundation Studies Distance program, passed away this summer from cancer. She remained encouraging and dedicated to RSCT and played a big part in helping us implementing our new vision. A moving gathering in tribute to her memory was held at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in September.

We thank and acknowledge Gene Campbell for her dedicated role in helping RSCT expand our understanding of what is possible.

We send her on her journey:

May my love be the sheaths
That now surround you-
Cooling all warmth,
Warming all coldness-
Interwoven with sacrifice!
Live, borne by love-
Light endowed- upward!

Rudolf Steiner


Make Sure You Receive ALL the RSCT News and Updates

Subscribe to our new "RSCT Confirmed" email list. Start by clicking this link. Then fill out your name and email click the "Subscribe to List" button. Next you will receive an email asking for confirmation that you wish to subscribe. Once you click the link in that email you will be subscribed. We aim to publish an e-newsletter every two months at least. So let's stay in touch. Here's that link again. Thank you.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Summer Festival  

Julian's Play | Indigenous Waldorf Follow-up | Coach to Christkindl Market | Puppet Shows and Concert

Julian Mulock Directs a Play at the Curtain Club

Long-time RSCT supporter and visiting teacher Julian Mulock has a long history in the dramatic arts and especially in community theatre. His latest production is now showing at the Curtain Club in Richmond Hill. The play he is directing, "Enchanted April" is on from Nov. 16th through Dec. 1.

Julian says he was nervous up until opening night when everything came together. He expects it will be sold out due to word of mouth so don't be disappointed. Order your tickets soon! 

You can get tickets online or by calling the Curtain Club box office. If you order online please note that you must enter your address EXACTLY as shown on your credit card account statement.

Indigenous Waldorf Development Conference Follow-up

Earlier this month, the RSCT was pleased to welcome a record crowd of 120 teachers, parents and students to this year's Waldorf Development Conference which was about how to incorporate Indigenous cultural content into a Waldorf school setting.

In the photo above, Chandra Maracle from Everlasting Tree School presents the Haudenosaunee thankfulness prayer at the start of day on Saturday.

CBC Massey Lectures - "All Our Relations"

To learn more about the Indigenous experience in Canada you may want to listen to Tanya Talaga's CBC Massey Lectures, titled "All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward". You may also want to read this interview with Tanya which appeared recently in the Toronto Star.

You may remember that we mentioned in an earlier post that Tanya was going to give the Massey lectures but now she has given them. The lectures were recently broadcast on CBC Radio's "Ideas" program, Nov. 12th through 16th. They are currently available online at the CBC website.

Concert and Puppet Shows at the Advent Fair December 1st

The annual Christian Community Advent Fair which will take place December 1st at 901 Rutherford Rd, Thornhill will feature two performances of a marionette puppet show.

"The Shoemaker and the Elves", will be performed at 11:30 am and again at 1 pm. It is suitable for children three and older. Tickets are $5.

At 3 pm there will be a concert featuring Anne Marie Kopp, flute and Elisabeth Chomko, piano, performing Bach, Debussy, Calpert, and Poulenc.

Also there will be perormances by young musicians and a community carol sing.

The Advent Fair takes place Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 am to 4 pm. at the Christian Community, 901 Rutherford Rd., Thornhill, L6A 1S2

There's Now a Coach Going to the Christkindl Market

Michael Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout of Glencolton Farms have arranged for a coach to take people up to the Christkindl Market Dec. 7th and 8th at their farm near Durham Ontario.

This is for people who'd like to go but don't want to drive two hours each way from Thornhill. The coach will leave Hesperus both days at 3 pm and return around 11 pm. 

Cost for the coach is $60 and includes admission to the Market and to the Sing-along Messiah.

Tickets available at the Village Market on Saturday mornings or call Marta at Hesperus at 905-764-0840, ext 241. Limited places available. No refunds. The Christkindl Market is a fundraising project for the Edge Hill School.

Frederick Amrine Lecture a Success, Sunday November 18th

In her introduction Diana Hughes said she would have been satisfied with 30 people attending but actually there were more than 60 people who came out to hear Fred's two lectures on karma last Sunday. See photo below. This was the first time Fred Amrine had spoken at the RSCT since 2015. 

More Coming Events

For more about coming events, see this post.

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  

Further to Frederick Amrine's Event Sunday Afternoon Nov. 18th at the RSCT

In our last story about University of Michigan professor Frederick Amrine, who will be speaking tomorrow, Sunday Nov. 18th at the RSCT, at 2:30 pm, we mentioned that Diana Hughes, John Kettle and James Brian had helped persuade Canadian Indigenous architect, Douglas Cardinal, to write a forward for one of the three volumes of Rudolf Steiner's lectures on architecture which Frederick Amrine was translating into English, a few years ago.

Since then we've been in touch with Douglas Cardinal and he has kindly sent us a copy of that forward to the third volume of Steiner's architecture lectures which professor Amrine translated. That forward is reprinted below, with Douglas Cardinal's permission.

Above: Douglas Cardinal (right) at an exhibit of anthroposophical architecture in Ottawa in 2016 as part of an Anthroposophical Society conference.


Architecture is a powerful medium that defines our everyday lives. When I am in the city amid the buzz of its activity what I sense most is the human chaos it produces. Cities and buildings have become functional, mechanical, analytical entities geared toward a materialistic and linear productivity. Human elements of love, beauty and compassion are, if not void, isolated to hermetic isles. Compartmentalization, alienation, and disconnection are paramount to mechanical efficiency, but originate much of our social malaise.

In the late 1950s, when I was a young architecture student at the University of Texas in Austin, one of my mentors who supported me in developing my own approach to architecture was Hugo Leipziger-Pierce. I felt, and still feel, that the profession should be geared towards creating balance and harmony between people and the environment. I wanted to develop my own practice to truly serve the needs of people by respecting and caring for families living more in harmony with nature, and with their own nature.

For this, Professor Leipziger-Pierce felt that it was necessary for my development to introduce me to the work of Rudolf Steiner. We spent many hours together as he translated Steiner’s philosophy of architecture, which at the time was only published in his native German language. I studied Steiner’s organic approach to architecture, its inspiration from nature, and the people who would live, experience and function in its spaces. The strong sculptural forms that he shaped into buildings captured my imagination and inspired me to approach architecture in a fundamentally different way.

Above: Douglas Cardinal with anthroposophical conference attendees on Victoria Island in the Ottawa river, in 2016, where Douglas hopes to build an Asinabka Cultural Centre.

There is a strong spiritual emphasis throughout Steiner’s philosophy, which demonstrates a deep love and caring for all life, and a reverence and respect for everyone, particularly children. His philosophy is holistic and centered on multidisciplinary approaches to understanding the purpose and application of any single discipline. This understanding was reinforced by my own Anishnaabe elders who taught me that everything in the Universe is connected. Every action affects another.

The principles of organic architecture allow us to envision a building as an organic entity, where all stakeholders give shape to the form they will use and inhabit. It works with abstracted forms from within nature, as well as our own dynamic living forms, to create spaces that add drama to each function. Like an embryo, each cell or space is interconnected to each other. Placing that organism on the site, it evolves further to respect not only the internal forces that are shaping it, but the external forces as well, such as topography, landscaping, sun angles and wind patterns.

Many of these concepts, which I have come to apply throughout my architectural career, I learned through my study of Rudolf Steiner, who has remained a critical influence for me, along with others such as Francesco Borromini, Antonio Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright.

From Architecture to Education

In laying the foundation for the lives of our own children, my wife Idoia and I discovered Waldorf Education. Also based on Steiner’s insightful philosophy, Waldorf schools provide a similarly nurturing environment that connects discipline with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth of the child. This has confirmed for us both how important it is to share the work of Rudolf Steiner with as many people as possible.

I feel privileged to have been able to draw deeply from Steiner’s philosophy as an inspiration in my work and in my life, and believe that these translations will broaden his influence for the benefit of the architectural profession and society as a whole.

Douglas J. Cardinal

Once again, here's the Sunday afternoon program with professor Frederick Amrine at the RSCT, Nov. 18th:




Some Background about Frederick Amrine

Diana Hughes first met University of Michigan professor Frederick Amrine on one of her trips to Ann Arbor on behalf of AWSNA to work with a developing initiative for Waldorf teacher education, The Waldorf Institute of South-East Michigan. 

At the time Fred was working on translating Steiner’s lectures on architecture. He had wanted to meet Diana’s partner, John Kettle, founding editor of “Canadian Architect” magazine, to ask him to write introductions to the books he was translating, Steiner’s “Architecture as Peace Work”, and “Towards a New Theory of Architecture”. 

Through the connection with John and Diana, and eventually James Brian, Canadian Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal was persuaded to write a preface for one of Steiner’s books on architecture lectures that Fred was translating.

Fred’s first lecture at the Rudolf Steiner Centre, in October of 2010, was “Moral Imagination in Architecture: the case of Berlin”.

This was followed by several more years of annual visits with topics such as “Music as a Threshold Experience” (2012), Rudolf Steiner as Expressionist Architect” (2013),“Truer than True: Fairy Tales as Archeological Digs” (2014), and “Steiner, Beuys and the Bees” (2015).

And now, after three years, he returns to the RSCT for a presentation of “Two Short Lectures on Karma”, this coming Saturday Nov. 18th. 

In 2011, in honor of the 150th anniversary of Steiner’s birth, Frederick Amrine wrote an 11-page introduction to Steiner’s work, which Diana Hughes considers to be one of the best introductions to Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy.

Initially it was published in “Being Human” but later reprinted as a booklet by the Anthroposophical Society in America.

Diana says she’ll have a few copies available after Fred’s lecture for $3 each.

And once again, here's the poster for Fred's November 18th presentation of two short lectures on Karma:

If you would like to help us promote the Fred Amrine lectures in November, you can download a printable pdf version of this poster at this link. Thank you.


Mary Katherine Cryderman 1959 - 2018


Thanks to Mary Milkovie, at the Detroit Waldorf School, Nov. 12, 2018

"Mary Cryderman had worked a the Detroit Waldorf School for several years wearing many hats. She worked in our after school program and then also as an assistant in our early childhood classes. She fell in love with our youngest children and was determined to be an Early Childhood lead teacher. She entered the training program in Toronto at the Rudolf Steiner Centre.   She was so very thankful to be part of the Toronto Waldorf Community. When she returned to the Detroit school she was also very grateful to be a trained Waldorf teacher. She  was the lead Early Childhood teacher for the Honeybee class. 

A little over a year ago Mary's health began to fail and it was discovered that she had a chronic, hereditary, liver disease. It became clear that she could not continue working and deal with all the health issues that were part of the condition. It was determined that she would  eventually need a liver transplant.  The last few months Mary was in and out of the hospital, in a lot of pain and discomfort as her body shutting down, too weak to recover.  She died Monday morning November 5th at University of Michigan Hospital, her family with her."

Mary Cryderman graduated in 2013 from the RSCT's full-time teacher education program. From her graduation:

Mary Cryderman was born August 14, 1959 in Detroit, Michigan. Her first exposure to Waldorf education was at Oakland Steiner School where her three children attended.

Mary’s most recent employment was at the Detroit Waldorf School. She was hired for a part-time position as the early childhood center’s aftercare teacher. The staff at Detroit Waldorf regarded Mary as a team worker with a natural ease with the children and the parents.

She fit in well with the community and was able to offer her skills where needed by assisting in the parent tot program and floating assistant for the two nursery
classrooms. The following year, Mary became a full-time assistant in the Shining Star Class.

This awakened her to strive for more; she started to ask questions seeking a deeper understanding of Waldorf education. The work at the early childhood center was clearly feeding her soul. This was when her colleagues suggested that she take the teacher training program.

Photo above: Mary (left) with the other graduates from the RSCT Teacher Education Class of 2013

Through the Distance Foundations in Anthroposophy course, Mary realized that the first step was to heal herself through the adult development work outlined by Steiner. This would be necessary to properly digest her studies and to be a teacher of integrity.

Mary developed a home daycare for DWS early childhood students for school breaks, holidays and summertime. The families were pleased with the program and relied on her program for quality childcare. This past summer Mary and a colleague held summer camp at DWS. They put together a six-week program for children ages three to seven.

Camp was a success and Mary felt she grew professionally and personally through the work further deepening her commitment to Waldorf education. Previously, Mary had studied American Sign Language at Oakland Community College. She had also attended early childhood workshops, by Margret Meyercourt, Anna Rainville, lazuring with Beth Krause, and mother and baby puppet-making with Suzanne Down.

Mary also had the privilege of studying with a Lakota medicine man and a professor whose life dedication was to teach parents how to look to themselves for behavioral changes rather than working directly to change the child’s behavior.

Photo above: Mary at her 2013 RSCT Teacher Education Graduation

Editor's note: We realize this post is missing any information about the last five years of Mary's life and the circumstances of her passing. We hope to add further details later, when they become available. But we wanted to get the notice of her Nov. 11th Celebration of Life out in time for people to be able to attend. It will take place at the Detroit Waldorf School.



Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  

Upcoming Community Events for Nov. Dec. 2018

Nov. 9, 10: RSCT Waldorf Development Conference on integrating Indigenous cultural material in the Waldorf school setting. This conference is for teachers, administrators, and parents. Online registration only. Registration deadline Nov. 9th at 6 pm.

Nov. 10, 17, 24: Village Market Candlelight Craft Market, upstairs in Toronto Waldorf School lobby, 8 am to 1 pm during the regular Village Market hours

Nov. 11: Ben Cruchley "Music of Remembrance" piano concert at Hesperus, 4:00 pm. Program: Faure, Beethoven. Admission amount discretionary. Proceeds to the artist.

Nov. 16, 17: Conference on the Foundation Stone Meditation with Arie van Ameringen, 250 Madison Ave., Toronto

Nov. 18: Frederick Amrine’s Two Lectures on Karma at the RSCT, 2:30 - 4:45  pm

Nov. 23: Wings of the Arts high school performance at the Toronto Waldorf School, 7:30 pm

Nov. 23: Lecture on Masculine and Feminine, with Trinh Huynh at the Christian Community, 901 Rutherford Rd. 7:30 pm. Full title of Trinh's talk is "The Divine Masculine and Feminine: their primal split and their ongoing union and redemption of evil"  

Nov. 28: “Why Reverence”, a talk at TWS with Rev. Jonah Evans, TWS parent, Waldorf alumnus and Christian Community priest. 7:00 pm in Toronto Waldorf School music room

Dec. 1: Christian Community Advent Fair, 901 Rutherford Rd.

Dec 7, 8 Christkindl Market, at Glencolton Farms in Durham, 4:00 to 9:00 pm. Sing-along Messiah among the cows both nights at 8 pm. Bring your score and sing your heart out. Lead photo is from last year's Christkindl Market. Proceeds to benefit the Edge Hill Country School. For tickets and info, see

Dec. 3 First Festival of Light, 8:30 am in the Toronto Waldorf School forum

Dec. 10 Second Festival of Light, 8:30 am in the Toronto Waldorf School forum

Dec. 12, 13 Multi-Session Event with Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D at the Toronto Waldorf School. Community-wide event for parents and guardians at 7 pm Dec. 12, followed by a day of workshops for students and faculty Dec. 13 in the TWS forum.

Dec. 17 Third Festival of Light, 8:30 am in the Toronto Waldorf School forum

Dec. 21 Fourth Festival of Light, 8:30 am in the Toronto Waldorf School forum

Dec. 22 Last Village Market of 2018, 8 am to 1 pm. Closed Dec 29. Opens again Jan. 5.


Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  

Indigenous Culture and Education in the News

There seems to have been a recent surge of interest in Indigenous culture not only in Waldorf circles, but in Canadian society at large. 

At least some people are finally asking “Why is a quarter of Canada’s prison population Indigenous?” instead of just totally ignoring the status quo (as in this Feb. 18th, 2018 story from “The Conversation”) .

In a recent Canadaland podcast from October 22nd, Ryan McMahon wonders out loud how a city like Thunder Bay can be white nirvana for some, while remaining “Murder Bay” for the Indigenous population.

Finding The Path Forward

In a Toronto Star story from October 31, Star reporter and this year’s Massey lecturer, Tanya Talaga, who is herself Indigenous, highlights the role that educators can play in Indigenous reconciliation. From that story:

“The Indigenous experience in all of these colonized nations is startlingly similar, Talaga said. It is marked by violent separation from the land, from families and from traditional ways of life.

In Canada, that experience has seen children removed from their homes and placed in residential schools and foster care. It has also resulted in an epidemic of youth suicides.

“When children are born into adversity, into communities without clean water or proper plumbing with unsafe housing, parents suffering with addictions and traumas, when they have to leave their communities to access health care and education — basic rights easily obtained by other children in this country — when they do not have a parent to tuck them into bed at night or tell them that they love them, children die,” Talaga said.

She gave high praise to educators for taking it upon themselves to learn and teach about the true history of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.

“While education has played a huge role in damaging relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, it is also going to play a crucial role in reconciling that relationship,” she said.

Legions of teachers are reading and teaching books by Indigenous authors and historians even if their governments are not keeping pace with what they are doing in the classroom.

“The educators will always lead us forward,” she said to loud applause….”

The Walrus magazine published an excerpt from Tanya Tagaq’s book “Split Tooth”, a fictionalized account of Indigenous youth experience, in their October 2018 issue.

Student Walkout in Ontario

Back in September non-Indigenous students across Ontario walked out of their classrooms for a day of protest against premier Doug Ford’s rollback of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum, as well as changes to the Indigenous curriculum in Ontario. The following is from a CTV news story dated Sept. 21st, 2018:

“It’s time for all students to stand up and fight for our right to education. We the students will walk out, protest, and demand the reinstatement of the 2015 sex ed curriculum and re-establishment of the indigenous curriculum rewrite. We the students will not stop. We will not relent. Not until we win this fight.”

The Upside Down

In Australia, while the general attitude towards the Indigenous peoples is probably no farther ahead than in Canada, there are a few bright spots, such as the National Museum of Australia exhibit on the Seven Sisters Songline, and Bill Lang’s book “Old Man’s Story”.

In New Zealand, Neil Boland is working on promoting a working together of Waldorf and Indigenous cultures.

The Indigenous Waldorf  Movement

And on the Waldorf front, the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto and the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf are not the only organizations working on bringing Indigenous and Waldorf cultures together.

In the United States, the Lakota Waldorf School has been a pioneer in integrating Waldorf and Indigenous culture. And in a recent issue of the Waldorf Today newsletter, there was an announcement about a gathering Oct 5-7 in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento titled:

“Reconnecting - Bringing Indigenous Wisdom into Life and Education Weekend” 

The announcement ran as follows: “We invite you to a gathering on Indigenous People’s weekend for educators, and all who care about our young people and the future of Mother Earth. With well known native artists/educators James Marquez, Stan Padilla, Aiona Anderson and Waldorf educators Jack Petrash and Nancy Poer

Reverent awareness of our interconnectedness with the natural world is primal knowledge among First Nation’s indigenous peoples. Today there is alarming disregard for our Mother Earth, and a disconnect from the very sources of life itself. We need a vital reconnection more than ever.

In this gathering respected indigenous educators and healers will share their native wisdom in dialogue, story, art, food, ceremony, healing practices for daily life and making beautiful crafts as community gifts. We will look at how we can enhance the Waldorf curriculum with renewing ideas. This ongoing work on behalf of our young people is to bring them a truer, deeper story of our nation’s history and support a higher, more inclusive understanding of life.

White Feather Ranch retreat center, at a site of ancient native grinding rocks, is an hour east of Sacramento in the Sierra foothills. There are rustic ranch style accommodations and 70 acres for camping. The program includes campfires, a chance for sleeping under the stars, a sunrise ceremony on Sunday followed by practical indications for our teaching curriculums….”

So Indigenous Waldorf is not just a local phenomenon.

Excitement Building for Waldorf Development Conference on Integrated Indigenous Cultural Material in the Waldorf School Setting, Nov. 9th and 10th at the RSCT in Thornhill

As of Monday Nov. 5th there have been registrations from as far away as Squamish B.C., Washington D.C., Detroit, Buffalo, Kingston, Ann Arbor, London, Montreal and the Waldorf Academy in Toronto. And from the Toronto Waldorf School alone, 18 teachers have registered. In total so far, 75 people have already registered for this event.

That's compared to 55 people who attended last year's conference. The difference in numbers might indicate that this year's topic has caught the imagination of Waldorf teachers across the continent.

Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to learn about integrating Indigenous material into the Waldorf curriculum. Here's a link to the website page with links to online registration forms (the links to the online forms are down at the bottom of that page).

There will be online registrations only, for this event. Deadline for registering is Friday Nov. 9th at 6 pm. But please register as early as possible to help with planning the food and the space. Thank you.

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