Blog

 
February 2018

Psychoactive Substances and Personal Development


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

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

A portion of the proceeds will go to Kenneth’s favourite charity Hesperus Village www.hesperus.ca

with Dr. Kenneth McAlister, M.D.

Location: Waldorf Academy, 250 Madison Aveenue Toronto

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

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

Sponsored by the Toronto Branch of the Anthroposophical Society of Canada www.anthroposophy.ca

  
January 2018

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


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

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

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

Your input is welcomed and needed!

WHERE: Rudolf Steiner Centre Seminar Room

WHEN: Sunday, February 4, 2018

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

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

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


Envisioning the Future
 
Three-Year Strategic Plan
 
 2018 – 2021

Version 4.0

January 23, 2018

Envisioning RSCT in Ten Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did the Strategic Plan Come About?

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

The key questions were:

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

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

What are questions/concerns to address?

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

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

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

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

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

UNTIL ONE IS COMMITTED

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

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Vocational Programs

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

Context

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

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

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

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

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

Goals & Strategies

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

Year 1: 2018/2019

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

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

Use Immedia consultant for Web marketing and brochure redesign.

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

Build rigour into the FT and PT Teacher Education programs.

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

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

RSCT becomes a Private Career College

Year 2: 2019/2020

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

Explore Feasibility of Future Programs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eurythmy - intensive courses

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

Scan with openness what is emerging.

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

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

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

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Cultural Outreach

Adult Education in Anthroposophy

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

Context

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

There presently three Foundation Studies Encounter programs running

A weekly evening program for Toronto Waldorf School childcare teachers

Saturday morning meetings at RSCT.

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

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

Goals & Strategies

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

Year 1: 2018/2019

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

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

Advertise for mentors in diverse languages for international expansion

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

Year 2: 2019/2020

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

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

Begin to develop online webinars, platforms, resources

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

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

Offer Anthroposophical mentoring/counselling for individuals

Develop and establish a model of “Anthroposophical Hubs”

Year 1: 2018/2019

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

Year 2: 2019/2020

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

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

Establish Anthroposophical Retreats for Youth

Year 1: 2018/2019

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

Year 2: 2019/2020

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

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

Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto in 2021

What will it look like?

Anthroposophical Service Work

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

Context

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

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

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

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

Goals & Strategies

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

Year 1: 2018/2019

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

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

Form a Childcare Advisory Panel to guide the enterprise

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

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

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

Year 2: 2019/2020

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

Explore other possibilities of service work

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

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

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

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

Year 3: 2020/2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warmly,

Shirley van Houten-Routledge

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

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

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 17th February 1910

 

 

 

  
December 2017

Planetary Seals in Eurythmy Continues in 2018


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

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

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

  
November 2017

Saturn Seal Eurythmy Sunday Dec. 3rd


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

New Kid in Town, Reg Down

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

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

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

When he was back there in Architecture school

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

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

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

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

From Eurythmist to Puppet Master

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

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

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

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

Puppet Plays and Eurythmy Workshop

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

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

Check out Reg's Author Website, tiptoes-lightly.net

Also see Reg's Eurythmy Canada website

  

Every Gift Counts — Little or Big


What do we Will?

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

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

Each Person in the Support Community

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

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

Photo: Full-time Teacher Education program graduation for 2017

Read the original Annual Gift Appeal Letter

Make an online donation through Canada Helps

  

Your Help is Needed – Annual Gift Appeal


Dear Friends of the Rudolf Steiner Centre,

We are living in perilous times.

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

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

An Uncertain Future

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

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

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

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

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

Strengthening Waldorf Teacher Education

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

Taking Foundation Studies International

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

Protecting the Threatened Forces of Childhood

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

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

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

Thank you.

Warmly,

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  

Six Questions for Carol Triggiano


Rudolf Steiner Centre

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

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

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

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

Not Just a Teacher, but Also a Parent

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

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

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

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

Living in Chicago

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

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

Home and School

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

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

The Times we Live in

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

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

School and State

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

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

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

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools, Family  
  
October 2017

Warren Cohen @ Teacher Education Delegates Circle


RSCT is one of Eight Full-Member Institutes

The Steiner Centre is a full member of AWSNA and of the TEDC, Teacher Education Delegates Circle. This delegates circle is comprised of representatives from each of the full member Waldorf teacher education institutes from acrossNorth America. Going from west to east and north to south the eight full member institutes are: Sound Circle Center, Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training, Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, Waldorf Institute of Southern California, Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, Centre for Anthroposophy, Sunbridge Institute. There are also nine associate member and registered initiative institutes across Canada, USA and Mexico.

Demands on Teachers Continue to Grow

This autumn the TEDC met in New Hampshire where they were warmly hosted by the Center for Anthroposophy, Antioch University and the Monadnock Waldorf School. On the first evening they met with representatives from seven regional Waldorf schools to learn about the needs for teacher preparation and continuing professional development in their schools. Conversations were far reaching and the needs for more and better targeted professional development clear, especially as the demands being place on teachers seems to grow. Waldorf schools want well prepared teachers on all levels and subjects. They also need a variety of continuing professional development opportunities for their teachers as well as longer term apprenticeships for aspiring teachers.

Collaborative Work Among Waldorf Institutes

The TEDC, formerly the Teacher Education Network, was founded in 1989 as the Teacher Education Task Force for the purpose of distributing loans and grants to aspiring Waldorf teachers. Since then the group has grown and changed through a number of incarnations to meet the growing needs for Waldorf teacher education and professional development. The TEDC now meets twice yearly in person at one of the member institutes and then every other month by conference call. Their task is to support the healthy development of each institute of the association through collaborative work among Waldorf institutes and strengthened relationships with Waldorf schools. Every full member institute is represented in the circle by a delegate who is responsible for overseeing, supporting, and upholding by consensus the continental membership agreements for association member institutes. The teacher education Leadership Council member coordinates this work.

Teacher education delegates’ circle responsibilities include:

· Determining membership and membership category for institutes, per the agreements in the association’s by-laws and path to membership handbook.

· Connecting to potential registered initiatives and member institutes and supporting their application for membership.

· Supporting Registered Initiatives and member institutes through support visits, per the path to membership handbook guidelines in order to support member institute progression on the path to membership.

· Supporting and assessing the regular self-study and peer reviews process of full member institutes.

· Cultivating an environment that both creates a safe space for member institutes to bring challenges and promotes the upholding of membership agreements.

· Providing opportunities for associate institute members to actively engage in regional and continental association activities, including regional meetings, conferences, etc.

· Engaging in activities that strengthen and promote teacher education, including but not limited to: promoting dialogue between member schools and institutes, hosting periodic colloquia, developing position papers related to pedagogical practices, engaging in the regular study of themes related to teacher training, identifying and supporting contemporary and future needs for institutes, etc.

Shared Standards of Waldorf Teacher Education

Amongst the many other items on their agenda was the implementation of shared standards in Waldorf teacher education. Each of the institutes has developed organically to meet the needs of Waldorf teacher education in its region and has had to develop its course offerings and program structures to meet the unique demands of its context and regulatory jurisdiction. Some programs are full time. Others are part-time or summers only. While much of the content is similar; including: course work on child development, Waldorf curriculum, artistic practice, inner development of the teacher and observed teaching practice; the programs themselves are remarkably individual. Each has unfolded in its own way to meet its local needs. The TEDC is presently working on creating common standards and agreements so that Waldorf teachers across the continent will be better prepared to meet the needs of children, families and schools.

Upcoming Teacher Education Colloquium

The TEDC is also busy designing the third Waldorf Teacher Education Colloquium. This will be called: Waldorf Teacher Training in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, and will be held in Marin, California on January 4 to 6, 2018. For more information please contact Tiffany at tiffany@bacwtt.org

 

Waldorf Teacher Education, Waldorf Schools  
  

"The Portal of Initiation: Mystery Drama, to be performed in Thornhill, Nov. 4th


Tim and Magi Nadelle and their troupe of TQuest actors and stage hands have been working for three years now on producing Rudolf Steiner's "Portal of Initiation", gradually adding more scenes over the course of the three years. Some actors have been part of the project from the start, while others have come and gone.

This year for the first time, they're putting on the whole play, all six hours of it. And there are no plans for follow-up productions in future years. So this may be your best chance to see this mystery drama produced locally by people who have been devoted to this work for three years.

RSCT Foundation-Studies-Program-Director, Paul Hodgkins (lead photo) is one of those who has been involved in the project since the start, playing the role of Benedictus, a spiritual teacher. He writes about his experience with the production:

"At first, I was not so happy to be allocated the role of Benedictus, because I could find nothing in my life experience which could inform me for this role; but, gradually, something unfolded.  I am very grateful to have been a part of this initiative, and to work with such a fine and cooperative group of people.  Tim Nadelle, especially, has done an amazing job of holding things together.  

A Knot of Karmic Threads

In Scene I, a group of people, practically the entire cast, meet and discuss spirituality from very divergent points of view, seemingly unable to find a point of agreement.  In Scene III, Benedictus tells Maria that a knot is forming, woven out of karmic threads.  In the final Scene XI, we see all the people from Scene I, meeting in the spiritual world, and, together, they comprise the very knot of which Benedictus earlier spoke.  In spirit, they dedicate themselves to each other for healing work in the world; it is a beautiful picture.  

This has led me to look in a new way upon the communities in which I have lived and worked.  I now feel gratitude for my fellow human beings, even those who have opposed me, because I can see that our coming together is founded together in spiritual intentions which want to serve the good.  It is my hope that, if nothing else, the audience members can take this away with them...."

For a synopsis of the play and a link to register online for tickets, press here.

  

HOW WE WILL Forum Report -- Thurs. Oct. 19th


This Thursday Oct. 19th at 7 pm, retired Waldorf teacher Elisabeth Chomko, will give a talk about what she learned at a recent anthroposophical youth forum on the subject of social transformation, which she attending in Los Angeles, over the Labour Day weekend. 

Elisabeth says she has been interested in how anthroposophy addresses social issues since she first encountered Rudolf Steiner’s ideas on the threefold nature of the social organism when she was studying anthroposophy in Jarna, Sweden, which co-incidentally is the current home of YIP — a youth initiative program.

So when Elisabeth heard about this conference on applying Steiner’s ideas on social threefolding, she took notice. And then when she looked into it further and learned about the keynote speakers, she was determined to go. 

One speaker was Nicanor Perlas, who ran for president of the Philippines back in 2010 and has been a lifelong social activist and advocate for Steiner’s social ideas. Another speaker was Orland Bishop, who is originally from Guyana, and has been a long-time community activist, working with youth gang members in Los Angeles. And the third keynote speaker was Gerald Hafner, who was co-founder of the Green Party in German, and current leader of the Social Science Section of the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach.

Another speaker at the conference was Laura Summer, who runs an art school in the United States that does not charge tuition.

The fact that this initiative seemed to be coming from young people made it doubly interesting. The organizers of the conference are affiliated with the Elderberry Cafe and bookshop on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, which is a combination of anthroposophical hub and social outreach centre. 

There were about 150 participants in the conference, some coming and going over the five days — an intergenerational mix of young people and older experienced people who had been working on these ideas for decades. The conference provided a forum for sharing ideas, and lots of opportunity for people to make person connections, and carry each other in their hearts and minds going forward. 

An initiative to found a second Elderberries cafe is underway in Chicago. Some conference attendees from Detroit offered to help with getting that new cafe going.

  
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