This year's puppet festival is the second annual puppet festival to be held at TWS, co-sponsored by the Village Market. The last one was in May of 2016, and that's where the picture on this year's poster was taken. The puppet player in the photo is Dianne Goldsmith, who is the organizer of the festival, and a retired TWS early childhood educator.
Retired from Teaching but Still Doing Puppets!
Although she is retired from classroom teaching, Dianne still teaches puppetry to the early childhood educators in training at the Rudolf Steiner Centre, and she leads puppetry workshops for various groups. Dianne has also been putting on a free puppet show on the first Saturday of each month in the TWS kindergarten, for more than a year now.
We asked Dianne how she became so interested in puppetry. She said she had been inspired by Suzanne Down, an American Waldorf puppeteer and teacher who did a puppetry workshop at TWS many years ago. Dianne says that's where she found her calling. She followed up that workshop experience by taking Suzanne's 3-year part-time training in tabletop and marionette puppetry in Keene, New Hampshire in 2005.
The idea of doing a puppet festival came from one of the other participants in the program, who invited the other course participants to bring a marionette show to her first annual Cape Cod puppet festival.
Simplicity is the Key
Dianne feels that one of the essentials about puppetry is that the puppets are attached to a human being. The puppets are very simple, with no faces. The children have to supply a lot of the detail from their own imagination. The big brown bear can be as scary as they want it to be. In Dianne's view, it's the simplicity that's the key.
Bring your children out to the Toronto Waldorf School forest to see the puppet shows this Saturday between 10 and 1 pm. There will be four puppet shows, each repeated four times at half hour intervals, starting at 10:10 am, culminating in a grand finale marionette performance of the Frog Prince at 12:15 pm, which will likely be indoors. Suitable for ages 3 and older.
Envisioning the Future of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto
It is the intention of the Board of Directors of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (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.
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. To realize this goal, RSCT will become a formally recognized private career college and will offer a growing range of diploma-granting vocational programs, beginning with:
• Waldorf grade school teacher
• Waldorf high school teacher
• Waldorf early childhood educator
• Waldorf facilitator/leadership training
In the coming years, RSCT will consider offering vocational programs in biodynamic gardening, biodynamic farming, educational eurythmy and other anthroposophically-based vocations. Where possible, RSCT will work in partnership with relevant organizations to design, deliver and sustain these programs. This work will begin at the Thornhill Campus and may be expanded to other educational sites across Canada.
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.
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. This will include providing adult education programs, sponsoring artistic events and engaging the general public through the media and social media. It will be our goal to bring anthroposophy to Canadian in living ways, where concepts are warmed and enriched through artistic and meditative experience where possible.
This work may be undertaking in partnership with the Anthroposophical Society in Canada and other relevant partner organizations and may include establishing self-sustaining hubs for anthroposophical work in cities and towns across the country. These hubs, which may be built around coffee shops or other basic commercial enterprises, will provide a visible outpost of anthroposophy and serve to support local adult education initiatives. In addition to on-site learning opportunities, RSCT will develop innovative distance learning options for people interesting in deepening their understanding of anthroposophy.
We will balance our courage to stand publicly with Anthroposophia, knowing full well that anthroposophical concepts and ideas are apt to generate derision in some, with our desire to offer anthroposophy in freedom so that it may be found by those for whom the time has come.
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.
Service enterprises that the Board will consider include:
• Waldorf school establishment support team
• Childcare centres and home childcares
• Palliative care homes
• Retirement communities
• Biodynamic farms
• Biodynamic gardening centres
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.
Dear supporters of anthroposophy and Waldorf education in Canada,
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 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.
The goal is to develop ways in which anthroposophy and Waldorf education can serve an even greater number of people in Canada who are seeking for positive change in their lives and in Canadian society.
In this world of 2017, we return to the question: “What can be done to answer the need for increased spiritual understanding in a world of escalating materialism?”
The vision we have developed is one of hope and inspiration. What is achievable and by when? We will certainly try. As Confucius said: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the steps to get there.”
Our first step will be to hold an initial community and stakeholder engagement meeting on September 29 in Toronto. Reaching out across the country, we plan to hold many more such meetings, to engage your input, questions, ideas and possible involvement.
If you would like the executive director of RSCT, James Brian, to hold such an engagement meeting in your community, please contact him at the email address below.
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.
To paraphrase the Old Man with the Lamp in Goethe’s fairy tale of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, a prophetic vision of the future: One person alone cannot achieve much, but many together at the right time can achieve great things.
If you will be in Toronto on September 29, please join us. If not, please contact me to arrange a similar meeting in your community.
And, as the Old Man with the Lamp says: “The time is now!”
Q: What kinds of people take the Foundation Studies program? What are they looking for?
Three Kinds of Students come to Foundation Studies...
Paul: There are three types of students in the program. First there are those who are interested in Waldorf Education and who want to become Waldorf teachers eventually.
Second, there are parents of Waldorf students, who want to learn more about the ideas that inform their child’s education.
And thirdly, there are those who are seeking to develop personally. Perhaps they’ve encountered Anthroposophy to some degree, maybe they’ve read some books, and they want to learn more. The intent of the program is to serve people like these, who are looking for anthroposophy for any of these reasons.
Q: So do these people find what they are looking for in the Foundation Studies program?
Paul: Most of the time they do find what they’re looking for. Occasionally there is a person who finds it doesn’t suit them. We’ve had three or four people drop out of the program over the past 15 years.
What's Next for Students after Graduating?
Q: What do graduates of the Foundation Studies program go on to do?
Paul: Some have become teachers. Others have gone into biodynamic farming. At least one has become a Eurythmist. Some who were naturopaths or homeopaths are now pursuing studies in anthroposphical medecine. Some work at Hesperus and at the Toronto Waldorf School.
However not all the students go into anthroposophical initiatives. Some become anthroposophists. They join the Society and form study groups to deepen their understanding.
Others go on to do other things. Steiner said that there are people who study anthroposophy for a while and then go away. In the next life they will be anthroposophists.
With regard to the course itself, there is no specific desired outcome. We aim to present a basic picture of anthroposophical principles in hope the students will form their own relationship to Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, and begin to study freely and independently. The purpose of the course is to form a bridge to that end.
Q: You’re not the only presenter in this course. Can you tell a bit about guest speakers?
Paul: When we find someone who is working in anthroposophy in a vocational way and they are available to us, we try to enlist that person, either to speak to the students, or in support of visiting faculty.
We also have regular contributors who are experts in fields like early childhood education. Rhonny Russman is an early childhood educator who has done a lot of research into the basic senses with which kindergarten teachers work.
We have a Eurythmist, Jonathan Snow, who works with the students. Dorothy LeBaron shares her expertise in biography work. Doug Wiley talks to students about the Threefold Social Order ideas. Fred Amrine, a University of Michigan, German professor, has come to talk about Rudolf Steiner’s biography.
Q: Can you tell a bit about the field trips students go on?
Paul: We visit Michael Schmidt’s biodynamic farm in Durham. We used to visit Camphill, but the new government regulations which Camphill has to operate under, no longer allow such visits.
Paul's Personal Path
Q: Did you ever take a Foundation Studies course yourself? How did you find anthroposophy?
Paul: I never did take a Foundation Studies course. I stumbled upon anthroposophy while looking for answers to three questions. My questions concerned art, wanting to learn something authentic about Christ, and wanting to find a different kind of education for my newborn child.
One day in a bookstore I came across books on all three subjects, all by the same author, Rudolf Steiner. And I couldn’t understand any of them. Eventually this led me to study Steiner’s more basic books, and to attend workshops on anthroposophy in Toronto. This would have been back in the early 1980s.
In 1985 I began an in-service teacher training at the Waldorf School in Ottawa. At the end of that I became a Waldorf class teacher and took a class through all the eight grades, and later picked up another class for two years.
I had done some teaching of adults in my life earlier. But most of my earlier career had been in things like retail sales, and working as a clerk in the English civil service. Shortly after I came to Canada in 1966, I worked as a gold miner in NW Ontario.
When Foundation Studies started at the RSCT
Q: How did you find your way back to Toronto after going to teach in Ottawa?
Paul: I came to Toronto in the summer of 1995. I worked part time for a year teaching at the Toronto Waldorf School and then taught for a year at the Halton school. I was thinking of teaching more at TWS but instead I got involved in the Foundation Studies program. In my second year in Toronto I was invited to give a little talk at the RSCT.
Then I got involved in the steering committee to establish the Foundation Studies program, gradually becoming more and more involved in the facilitator’s role, which is what I’m doing now, although just recently, I’ve been appointed director of the program. Back when I started with the program, Arlene Thorn, who was director of Adult Education at RSCT, discouraged me from continuing as a Waldorf teacher, and suggested I focus on Foundation Studies. So I gave up teaching children.
Q: What kind of satisfaction do you personally get, from leading this program?
Paul: This is my passion. I don’t see myself as a teacher, but rather as a student of anthroposophy who is sharing his experience with others. Sometimes I get confused with the teacher. For me, the teacher is Rudolf Steiner. I’m just someone who has been studying Rudolf Steiner longer than the students.
What Does it all Mean?
Q: Tell me more about your passion.
Paul: I love anthroposophy, its ideas, the idea of it. I love the idea that there can be an opening into the spiritual reality and that one can take it up in a free and independent way. I love to share this, and try to enthuse people for these ideas and practices.
People who come to Foundation Studies, come with important life questions. They are seeking some meaning in life. Responding to those questions is what makes it lively, being asked questions and having to respond.
Anyone who is a teacher is thinking about the needs of their students and asking themselves “how can I serve the needs of my children”. Parenting is always responding.
Proof is in the Pudding
Q: Tell me about your own kids and their experience of Waldorf education.
Paul: I raised five children and they all went to Waldorf school. I thought Waldorf education served them very well. It really does speak out of a deeper understanding of the human being. A Waldorf teacher can be imperfect. A body of teachers can be imperfect. Teachers consistently fall short of the ideal, but it is the attempt — the wish and will to do the right thing for the children, that works. My children were happy to go to school. Even if they complained, they loved school, and they loved their teachers. For me, that was enough. They have grown up to be open and caring human beings.
Q: In the local production of Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Drama that will be performed in October 2017, you play the role of the spiritual teacher, Benedictus. Were your typecast?
Paul: That was an accident. Three years ago, at the first readings of the play before the rehearsals even started, the director, Tim, asked me to read that part. It’s a co-incidence that I’m in that role.
RSCT's is not the only FS program
Q: Can you talk a bit about the vision for the future of the Foundation Studies program and about similar programs around the world?
Paul: Our program is very minimal. It would be nice to run it five days a week. My hope is that some person (or persons) will step into this work, who is younger and more in touch with the times. I would actually like to be replaced. (Note: Paul is 70 years old)
Last year we had 12 students in the program. The average has been about 15. Then there are about 100 students in the distance version of the program — people from all around the world.
In Canada, there is a program on the west coast. People in the maritimes are trying to put something of this sort together. There are some part time programs in the States.
There used to be a few major institutions — Emerson College (in England), The Waldorf Institute (in Detroit), and Rudolf Steiner College (in California) which ran full time Foundation Studies programs, but those have now been shut down, primarily due to a lack of students.
But more recently there has been a resurgence of interest among young people in their 20s.
Q: What do graduates of the Foundation Studies say about their experience in taking the course?
Paul: Many students testify that they have gone through a transformative experience. One said “I used to look for success, now I look for meaning in life.”
There will be free introductory talks on the Foundation Studies Encounter program on Monday Sept. 11th in downtown Toronto at the Waldorf Academy, 250 Madison Avenue, and again on Wednesday Sept. 13th at the RSCT at 9100 Bathurst St., Thornhill. Both events run from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.
The Foundation Studies Encounter Progarm is offered both at the RSCT in Thornhill on Saturdays, and downtown at the Waldorf Academy, at 250 Madison Ave., in Toronto, also on Saturdays. Both programs run from September through May.
When we first heard the news of Robin Schmidt’s tour, we wondered how it would work to promote an event with someone people had never heard of in the middle of August, when we didn’t even know if he spoke English, or needed a translator.
As it turned out, we needn’t have worried. All went swimmingly. The first bright spot on the horizon was the downtown event, for young people, selling out ahead of time, which prompted the organizers to seek a bigger venue, and get in touch with those on the waiting list.
Skin in the Game
Of course folks who sign up for free tickets don’t have a lot of skin in the game, and so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that some of those who registered didn’t show up on the day of the talk.
Twenty-two people did show up however, and they were mostly in the targeted, 18 to 40, demographic, and included some new faces. With this group, Robin engaged in a more conversational format rather than a lecture, which seemed to go over well.
The theme of the evening was “Staying Connected to Your Life Path”. Robin touched on topics such as living in a world of vast possibilities, and how that makes it hard to commit to anything. He referenced French postmodern philosophers and asked his listeners to consider the play of relationships around the theme of hospitality, with its elements of uncertainty and vulnerability.
No such thing as "the anthroposophical path"
Robin also gave some background on anthroposophical meditation, while maintaining that there is no such thing as “the Anthroposophical path”, rather that each person blazes their own trail. Help and advice, however, can be sought from those who have gone before.
The following night, on Thursday at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (in Thornhill), the main room was mostly filled with some 50-60 people who came out to hear Robin’s talk on “Being Human in a Digital World”.
Robin outlined the historical progression from living in a world of nature, to living in the man-made urban environment, to living in what has more and more become a world populated with the products of human consciousness. Meanwhile modern and postmodern thought has been challenging human souls to come to terms with recurrent themes of infinity, eternity and autonomy.
And while digital life and culture is epitomized by the “UNDO” button, and enables an eternal adolescence of non-commitment, real life challenges human beings to make their mark on the world. Meditation was also touched on again, in particular the theme of no one right way to go about it. Robin’s talk sparked some lively questions from participants and many people lingered to chat even after the formal evening was over.
What IS meditation anyway?
Thursday’s talk was followed on Saturday by a day-long seminar on meditation, which was also well attended. Some 40 or more people took part in this event at the RSCT. One of the participants, Christine Tansley said that although she had been around anthroposophy for ages, and had even read Robin’s book, “I didn’t know, before this workshop, what meditation is.”.
There was also a session with Robin Schmidt on Sunday morning at Hesperus for class members of the School for Spiritual Science. Overall, the reception of Robin Schmidt’s events downtown and in Thornhill was so encouraging that there has been talk of bringing him back again next year.
Hamo Hammond, long-time board member of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, and pillar of the anthroposophical community, passed away on Monday August 14th, 2017.
Hamo and his wife Brenda came to Toronto in 1993 for Hamo to work as a management consultant with Volkswagen. This was a offshoot of Hamo's earlier work with the NPI, an anthroposophical business consulting group founded by Bernhard Lievegoed.
First contact was Biodynamics
Hamo and Brenda were originally from South Africa where Hamo's first contact with anthroposophy came through biodynamics and meeting Australian farmer Alex de Podolinski. Although he had studied chemical engineering and had a university MBA, Hamo became a practicing biodynamic farmer from 1972 to 1976. Later he worked with Weleda UK.
His later management consultancy led to work with the Sekem community in the middle east, and with the United Nations in Guyana.
Filling in as RSCT Director
Soon after arriving in Canada in 1993, Hamo made contact with Diana Hughes at the RSCT, later joining the board, and even eventually replacing Diana as RSCT director for six months, while Diana was having hip surgery. Hamo and Brenda also hosted anthroposophical study groups at their home in Richmond Hill, and took part in the local work of the Anthroposophical Society.
Last year, in 2016, while living in Ottawa, he was part of a small group of anthroposophists who helped arrange the local logistics for a large-scale, Canada-wide, anthroposophical conference there. The photo at the top left of this post is from that conference.
Hamo's funeral will be held on Friday, August 18th, at 12 noon in Smith Falls (a small town near Ottawa), at the Blair and Son Funeral Home at 112 Beckwith Street.
Art is not just for artists. Or conversely, everyone is or can become an artist. Art is not all about the finished work. It's about the process of self-discovery. That’s the Arscura ethos.
We’ve just added a page for "Arscura - School for Living Art", on the RSCT website, because we want to acknowledge the contribution that Jef and Regine and their Arscura associates have made to the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto programs over the past decades, and affirm that we want Arscura and the RSCT to work closely together going forward.
To dig a little deeper with the title theme, it’s one of the axioms of Waldorf education that every student should study every subject. Waldorf students are not streamed into academic and practical specialties. From a Waldorf perspective, elementary school and high school are not a time for children to specialize.
At a Waldorf school, every student gets to play sport and be on teams, not just the natural born athletes. Everyone gets to act in plays, and everyone learns to do art, just as everyone learns math and does science experiments.
For adults who have somehow missed out on a Waldorf education when they were children, it can be a liberating experience to explore something — like art — that they imagined that they couldn’t do, or were not “good” at.
Photos accompanying this post are from the 2017 RSCT Summer Festival of Arts and Education.
Check out the Arscura page on the RSCT website for links to upcoming and ongoing Arscura courses and programs in art and biography studies. Thanks to Luciana for the photos.
“Intelligent people want self-control; children want candy.” — Rumi
One of the hardest things in life is to control one’s own thoughts and feelings. Anthroposophical meditation is a spiritual practice for which that kind of control is just the beginning.
Robin Schmidt — a man who wrote the book on Meditation — is coming to Thornhill August 17th and 19th to talk about cultivating the inner life of the human soul and spirit.
There will be two events in Thornhill, a public lecture on "Being Human in a Digital World" on August 17th at 7 pm, and an all-day workshop on Saturday, August 19th, on "Concentration - Contemplation - Meditation -- An Introduction to Anthroposophical Meditation".
August 15th Update on the Downtown event with Robin Schmidt: The event organizers have moved the event to a larger venue in order to accommodate the unexpectedly large demand for tickets. So tickets may still be available. Register online at the link in the preceding paragraph.
Public Lecture: Being Human in a Digital World
August 17, 7-9 pm
Rudolf Steiner Centre, 9100 Bathurst St.,Thornhill
Cost (at the door): $20 (students/seniors $15)
The digital revolution produces an environment which has radically changed the way we live together, how we relate to the world and to our self. How can we stay, be and become human in midst of these conditions? Anthroposophical meditation starts with the individual’s own questions and goals and can therefore offer meaningful contributions to the challenges encountered in dealing with life in today’s world. It can also offer a means of enhancing one’s ability to take on true responsibility in one’s professional life.
It seeks to deepen the individual’s capacity for understanding in general and for establishing a relationship to what is transcendent: in nature, in one’s fellow human beings, in one’s professional life.
Concentration - Contemplation - Meditation: An Introduction to Anthroposophical Meditation
Saturday, August 19th, 9 am to 4 pm, Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, Thornhill
Cost (at the door): $100 for Anthroposophical Society members, $125 for others
Anthroposophical meditation takes as its starting point the individual's own questions and goals, and as such, can prove to be a meaningful contribution to the challenges encountered in dealing with life in today's world.
It can also offer a means of enhancing one's ability to take on true responsibility in one's professional life. It seeks to deepen the individual's capacity for understanding in general and for establishing a relationship to what is transcendent: in nature, in one's fellow human beings, and in one's professional life.
In other words, it is an attempt to develop a relationship with the divine in the midst of a contemporary life. This workshop will explore some of the methods and practices related to an anthroposophical approach to meditation.
It will also provide space for exchange on practical questions relating to: how to go about taking up meditation; how to transform a verse into a meditative process; and how to integrate a regular meditative practice into everyday life.
Robin Schmidt is a research fellow at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) in the Faculty of Education (http://www.gesellschaftswissenschaften-phfhnw.ch/ueber-uns/team/schmidt-robin/). His current research focuses on the effects of the digital revolution on education. Robin also co-director the Culture Impulse Research Centre in Dornach (www.kulturimpuls.org), which systematically researches the history and contemporary development of Anthroposophy.
Robin has published numerous books on cultural history and anthroposophy, including “Meditation: An Introduction to Anthroposophical Meditation” which he co-authored with Heinz Zimmermann.
Originally published in German in 2010, this book has recently been translated and published in English and French by Editions Perceval, Quebec, supported in part by the Anthroposophical Society in Canada.
Robin will be visiting Montreal and Toronto in August 2017 to lead workshops on Anthroposophical Meditation and share his research on the effects of the digital revolution on culture and education. Robin lives in Basel with his wife and three sons.
The Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (RSCT) is seeking to hire a Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director (part-time) to spearhead the implementation of a National Waldorf Childcare Enterprise whose vision statement is:
Healthy, vibrant children thriving in loving families and in active communities, where each child’s unique potential is cherished. This will be fostered by a national Waldorf childcare enterprise that meets the needs and spirit of our times.
Through this initiative, RSCT will open and operate multiple childcare centres, including larger centres and smaller home-based childcares beginning in Ontario in 2018 and moving to other provinces and territories in future years.
Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (RSCT) facilitates cultural renewal out of the transformative resources of anthroposophy. RSCT was founded in 1981 inspired by a question: “What can be done to answer the need for increased spiritual understanding in a world of escalating materialism?” In response to this question, RSCT offers workshops and courses in Waldorf Teacher Education, Remedial Education, Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy, Biodynamic Agriculture and the Arts. Over three decades, RSCT has steadily grown into one of the leading Waldorf teacher education centres in Canada offering a wide variety of courses and services to support healthy adult learning and the development of the Waldorf school movement across Canada. Here research into the spiritual nature of the human being brings practical insights for work, play and community.
For more on RSCT see www.rsct.ca.
Responsibility and Reporting
The Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director is hired by, and reports to, the Executive Director of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto.
The Executive Director will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director including a review of particular performance targets to be agreed upon with the successful candidate within the first three months of employment.
The Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director will hire site supervisors for up to 5 sites in the first year and will be responsible for overseeing their work.
Key Areas of Responsibility
The Waldorf Childcare Enterprise Director will oversee the Waldorf childcare enterprise expansion and its quality control in the first two years.
Key areas of responsibility in the preparation phase will entail the research of regulatory approvals and the development of a childcare business model which will include identifying appropriate supplies and potential workforce options, developing an overall enterprise budget and researching initial site locations
Key areas of responsibility in the initial implementation phase will entail overseeing site selection, licensing applications, renovations, staffing and advertising and eventually supporting communities of practice across 5 operational sites.
Competencies and Qualifications
The successful candidate will display the following qualifications and competencies:
Diploma in Waldorf Early Childhood Education or similar
RECE in good standing or similar
Clear Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector
A deep understanding of anthroposophical childcare principles (the “Waldorf” approach)
Knowledge of Ministry requirements for childcare licencing, policies and procedures as described on the Ontario Ministry of Education “Early Years Portal” website
Proven experience in the financial management of an enterprise
A collaborative management style that can facilitate the forming of onsite teams and the building of partnerships with Waldorf Early Childhood Education organizations such as WECAN
Ability to evaluate the childcare environment and work of the educators and institute change through coaching, opportunities for professional development and the setting up of communities of practice
Familiarity with computer applications software including spreadsheets and word processing (Microsoft Office)
Other Position Details
This is a part-time position of 2.5 days a week. The initial term of employment will be for 2 years with the potential for renewal. Compensation is $25,000 per annum.
The applicant must live in or near the Greater Toronto Area or be willing to relocate.
Please send your cover letter and resume to the Executive Director, James Brian, at email@example.com by Friday, September 15, 2017 by 5:00 pm EST. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
If you have questions, please direct these to James at the above email.
New Developments at Madagascar School Project
by Warren Lee Cohen
A year has gone by since I worked with the faculty at MSP and it is amazing to see the burgeoning growth that has occurred at the school in this short period of time. Kathy Lucking, the founder and director of the school, dropped by my office today to share the many new developments including new buildings, record enrolment, teacher education seminars and redesigned, expanded garden facilities to help feed both staff and students. They truly are working together to improve individual lives, enhance culture and re-enliven the Malagasy environment.
New Classroom Building
Thanks to the continuing generosity of the Tenaquip Foundation, the school now has another new six classroom building with purpose built science lab. This building will enable the now 720 students in kindergarten to grade 13 to have dedicated classroom spaces for their studies.
Waldorf Inspired Training for all MSP Teachers
Thanks to the generosity of stART International and IASWECE, (the International Association of Waldorf Early Childhood Educators), teams of Waldorf teacher educators will be working with the faculty over the next two years to help them enrich both their curriculum and teaching, through the insights of Waldorf education. The latest one week intensive workshop gave the 40 MSP teachers and 20 teachers from other schools in the area, an engaging experience of Waldorf pedagogy. This rich and active week was focused on how to shape the Malagasy curriculum to best meet the unique opportunities in each stage of child development. They worked with creative pedagogy and explored ways to enliven the curriculum through the arts. The teachers, who have little experience of the arts were amazed by what they were able to create. It was a lively and fun week for all. They look forward to sharing these new capacities with students to inspire their life-long love of learning.
Permaculture Garden Development
Perhaps the most far ranging and ambitious development happened in the gardens where a team of permaculture designers led by Waldorf graduates from Switzerland and Germany coordinated a team of over 320 parent volunteers to completely redesign the school’s extensive gardens, which, like most of Madagascar, suffer from the devastating effects of erosion. The aim of this project is to capture as much rainwater as possible in the land, keep fertile soil from washing away and use natural systems to irrigate food crops and restore the land.
They formed into volunteer teams that worked together for a week, completely transforming the hillside below the school to provide school lunches for the children while healing the environment and building soil. Once they had moved and terraced many tons of earth they planted a diverse range of crops including 140 fruit trees. These will help hold all of the terraces in place, to guarantee shade and fruit for years to come.
The project developed so much momentum that an NGO from Switzerland and the local Anglican Church also became interested and came to work for the week. Reflecting on this whole exciting week, Kathy shared:
“Standing up on the hill, I had a sense that something bigger than us was at work here. A diverse group of people from around the globe were lending their strength and will, to make soil fertile again to feed hungry people. Parents, teachers, church and charities from thousands of kilometres away came here, to this tiny piece of land, for a brief week, to change the landscape for the benefit of generations to come.
This was visual confirmation for me that everyone wants to be part of positive change and that Waldorf education opens the mind and engages the will for the good of the world.”
On behalf of the Board of Directors, our remarkable staff and volunteers, and our entire community, it gives me great pleasure to announce that James Brian will join RSCT as Executive Director beginning on Monday, May 15.
James brings RSCT remarkable knowledge, passion and skills that will help move RSCT forward in its important work of fostering cultural renewal across Canada out of the transformative resources of anthroposophy. James has extensive experience as a Waldorf school teacher, administrator and coach. For those of you who do not know James, I have included a short biography below.
Please join me in wishing James great success in his new role!
Chair, Board of Directors
JAMES BRIAN Executive Director
Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto
James Brian has worked in the educational field for over 30 years, with both children and adults. He spent 12 years in Germany studying philosophy and educational methods and has diplomas in Rudolf Steiner Special Education and Waldorf Teaching. He taught at the Kräherwald Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany, for 5 years. Returning to Canada in 1988, he was a co-founder of the bilingual École Parsifal School in Ottawa, where he taught with a strong accent on using the artistic training acquired in Europe. He is experienced in teaching painting, drama, sculpture, music and drawing and believes that the artistic approach enlivens, deepens and personalizes the learning experience.
With a diploma in Waldorf School Administration and Community Development from Sunbridge College in New York, he has also been active as an educational consultant in advising school faculties and boards of directors on governance issues and organizational development. An experienced public speaker, he has held numerous public lectures and study groups on anthroposophy, educational philosophy and personal development.
From 2003 on, he worked as a consultant in organizational development, retreat facilitation and strategic planning. He is a certified professional coach (New Ventures West, San Francisco) and has worked with clients both in numerous federal government departments and in the private sector. Drawing from his experience as an educator, he is able to quickly grasp the essence of what one says and see the potential of an individual. He has the necessary analytical skills to see what is important to work on and a methodical approach to design programs allowing a client to acquire new skills, capacities and competencies.
Since 2003 he has been active as a mentor and trainer at the French public Waldorf school Trille des Bois in Ottawa. For the last 3 years he has trained Indigenous teachers and educators in Waldorf methods and is presently President of the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education.
James Brian’s aim is to use his educational background and artistic training to help individuals and groups envision their goals and develop the necessary tools and skills in order to achieve their objectives. He is a life-long learner and has worked with hundreds of individuals, helping them unleash and develop their potential.