Blog

 
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