Education for Balance
and Resilience

Developmental Movement, Drawing and Painting
in Waldorf Education


Waldorf Development Conference

Friday and Saturday, November 8-9th, 2019

Keynote Speaker:  Jeff Tunkey

During the past few years there has been growing recognition in wide educational circles that helping to build lifetime habits of resilience – “grit” – is at least as important as content delivery linked to achievements on benchmark tests. Skills needed to thrive in adult life include communication, persistence in the face of challenge, adaptability, teamwork, good manners, self-control, responsibility and punctuality. Productive classroom environments and schools consistently foster caring relationships, maintain high expectations for all students, and provide meaningful opportunities for students to participate and contribute.

For Waldorf educators, these are not new thoughts. A unifying goal for every Waldorf School – big or small, anywhere in the world – is to provide a progression of challenging academic content for which the students in a given class are (or are just about to be) emotionally and physiologically ready. Waldorf teachers know that all true learning requires inner composure and mobility, and that what can be seen and developed through outer movement is vital for mental health and acuity throughout life. Physical activity not only fuels the brain with oxygen and decreases stress; every movement creates and strengthens connections within the brain and the nerve pathways throughout the body.

The importance of developmental movement for all humans is clearly validated by modern science. All children (and probably more children than ever) need a rich diet of the kind of developmental movement, drawing and painting activities suggested by Rudolf Steiner, Audrey McAllen, Karl König, Olive Whicher and others. These activities are not classroom “extras.” Quite the contrary: this work can be as important as academic presentation, at least in the early grades.

This conference will include a balance of theory and practice, to help attendees enrich their understanding and application of methods for strengthening academic capacities through a whole-class approach to developmental movement, drawing and painting activities, as well as to the enriched student observation this can make possible. Through lecture, discussion and experience, we will work on building or strengthening two bridges for your school.

KEYNOTE #1 – A bridge from the past to the present.

Rudolf Steiner and his colleagues in the beginning of the Waldorf Schools movement shared a practical understanding of the meaning of many anthroposophical terms and concepts, some of which might now seem antiquated, creating obstacles in talking with parents and the wider community in our instant-communications culture. We will work together to build a bridge to parallel mainstream words and scientific/educational insights, and a deeper understanding of the practical implications for teacher self-development and curriculum design.

KEYNOTE #2 – A bridge between teaching realms

Developmental activities that are staples in every Waldorf movement program and Extra Lesson program can provide pathways to physiologic and emotional readiness, building up basics like postural control, spatial orientation, movement coordination, body geography, and confirmed dominance. (In fact, very similar exercises used to be part of general school programs even before there were Waldorf schools.) Through lecture and discussion, we will see how to find inspiration and support for expanded appreciation and collaboration and between class teachers and their Movement and Extra Lesson colleagues, with a goal of whole-class (or even whole-school) developmental enrichment.


RSCT Waldorf Development Conference Schedule 2018

Friday November 8

7:00 to 7:15 pm Singing/welcomes 

7:15 to 8:45 Keynote #1

8:45 Preview Saturday’s schedule and activities

Saturday November 9

8:30 to 9:30 am Keynote #2

9:40 to 10:25 Experiential workshops, round 1

10:30 to 11:15 Experiential workshops, round 2

11:15 to noon Discussion groups based on the theme

1:00 to 2:00 Closing plenum

Experiential Workshop Options

Participants will pick two:

Kathryn Humphrey: Shaded Drawing and Painting Handwriting – These two activities help to strengthen focus, and artistic capacities. Painting handwriting can inspire an appreciation for the beauty of language and greater freedom in handwriting. Kathryn is a class teacher and Extra Lesson teacher at the Toronto Waldorf School with many years of experience using Extra Lesson activities with classes. (Round 1 or 2)

Jeff Tunkey: Copper Rod and Ball Activities for the Whole Class – Ways to strengthen physiology of writing and reading, direction, rhythm and sequencing, anticipation and social skills. Jeff is a Gym and Extra Lesson teacher at Aurora Waldorf School. His website ( provides resources for whole-class modalities.
(Round 1 or 2)

Jaime Tompson: Early Childhood Movement Journeys – Explore how imaginative story/song movement sequences lead children into healthy mastery of their bodies. Jaime Tompson is an Early Childhood teacher at Aurora Waldorf School. (Round 1 or 2)

Lisa Krogh: At Home in the House of Numbers – Pre-calculation games and artistic activities strengthen student numeracy and help develop a readiness for the exploration of arithmetic. Lisa Krogh is a Waldorf mathematics teacher who is mentoring this year at the Aurora Waldorf School, Halton Waldorf School and Waldorf Academy. (Round 1 or 2)

Margaret Bleek: Thinking with our Toes - Activities for Whole Class  – Take off your shoes and socks to do exercises to  wake up your feet. Foot work strengthens dexterity, body geography and balance as well as improving handwriting. Margaret Bleek is the Remedial-Extra Lesson Teacher at TWS (Round 1 only).

Siobhan Hughes and Mary Jo Clark: Get Up and Move - Self-care and stress management through movement and more –  Waldorf schools are distinctly rewarding and demanding places to work. Is it possible to bring the same care and attention we give to our students to our own self care? How do we stay focused and flexible if we are among those sitting for most of the day? We will explore these questions through spacial dynamics exercises and other activities. For the past 16 years Mary Jo Clark  taught movement at the Toronto Waldorf School including circus arts in the High School and was the Athletic Director and coach for the after-school sports program. Siobhan Hughes joined the Halton Waldorf School as the School Administrator in August 2013. She has been sharing spacial dynamics with adults and children for the past three years. (Round 2 only)

The conference fee is $175 and includes a vegetarian lunch and morning snack

Register online at on page “Development Conference Nov. 8-9” • 905-764-7570 • • 9100 Bathurst St., Thornhill, L4C 8C7


Individual Registration Form

Group Registration Form (for groups of 5 to 15 people)


Registration Form for Current RSCT Teacher Education students


Registration Form for RSCT Faculty and Mentors

Download a pdf of the conference poster to print and post


History of the whole-school developmental enrichment program at Aurora Waldorf

The school was opened in 1991, and two of its founding class teachers, Susan Johnson Tunkey and her dear friend and colleague, Betsy Zeiner, completed the Association for a Healing Education (AHE) three-year remedial teacher training as a complement to their class teacher development. (They also later took the five-year Spacial Dynamics Inservice program together.) Based on what they learned with AHE, they pioneered for AWS an enthusiastic expansion of daily movement, drawing, painting and speech activities – an “Extra Lesson for the whole class” attitude that demonstrated many positives for student readiness and engagement.

In 1994, Jeff Tunkey signed up for the Spacial Dynamics program and then began his career as the school’s movement teacher. He and his wife (Susan) had many conversations about the connections between the AHE training and the Spacial training, and Jeff began to add aspects of Extra Lesson activities to the school’s Spacial Dynamics-inspired movement program. Other class teachers at AWS joined in with these developments and within a few years the AWS teaching team as a whole had created an integrated program with a continuum from individual student support to whole-class developmental experiences. An outline of this program is as follows.

• Individual or small-group support including Extra Lesson, Therapeutic Eurythmy, Remedial Reading and Remedial Math for all students who need it. (Budgeted as at least the equivalent of one full-time position)

• Inservice program - the Extra Lesson teacher supports class teachers in the acquisition of developmental activities, via demonstrating with the class students,  professional development sessions, etc., with the goal that the class teacher acquires an expanded repertoire that can be carried throughout the grades.

• Enrichment class - a subject period a week in each of grades 1, 2 and 3, taught by the Extra Lesson teacher. “Extra Lesson movement, drawing and painting for the whole class” plus other developmental activities like string games, math games, group cooperative experiences.

• Tumbling class - a subject period a week in every grade.

• Games/Gym class - at least two subject periods a week (in addition to Tumbling).

Tunkey was a central figure in creating and running all of the above. He added Extra Lesson teaching to his AWS duties in the late 90s and for a number of years was teaching a weekly combination of 18 periods for Movement, Tumbling and Enrichment classes, as well as the 16 periods for Extra Lesson pullouts, inservices and assessments.

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