The blistering heat of July and August has speeded up the onset of autumn. Beyond the windows of my study, the woodland birches––sensitive as they are to the stresses of heat––have raced through the glory of their golden halo phase and already dropped most of their leaves. I cannot recall ever getting past autumn before Labor Day.
An early fall season can only contribute to the general feeling that time is speeding up. To be sure, all of us feel this as we get older––can you recall the time, long ago, when your birthday stretched far beyond the horizon of your imagination. . . compared to now?––and yet, other influences in our present culture and lifestyle, perhaps less obvious and hence more insidious, make the pace of life feel more accellerando than a tempo.
“Fast”, however, usually entails “less nourishing”. Think only of fast food, minute rice, instant spuds, hothouse tomatoes.This is true of other kinds of nourishment, too: soul food, spirit food. Race through a museum or art gallery and notice how soon the law of diminishing returns sets in.
So, with this issue of Center & Periphery––the first of the fall season––we bring you some items to slow your day a little. Take a moment to savor our new website; sample a DVD on the life of a Waldorf teacher; browse in the new study space of the Cadmus Library; dream about some new retreats being offered by the Center and our sister program at Antioch University New England.
In short, turn the tables on this very frenzied electronic medium, whose own tendency it is to exacerbate the accelleration of our day. Amble––rather than sprint––on the information highway. The Ancient Greeks called this kind of reversal a moment of enantiodromia, and they knew it to be a source of healing and of lasting strength.
Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy
In this Issue
Dateline East Coast: New Clusters of Foundation Studies
Seven clusters of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts along the East Coast are opening or renewing their work this month. Barbara Richardson, the Center’s Coordinator of Foundation Studies, reports on what they are doing.
This year the Center for Anthroposophy is offering clusters of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts at seven locations stretching along the East Coast from Southern Maine to North Carolina. Programs typically meet twice a month for two years.
New first-year clusters are now enrolling at
- Linden Waldorf School in Nashville, TN
- Waldorf School of Lexington, MA
- Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport, ME
- Aurora Waldorf School near Buffalo, NY
Programs in their second year are continuing at
- Asheville, NC
- Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH
- Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD
The Center’s program in Asheville, NC, which began in the middle of the last school year, is still open for enrollment as it begins the second half of its first-year program this fall with a study of “Biodynamic Agriculture at Michaelmas”. Unlike the other clusters, the Asheville and Nashville groups meet once a month for double sessions starting on Friday evening and running all day Saturday. Friday night presentations are open to members of the wider community, and their donations help provide scholarship assistance to the full-time participants.
During the first year, participants work with some of the concentration exercises that Rudolf Steiner recommended. In a lecture of 1904 Steiner describes how the first steps in inner development require finding moments of peace, practicing patience, looking at one’s karma, and developing reverence. Three qualities to be developed through these steps are self-confidence, self-control, and presence of mind. However, he cautions that these three need to be tempered: we should develop self-confidence with humility, self-control with gentleness, and presence of mind with steadfastness.
I have found that practicing the arts and the basic exercises definitely help in developing humility! When we attend to our thinking, feeling, and willing, we begin to learn a lot about being positive and open-minded.
Please join us in the current clusters or let us know if you would like to start a Foundation Studies cluster in your area.
Dateline New England: Graduates Start Two New High Schools
Two new Waldorf high schools were launched this month, both of them spearheaded by graduates of the Center’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). Here are brief reports on both new initiatives.
After a two-year lull, the growth of Waldorf high schools in North America is picking up again with the inauguration of two new ventures –– one at Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH, the other at the Aurora Waldorf School in West Falls, NY.
Karl Schurman, a history teacher who completed his course work at the Center’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) in 2001, was hired in May by the Monadnock Waldorf School to put together a new high school starting this fall with grades 9 and 10. His efforts were aided by two major factors: a local philanthropic family helped to make a building available––a handsome “four square” brick and granite school edifice with a rich history––and Lisa Damian, an experienced Waldorf teacher, had in the previous year already launched a ninth grade as a one-year parent-run “bridge school”.
Karl, a former teacher at Merriconeag Waldorf School and Green Meadow Waldorf School, pulled together a seasoned high school faculty from near and far––as near as neighboring Massachusetts and as far as Western Australia––plus a scattering of guest teachers. Along with a dedicated group of parents, the faculty spent a good portion of the summer renovating the building and preparing a warm welcome for an incoming group of 26 students, including some last-minute sign-ups who were drawn by the quality and enthusiasm of the teachers. After a festive opening, the school headed off on four days of community building through canoeing, whitewater rafting, rock-climbing, cooking, and service work. Read more about the Monadnock school.
Meanwhile, Katie Andrews, fresh from her third and final summer in WHiSTEP, is one of a three-person leadership team that launched a new ninth grade at the Aurora Waldorf School in Upstate New York. A subject teacher in math and physics, Katie reports that the school got off to a roaring start with a series of field trips that kept the class of seven students on the road for most of the first month of their high school career. Ann Frank, who graduated from WHiSTEP in the Class of 2008 with a specialization in arts and art history, will also be teaching at this school. For more on the Aurora school, click here.
With the advent of Monadnock and Aurora, the number of Waldorf high schools in North America comes to 40 –– compared to 27 a decade ago and 13 in 1990. Of the present 40 high schools, fully one third are led by WHiSTEP graduates, from schools in the Canadian Pacific to New England and the Atlantic Southeast.
Dateline Wilton: Sneak Preview of Summer 2011 Renewal Courses
After a record enrollment this past summer, plans are already forming for the summer 2011 Renewal Courses, which will mark the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth with a first appearance by Virginia Sease from the Goetheanum. Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of Renewal Courses, offers a brief preview.
Next summer the Renewal Courses sponsored by the Center for Anthroposophy will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth with a week-long course given by Virginia Sease from the Executive Council at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
Other guest faculty will include the author and artist Van James from Hawaii, who will offer a new drawing course to support teachers from Grades 1 through 12. He’ll also devote an evening to Rudolf Steiner’s celebrated “Blackboard Drawings”.
Christof Wiechert, who led a popular seminar on the child study during our most recent Renewal Courses, will return next summer, as will Aonghus Gordon and his skilled team of craftsmen from Ruskin Mills in England.
Save the date for next year’s Renewal courses:
Week I: Sunday 26 June – Friday 1 July 2011
Week II: Sunday 3 July – Friday 8 July 2011
To join our mailing list and receive our 2011 brochure describing all of the Renewal Courses, contact the CfA office by phone at (603) 6542566, or by e-mail at [email protected].
Dateline Wilton: CfA Launches New Website
The Center for Anthroposophy has launched its newly redesigned website. Take a look at the full redesign, which includes new video footage of our summer 2010 programs.
After months of steady work, the new website design is now finished. We hope the clean new design and improved navigation will benefit the many visitors to the website. Please take a look through our new website and let us know what you think. Websites are always a work-in-porgress, so your suggestions will help us to continually improve. Visit the Center for Anthroposophy website.
Dateline Temple: Cadmus Library Moves onto Main Street
The Cadmus Library, a collection of rare anthroposophical texts, has found a new home in the basement of CfA’s Color Shop & More. Milan Daler, CfA Administrator and Cadmus trustee, reports.
After spending time at the Four Corners Farm in Wilton NH and then close to ten years in a store building on the property of Alice and Trauger Groh in Temple NH, the Cadmus Library has found a new home in the basement of the Color Shop & More on Wilton’s Main Street. This unique anthroposophical lending library features an extensive collection including many rare and out of print editions of books and lectures by Rudolf Steiner and other leading anthroposophists.
Thanks to a collective effort and financing by the Cadmus Corporation and the Center for Anthroposophy, the basement of the shop––once an unwelcoming, dark space in the oldest building on Main Street––was transformed into a well lit, freshly painted room, modestly furnished with tables and chairs, and with custom-built maple bookshelves. Upon completion of the renovation in May of this year, the books were gradually moved and carefully arranged on the new shelving. Librarian’s desk and chair followed.
So far this new room has hosted multiple board meetings of the Cadmus Corporation, The Color Shop & More, and the Center for Anthroposophy, and we are beginning to utilize it also for lectures, art classes, and as a reading room. Students and faculty in the Antioch University and CfA summer Waldorf teacher training programs have already begun to frequent the Library. Many expressed surprise at the richness and variety of the titles in this collection, many unseen in their own communities across the country.
The Library does not yet have definite business hours, but patrons may browse through the collection during the regular store hours of the Color Shop & More –– namely Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 to 4:30. When the Librarian is not present, books can be checked out and returned to the store agent on duty.
The Library staff is eager to update and expand the Library holdings. Anthroposophical titles, including periodicals, are welcome. Contact Milan Daler, CfA Administrator, at (603) 654-2566 or via e-mail at [email protected]
Dateline AWSNA: New Video for Teacher Training
Karl Schurman, Waldorf teacher and independent film maker, has created a DVD on the life of a Waldorf teacher in the early childhood, elementary, and high school years. Here is a brief report on the film as well as a link to the production.
It has been a busy year for Karl Schurman. In between teaching in Maine and New York and setting up a new Waldorf high school in New Hampshire (see separate article above on “Center Graduates Start Two New High Schools”), Karl was commissioned by the Teacher Education Network of AWSNA to make a promotional film about Waldorf teaching. A seasoned film maker whose credits include a PBS documentary on Mother Teresa, Karl profiled four Waldorf teachers––one from early childhood, two from elementary, and one from high school grades––at three separate Waldorf schools along the East Coast. In addition, he filmed several dozen vignettes of Waldorf teachers speaking to the question: “Why Waldorf teaching?”
The DVD––which was previewed at the annual meeting of AWSNA delegates in June –– is a production of AWSNA’s Teacher Education Network, a group of six Waldorf teacher training institutes including the Center for Anthroposophy, and the administrative offices of AWSNA. It was made possible by grants from the Waldorf Schools Fund and the Waldorf Educational Foundation The video is intended to spur interest in Waldorf teaching as a profession among the wider community. Copies of the DVD, along with support materials including answers to “frequently asked questions”, have been mailed to all AWSNA member schools and teacher training institutes. Watch the DVD at Why Waldorf Works.
Dateline Kyle, SD: Introduction to Waldorf at Oglala Lakota College
A new program on Waldorf education at a Native American college featured a course in eurythmy given by Barbara Richardson, CfA Coordinator of Foundation Studies.Barbara reports briefly on her involvement in this program.
A two-week “Introduction to Waldorf Education” was given at the Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, SD in August and September of this year. Barbara Richardson, Foundation Studies Coordinator at the Center, led eurythmy for the group in the second week. In this photo, she poses on a windswept day with Mabel One Horn, Board Chair of the aspiring Lakota Waldorf School, and with the organizer of this week, Patrice Maynard, Development and Outreach Director of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. Working with the science curriculum from the sixth grade, teachers experimented with Chladni plates, which show the patterns of sound that arise when a metal plate strewn with sand or salt is stroked at its edge with the bow of a stringed instrument.
Dateline Wilton: Record Enrollment in Summer Programs
Between the fortnight of week-long Renewal Courses and the teacher education programs offered by the Center for Anthroposophy and Antioch University New England, summer enrollments broke all records this year. Here follow some vignettes from our busiest summer ever.
They came from the furthest reaches of the continent––Alaska and Hawaii in the West, Maine and Florida in the East––to take part in programs sponsored by the Center for Anthroposophy and Antioch University New England this summer. In all we counted 475 participants, representing record enrollment in both our five-day Renewal Courses and the Waldorf teacher education programs for elementary/early childhood and high school levels.
Under clear skies and refreshing breezes, the initial week of Renewal Courses featured a first visit to our program by Christof Wiechert, Leader of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. In addition to offering a highly praised workshop on “child study” (click here to watch a short video), a subject he has carried around the world, Christof graced the week with an evening lecture on three levels of the human “I” and a performance on his beloved violin as part of a string ensemble. Other workshops were offered by new and returning faculty including Christopher Bamford, Georg Locher, Iris Sullivan, Glen Williamson, Darcy Drayton, Rachel Ross and Connie Helms, Lorey Johnson and Kati Manning. Click here for a glimpse of an arts studio course with Iris Sullivan.
The second week of Renewal Courses was abuzz with a team of craftsmen from Ruskin Mills led by Aonghus Gordon, who despite blistering heat transformed a portion of the campus into a small outdoor village of industry in iron forging, green woodworking, soap making, and felting. As one participant noted, “It’s as though a thousand years of history fell away and we rediscovered the world of timeless technology.” Click here for some brief video scenes from this program.
Dennis Klocek, a regular member of our summer teacher education faculty, gave his first Renewal course this year on the theme of a “cosmic look at climate”, as well as a vibrant evening lecture on observing natural phenomena at three levels of being. Other workshops were offered by faculty––some new to the program, many returning––among them Georg Locher, Leonore Russell and Torin Finser, Rudiger Janisch, Rena Osmer, and Elizabeth Auer. A third and final round of the AWSNA Mentoring Seminar for experienced Waldorf teachers was facilitated by Virginia McWilliam and Barbara Richardson. Click here for some vignettes of this program, which has been formed and led since its beginnings over a decade ago by Karine Munk Finser, the Center’s Coordinator for Renewal Courses.
Evenings was a time for breathing out and enjoying the artistic talents of students and faculty. Click here for an excerpt of a cello and piano duet featuring Georg Locher, a founding faculty member of the Renewal Courses.
For the remainder of this month the adjacent campuses of Pine Hill Waldorf School and High Mowing School have been humming with the separate teacher education programs for high school and lower school/early childhood educators. New this year is a 32-credit “research” Masters degree in Waldorf education for experienced teachers being offered by Antioch University New England for the first time. Click here for details of this new Masters program.