Our summertime campus deserves a new name: “Wiltin’ New Hampshire”.
The thermometer actually broke daytime records, soaring past the 100 degree mark one sultry July afternoon. It marked the culmination of a tropical week during which a so-called “dome” of muggy heat hung over the entire East Coast.
A few of our teacher education classes were shortened, some were relocated to be close to water –– the fire pond, the Souhegan River, the swimming pool. Others simply moved chairs to opened windows to take advantage of hot but refreshing winds wafting across the valley onto our hill from mountains to the west. A good number of classrooms––several more than last year––were upgraded with air conditioning units well before the heat wave arrived, thanks to the diligence of our administrator, Milan Daler.
Temperature levels were not the only records broken this summer. Some others, having to do with our programs, are described below in the current midsummer issue of Center & Periphery, which brings you snapshots from our Summer 2011 album of Renewal Courses, Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program, Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, as well as the Waldorf teacher education program of our sister organization, Antioch University New England.
In this issue we also cast a glance forward to the coming months –– and to cooler days!
Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy
In this Issue
Dateline Wilton NH: Congratulations to the Classes of 2011
Four different groups of Waldorf teachers graduated at the end of July from the combined programs of the Center for Anthroposophy and Antioch University New England. Douglas Gerwin, CfA Director, reports on the festivities.
By the end of the commencement proceedings, some 140 people––a third of them graduating Waldorf teachers––were crowded onto the stage for the final choral presentation, a modern setting of “Amazing Grace”.
In all, 47 practicing and prospective Waldorf teachers graduated in Wilton NH this summer: 11 from the CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program and 36 from the Waldorf program at Antioch University New England.
Most of the graduates in the high school group are already working in Waldorf schools stretching from California to Georgia and New Hampshire. Because all of them reside in an Eastern or Western seacoast state, they were compared as a group to the Morning and Evening Star (Venus) that rises or sets on both Atlantic and Pacific horizons –– but also because of their devotion to beauty and their sensitive care for others.
The students graduating in three Antioch groups included 7 from the first “research masters” cohort, a fast-track M.Ed. program for experienced Waldorf teachers inaugurated at Antioch in the summer of 2010. In addition, 14 students from Antioch’s part-time “Summer Sequence” and 15 from the university’s year-round Waldorf program in Keene NH completed their studies this year. Each group offered a song or poem before each student was called one by one to receive certificate and stole.
Joan Almon, a longtime Waldorf kindergarten teacher and founding director of the international Alliance for Childhood, was the Commencement speaker. She drew attention to places around the world where “new thinking” is chipping away at seemingly intractable “old problems” of illiteracy, poverty, and the neglect of children. A lifelong proponent of so-called “play-based education” in early childhood, Joan cited recent research (still largely ignored in the main stream) that demonstrates how play offers a more effective––and more hygienic––approach to learning and healthy development.
Joan’s warm and genial remarks to the graduates preceded a musical offering of special significance to her as well as to others in the audience. Julia Emahiser, an accomplished cellist and Waldorf teacher who entered the Antioch program only this summer, joined her mother Martha Bartles for a performance of “The Wind”, a piece for cello and piano written by her husband Alfred H. Bartles –– who happened to be a cousin of Joan’s husband!
The celebration, held in the auditorium of Pine Hill Waldorf School where many of the Antioch summer classes are housed, drew to a close with graduates and current students as well as faculty coming on stage to sing an a cappella setting of the traditional song “Amazing Grace” by the contemporary American composer Stephen Hatfield. A festive luncheon followed across the road on the campus of High Mowing School, where most of the classes in the high school program are conducted each summer.
On the evening prior to graduation, all 9 groups of current and graduating students presented samples of their summertime studies––especially those related to the arts of music, speech, and eurythmy––to friends and family who had gathered for the commencement the following morning. A display of student work in other artistic media such as clay sculpture, watercolor painting, and woodwork, filled the foyer of the building. The evening ended with two uplifting performances by Cezary Ciaglo and Laura Radefeld––both teachers in the summertime programs––of eurythmy solos accompanied by Malcolm Hawkins at the piano.
Dateline Wilton NH: Life without Georg
For as long as we can remember, Georg Locher has been a regular feature of the summer programs offered by the Center for Anthroposophy. What was it like without him this year?
For the past quarter century, Georg Locher has served as a senior faculty member of Wilton’s summer programs, first in the Waldorf teacher education program at Antioch University New England and more recently in CfA’s week-long offerings of Renewal Courses. From early morning assemblies––at which he would read the German version of Rudolf Steiner’s weekly Calendar of the Soul in his resonant baritone voice––to evening soirees (for which he was m/c and often “final act” with some soothing cello piece) and countless courses in between, Georg has helped to set the tone of our programs.
During the two weeks of Renewal Courses––a program he was instrumental in launching more than a decade ago––Georg has offered the broadest possible range of courses, from sweeping introductory vistas of anthroposophy to deep explorations of the arts curriculum in the upper elementary years. During the three weeks of the Antioch summer teacher education program, he led core seminars each summer in human development and discussions concerning Study of Man, Steiner’s seminal lecture cycle for teachers.
Last May Georg suffered a stroke that, for a short period, interrupted his activities as teacher, advisor, and musician. At last report, he is making steady recovery and is gradually resuming his favorite pastimes.
Filling Georg’s many shoes this summer required exceptional talent and good fortune, and luckily we were graced with both. Signe Motter, a seasoned teacher who had just graduated her eighth grade at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene NH, agreed to steer Georg’s Renewal Course on “Transformation of Self through Intuitive Thinking and Artistic Perception”, for which she earned rave reviews from the participants who had signed up for this popular annual course. Elizabeth Auer stepped in to lead the artistic classes that Georg was slated to offer, while other experienced faculty were able to pick up the courses that Georg has taught over the years in the Antioch programs.
Georg’s genial presence was missed this summer, and we look forward to welcoming him back to Wilton as his health improves. In the meantime, donors to the Center’s annual giving campaign have continued to enlarge the scholarship fund for Waldorf teachers in training established two years ago in his name. Click here if you would like to make a donation to the Georg Locher Scholarship Fund.
Dateline Wilton NH: Marking Rudolf Steiner’s Birthday with a Night of Eurythmy
As part of a year-long celebration of Rudolf Steiner’s 150 anniversary, the Center for Anthroposophy hosted an evening of eurythmy in the context of its summertime Renewal Courses. Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of CfA’s Renewal Courses, offers a few vignettes of this performance.
Journey to Selfhood: Celebrating Rudolf Steiner through Eurythmy, Poetry, and Music was the title for an evening performance presented by members of the Eurythmy School in Spring Valley NY during the second week of Renewal Courses. In all, seven eurythmists, accompanied by a pianist and speech artist, offered a wide ranging evening of speech and tone eurythmy –– from Johann Sebastian Bach to Olivier Messiaen, William Shakespeare to Mary Oliver.
The performance was staged in the auditorium of the Pine Hill Waldorf School, just across the road from High Mowing School, where the two weeks of Renewal Courses are held each year. This setting allowed the eurythmy troupe to make full use of dramatic changes in stage lighting, some of them taken directly from Rudolf Steiner’s own indications.
Members of the troupe demonstrated remarkable flexibility in their performing styles –– switching in a matter of seconds from profoundly moving pieces of timeless beauty to a hilarious spoof depicting the struggle to practice concentration and meditation exercises in the face of endless mental distractions and bodily needs. Barbara Schneider-Serio, Director of Eurythmy Spring Valley, portrayed the vexed student of meditation with playful abandon.
The eurythmy performance opened to a full house with a tranquil poem about the moon from Peter Sculthorpe’s Night Pieces, spoken by Michael Steinrueck. The evening closed with a selection of Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes in eurythmy with piano reduction played by accompanist Jonathan Ackerman.
The event was generously sponsored by Antioch University New England, Cadmus Corporation, Center for Anthroposophy, High Mowing School, Lukas Foundation, Maple Hill Community, Pine Hill Waldorf School, and the Plowshare Farm Lifesharing Community.
In the context of this birthday celebration, the Anthroposophical Society in America made available five handsome floor-to-ceiling panels depicting the life and work of Rudolf Steiner. These panels, on display for the entire month of July in the foyer of the Main Building at High Mowing, were featured earlier this year at a celebration organized by the Center at its headquarters in Wilton NH on the occasion of Steiner’s birth date.
Click here for a video clip of the Wilton eurythmy performance.
Dateline Wilton NH: Snapshots from Renewal 2011
Once again, the summertime Renewal Courses sponsored by the Center for Anthroposophy broke all previous records, both in enrollment and in the variety of offerings. Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of Renewal Courses, reports on the highlights.
It was a summer for new records: 279 participants––a 15% increase in enrollment over last year––signed up for 16 one-week courses led by faculty members from as far away as British Columbia and Hawaii to the West and Switzerland and Germany to the East.
From the Executive of the Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, Virginia Sease joined the Renewal program for the first time with a course devoted to the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth. She also offered an evening lecture on Waldorf education that was punctuated by a violent wind and rainstorm that sent participants racing outside to save a makeshift tent covering a glass-blowing workshop next to the lecture hall.
The glass-blowing workshop formed part of a series of outdoor craft classes led by Aonghus Gordon, founder of Ruskin Mill in England, and a team of his craftsmen specializing in woodworking, soap making, and felting. The Ruskin Mill team is already scheduled to return in July 2012 for their third summer in Wilton. Click here for video clips of this summer’s workshops.
During the previous week of Renewal, Christof Wiechert, recently retired as Leader of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum, offered a continuation of his popular seminar on “child study”. Midway through the week, Christof delivered an evening lecture on the Hibernian Mysteries; at the final assembly he surprised the participants with a spontaneous skit on the pitfalls of practicing eurythmy.
Additional newcomers to the circle of Renewal faculty this year included Van James from Honolulu HI, who offered a drawing course as well as a lecture on Rudolf Steiner’s celebrated blackboard drawings; and Douglas Sloan, emeritus professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia, who explored the theme of encountering evil as a task of our times. Other first-time faculty included Tobias Tuechelmann, MD, who gave a course on treating child trauma, and Philip Thatcher, recently retired General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada, who led a week-long discussion on Parzival in the context of Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and the Time of Michael.
Among returning faculty members during the first week, Leonore Russell and Carla Comey led a mentoring course for experienced eurythmists, Elizabeth Auer offered a workshop on crafts for Waldorf class teachers, Iris Sullivan led a studio course in veil painting, and Lorey Johnson with Kati Manning resumed their workshops for teachers of modern languages in the elementary school. Juliana Weeks and Monica Amstutz facilitated a workshop on music in the light of anthroposophy.
In the second week, returning faculty included Leonore Russell and Torin Finser, who offered their ever-popular course on personal and organizational renewal (“From Survival to Success”), Jamie York led a lively seminar on teaching math to elementary school students, and Janene Ping used her workshop on puppetry to help prepare a magnificent and elaborate evening performance of “The Bee Man of Orn”. Georg Locher’s courses that were scheduled for this week are described elsewhere in this issue of Center & Periphery. (See “Life Without Georg” above.)
Full enrollment in this summer program stretched the home team––as well as available housing––to the maximum, but we were lucky to have the services of John Fallon and Barbara Coughlin. Veterans of anthroposophical conferences on two continents, they volunteered their services for these two weeks and helped keep the programs running smoothly.
Dateline Wilton NH: Welcome to the High School Class of 2013
Each summer, the Center for Anthroposophy launches another cycle of its three-summer Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center and chair of this program, outlines the new group.
They come from the far reaches of the continental United States: half to the south and west of the Mississippi as far as Colorado, Texas, and California; the other to the north and east stretching from Virginia to Maine. One is a British ex-patriot scientist living in Kenya and sending her children to a Waldorf school in Nairobi.
As a group, they are world travelers to every continent except Antarctica. Between them, they speak some 15 languages (one of them, a linguist by training, speaks 10 of them).
One student in this program took six years to complete the application process (a record), during which time he migrated from being a university art professor to a biodynamic farmer and now chair of a new Waldorf high school. Another completed the application in a matter of days after a long gestation period.
Between them they represent the full range of the six subject specializations offered in the high school program: arts and art history, English language and literature (including modern languages), history and social sciences, life and earth sciences, mathematics and computer studies, physics and chemistry.
And yet, despite the stretch of their geographic and specialized backgrounds, this group comes with remarkable academic and social coherence. Of the 13 in this group, six have earned a masters degree; five hold Ph.D’s. All have children––many of them in a Waldorf school––and over half are already working in a Waldorf high school. As a group, their average age is 45 with a relatively narrow spread of about 10 years either side. (In other years, entering high school groups have embraced a spread in age twice this size and more.)
Each summer WHiSTEP admits a new class of 10-15 students. The new group is studying alongside students in the second and third year levels of the high school program as well as trainees in the Waldorf elementary teacher education program of Antioch University New England. In all, these programs have about 120 teachers enrolled in training. All of these summer programs are held on the adjacent campuses of Pine Hill Waldorf School and High Mowing School in Southeastern New Hampshire.
Since its inception in July 1996, some 117 high school trainees have completed this part-time three-summers program. Overall, around 65% of current and graduated high school teachers are working full or part-time at some 55 Waldorf schools in the English-speaking world. As of this year, WHiSTEP students or graduates are active in 35 of the 40 Waldorf high schools extant in North America from Pacific to Atlantic coasts and every region in between.
Dateline Wilton NH: Where Do the Teachers of the Teachers Themselves Teach?
One way of getting a picture of a teacher education program is to know the origin of its faculty and what they do when they are not teaching teachers. Here is a line-up of the instructors working in the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP).
At the Center for Anthroposophy, we hold that one of the prerequisites for teaching teachers is to be teaching students. With the quickening pace of changes in adolescence from one generation to the next, the best way to remain current is to remain active in the classroom.
With this criterion in mind, we have built up a solid faculty who not only have years––in many cases decades––of experience in the Waldorf high school but who are still engaging with today’s teenagers in the classroom.
Please meet the faculty of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP), their years of teaching experience, their specialization as it applies to WHiSTEP, and their current high school affiliation:
Michael D’Aleo (physics, chemistry, mathematics)
18 years teaching. Class teacher, high school teacher at
Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs (Saratoga Springs NY)
Douglas Gerwin (history, life science, English, music)
30 years teaching. High school teacher in Wilton NH; guest teacher/mentor in 30 Waldorf schools; visiting teacher at
Monadnock Waldorf School (Keene NH)
Meg Gorman (history, English, drama)
43 years teaching. High school teacher in Washington DC, Sacramento CA,
San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, and now
Santa Fe Waldorf School (Santa Fe NM)
Michael Holdrege (life sciences, mathematics)
31 years teaching. High school teacher in Vienna, Austria, and now
Chicago Waldorf School (Chicago IL)
Carol Kelly (music)
25 years teaching. Class teacher, music teacher in Hawthorne Valley. Christian Community priest and youth camp leader in Boston MA, Spring Valley NY,
Kim John Payne (social life of teenagers, Spacial Dynamics)
27 years teaching, counseling.
Private practice with adolescents
Laura Radefeld (eurythmy)
17 years teaching. High school eurythmy teacher in Chicago IL, Portland OR, Keene NH, and now Green Meadow Waldorf School (Spring Valley NY)
Leonore Russell (eurythmy, English)
35 years teaching. High school teacher at Garden City NY; visiting teacher at
Tara Performing Arts High School (Boulder CO)
Stephen Sagarin (arts)
20 years teaching. Class teacher; high school teacher in Garden City NY, now at
Great Barrington Waldorf High School (Great Barrington MA)
Robert Sim (mathematics, German)
37 years teaching. Class teacher; high school teacher at Ueberlingen, Germany, High Mowing School (Wilton NH)
David Sloan (English, drama)
37 years teaching. High school teacher in Spring Valley NY, Boulder CO, now at Merriconeag Waldorf School (Freeport ME)
Daniel Stokes (speech)
23 years teaching. Most recently class teacher at Honolulu Waldorf School
Patrick Stolfo (sculpture, arts/art history)
33 years teaching. Currently high school guest teacher at several Waldorf schools, including High Mowing School, Monadnock Waldorf School, and
Hawthorne Valley School (Ghent NY)
Jamie York (mathematics)
20 years teaching. High school teacher in Holland and now at
Shining Mountain Waldorf School (Boulder CO)
Dateline Freeport ME: Record Number of Foundation Studies Clusters
Next year the Center for Anthroposophy will be sponsoring a record 10 clusters in Foundation Studies, from Upper Valley in Vermont to Atlanta on the plains of Georgia. Barbara Richardson, Coordinator of Foundation Studies, reports on this unprecedented line-up.
In past years, the Center for Anthroposophy has sponsored 4-6 clusters of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, usually hosted by Waldorf schools across the country from Maine to California. In this coming school year, we will venture for the first time into the Deep South with our first ever program in Atlanta GA, jointly sponsored by the Academe of the Oaks and the Waldorf School of Atlanta. This is one of a record-breaking10 clusters in Foundation Studies that the Center is organizing this year.New clusters are also starting this fall at the Upper Valley Waldorf School in Quechee VT; at the Shining Rivers School in St. Louis MO; at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley MA; and one provisionally in Miami FL. Meanwhile the cluster at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill NC, which began midway through the last school year, will resume its Year One program in September.Participants in Asheville NC will finish their two-year program this autumn with Eleanor Winship, Douglas Gerwin, and Nathaniel Williams as instructors. This particular cluster in Foundation Studies is connected with two school initiatives that are coming together to open a new Waldorf school beginning in the fall.
Other clusters going into their second year are located at the Linden Waldorf School in Nashville TN, the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport ME, and the Waldorf School of Lexington in Lexington MA. Please check our website to see detailed schedules for each cluster.
Looking ahead to the 2012-2103 season, clusters are already forming in Charlottesville VA and Washington DC. Stay tuned to these pages –– or to our website –– for details.
If you have questions about enrollment or are interested in hosting Foundation Studies in the Arts and Anthroposophy to your area, please contact Barbara Richardson, Coordinator of Foundation Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dateline Freeport ME: Unsung Heroes of Foundation Studies
Beyond setting up clusters of Foundation Studies around the country, the Center for Anthroposophy offers a network of mentors who can make foundation studies available on a one-to-one basis across the continent in places where no cluster is available. Barbara Richardson, Coordinator of CfA’s Foundation Studies, has collected some reflections by these mentors on their experience of working individually with parents, teachers, and other adults interested in deepening their work with anthroposophy.
When people find Waldorf education and want to attend teacher training at Antioch University New England or in the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program of the Center for Anthroposophy, we suggest they take a two-year, part-time course of Foundation Studies in the Arts and Anthroposophy offered by the Center at various Waldorf schools. If one is not nearby then we find them a Mentor in their area instead, so that they can undertake an Individual Mentoring Program.
Who are these Mentors? Typically these are people who shine, who reach out to others in their glowing warmth and, although they are open to receive, expect nothing. How do people develop this balance between an outgoing nature and quiet inwardness? Years of studying anthroposophy and standing daily in front of students develops a firm sense of purpose and a deep humility. These are the Mentors!
When looking for a Mentor, the old saying––“If you want something done, ask a busy person”––often applies. Often employed in a Waldorf school, these busy people typically are teaching extra classes, mentoring new teachers, getting involved in the school’s governance, and actively participating in the Anthroposophical Society. It is they who carry the question: Who is coming forward to continue Rudolf Steiner’s work in inner development and Waldorf education? They are very happy to meet striving, enthusiastic young people and to study with them over several months.
Here are some comments from recent students in the Individual Mentoring Program:
“The opportunity to read Steiner with another person was invaluable. Our discussions were lively and personable, anchored both in the text and our experience. I kept a reflective journal. It was my desire to strike a balance between a critical, literal reading of Steiner and a more artistic, interpretive reading. Later we would work together to clarify questions I had encountered or to unpack shared points of interest.”
“I began to practice the Six Basic Exercises and the Review of the Day meditation. . . . I found this exciting. I could see its use/value in my day-to-day life, and imagine its practical implications for quality teaching. I look forward to making a place for myself within this community of educators, and to the project we will all undertake this summer in New Hampshire. To July!”
From a mentor:
“The first session was devoted to [the students] looking at their own biography in relationship to spiritual or religious interests prior to encountering Waldorf education, and also a brief overview of Steiner’s biography. I also included a short check-in around how they were doing at school at the start of each session since they are both new teachers at our local Waldorf school. We worked through both Theosophy and How to Know Higher Worlds. Both were on time and well prepared for each session. They are mature, delightful and intelligent ladies and will each bring talents and insights to share with their fellow students.”
In the words of another student:
“As someone who is new to the Waldorf community, it was really comforting to have been so warmly welcomed into the lives of my mentor and his wife. As for the material, I found Theosophy to be challenging but very enriching and fulfilling. The Transformation of Self course [in Wilton as part of the CfA’s summertime Renewal Courses] was the perfect ending point for this experience, having tested me creatively, intellectually, and spiritually. The experience has been wonderful and life changing and I would like to thank everyone at the Center for Anthroposophy for your parts in it.”
Among the mentors who have guided our students in recent years:
Mary Lou Bala, Cynthia Bennett, Stephen Bloomquist, Margaret Chambers, Laira Covert, Michael D’Aleo, Diane David, Charlotte Dukich, Susan Elmore, Ruth and Siegfried Finser, Craig Giddens, Susan Goldstein, Lori Ann Kran, Cynthia Lang, Linda Larson, Kimberley Lewis, Sarah McBrian, Anniken Mitchell, Tim Morrissey, Natasha Moss, Rena Osmer, Rachel Ross, Jan Kees Saltet, Elizabeth Sevison, Roberta van Schilfgaarde, Jennifer Theel, Sarah Weber, Christina Williams, and Jean Yeager. Thank you!