DouglasSpring: a time for spring cleaning! During the height of this season, the Center for Anthroposophy submitted itself to an administrative review as part of a multi-phase assessment of its programs and core personnel. We are happy to report that this review yielded a strong endorsement of our programs and those who lead them.  The review, ably led by Kay Hoffman and her colleagues at Adminservices, also pointed to areas where we could improve our offerings and make better use of modern technology. Our thanks to all who participated in this process.

Based on this exercise of review and rejuvenation, we turn––as we do at this time of year––to the forthcoming summer and our latest line-up of programs. It promises to be a dynamic season, starting with Renewal Courses and the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program in late June and early July and flowing into the new school year with a bumper crop of Foundation Studies around the country, starting in September.

We devote this summer issue of Center & Periphery, then, to a sampling of our new offerings –– as well as to the review of several other new items. Read and rejuvenate!

Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy

Double-click any bullet point below to jump to the article.

In this Issue

Dateline Wilton NH: Sampling of Renewal Courses for Summer 2011

6ef12a1cadKarine Munk Finser, Coordinator of CfA’s Renewal Courses, offers a few more detailed vignettes of new courses being offered this summer as part of her program.

Dear Friends,

I would like to highlight a few of our courses that are being offered this year as unique opportunities:

In Week 1: June 26th-July 1st

Encountering Evil: Explorations into the Task of Our Times: Douglas Sloan will address one of the more critical tasks facing human beings now and in the future: understanding, overcoming, and transforming evil. He will help us look at some of the spiritual resources that are available to us in this task of transformation.

Drawing with Hand, Head, and Heart: Van James will help any teacher both from the grades or high school to develop confidence, skills, and techniques to building capacities in our students. Using crayons, colored pencils, and pastels, he will guide teachers and artists with landscape drawing, plant and animal drawing, still-life drawing, perspective drawing, portrait and figure drawing…and more.

Creating Educational Projects for Children in the Grades: Elizabeth Auer will help home-schooling parents as well as classroom teachers develop crafts projects to augment young children’s learning about the world.

Health-Bringing Aspects of the Waldorf Curriculum: Christof Wiechert returns to continue his advanced studies with experienced educators on healing aspects and the art of teaching.

Music in the Light of Anthroposophy: Juliane Weeks and Monica Amstutz will guide music teachers, early childhood educators, home schooling parents, class teachers, and health practitioners seeking to enliven their relationship to music. Participants will take home a rich handout of songs and related materials.

In Week 2: July 3rd- July 8th

We are indeed fortunate to have Virginia Sease with us this year. Imagine spending five days under her wise guidance, exploring the Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner, the path into the New Mysteries and Modern Initiation.

Ruskin Mills’ Aonghus Gordon and his Master Craftsmen are back this year. Come and learn a craft that may bring healing elements into your class or work with young adults. This course will change your life and outlook!

Janene Ping will help her group produce a modern fairy tale: The Bee Man of Orn. This production-oriented course will culminate in a full stage set-up and performance with children and adults in the audience. Channa Seidenberg will provide unique and beautiful music.

Other rich courses include Philip Thatcher’s work with Parzival and the Times of Michael; and a Math course for the upper elementary grades with Jamie York; and much more!

Evening events are optional but always stimulating. There will be lectures by

  • Van James on Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings
  • Christof Wiechert on the Hibernian Mysteries
  • Virginia Sease on Waldorf Education
  • Peter Snow on the Rosslyn Chapel.

In addition we are sponsoring a full eurythmy performance dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth, performed by Eurythmy Spring Valley.

In short, this is a big year for us with a wealth of unique opportunities that will not be repeated. Please join us!

Dateline Wilton NH: Renewal Through Eurythmy

0a090b16e1Eurythmy Spring Valley troupe makes a special appearance at the summer Renewal Courses in Wilton, NH. Get a sneak preview here of their program.

“Eurythmy Spring Valley” will perform in the Pine Hill Auditorium on the evening of July 5th, during the second week of our Renewal Courses. The special program, dedicated to Rudolf Steiner, will feature pieces of both tone and speech eurythmy.

It is our intention to open our doors to share this artistic event with community members and friends. Tickets, at $12.00, can be purchased at the door or reserved by calling the CfA office at (603) 654- 2566.

Date Wilton NH: The Bee Man of Orn

The Bee Man of Orn will be performed at Pine Hill School, in the Auditorium, on July 7th, at 7p.m.

Original music offered by Channa Seidenberg. This will be a beautiful silk marionette production not to be missed! Children and parents from the community are welcome! $2/child or $5/family

Dateline Wilton NH: Curtain Rising on New Season in New Hampshire

044191d056The Center for Anthroposophy once again is hosting two one-week sessions of Renewal Courses in June and July. Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of Renewal Courses, describes the atmosphere and major offerings of the summer session.

What is Renewal? It speaks to the urgency for people to come together to strengthen their lives by addressing their questions and needs. In the Renewal process they find joy, courage, and the building of capacities through one another. And they encounter many teachers and friends on the path! Renewal inspires life participation and courage in life by deepening work in Anthroposophy.

For over a decade we have been offering one-week courses each summer in a retreat-like atmosphere on the campus of High Mowing School in Southern New Hampshire. We offer both philosophical and hands-on courses––all with an artistic component––intended to rejuvenate participants through an immersion in a chosen field of anthroposophical study. All of these courses serve both personal and professional development. We attract a stellar faculty who are specialists in the practice of adult education, with the result that many of our participants return each year to take new classes. It’s always a great joy and inspiration for me when I see people returning and meeting up once again from year to year.  This will be our twelfth summer of offering Renewal Courses.

Each course is devoted to a particular subject or theme––some very practical, others more general––and for the entire week, participants focus on this topic through a combination of discussion and artistic practice. In other words, participants will choose one course and then remain with this subject throughout the week.  By delving into subject matter with the same group of people under the guidance of a seasoned instructor, our participants can experience the thrill of discovering ever deeper layers of meaning or content.  In their evaluation of these courses, many participants report a sense of transformation on a personal or professional level.

As an art therapist, I know the importance of healthy breathing. We take care to create a daily rhythm that is health-giving, renewing, and inspiring. Each morning, we gather as a community for singing and eurythmy before starting our classes.  We build in a generous mid-day break in which participants are served lunch from our famous kitchen, followed by another hour for resting, swimming in the pool, socializing and visiting our fully-stocked Waldorf art supply and bookstore.  The evenings are devoted to something different each night –– for instance musical recitals or lectures and other artistic events such as a cabaret and artistic soiree in which participants can share their talents. All of these special events are free for registered attendees and open to the local community.

Several special events are planned for this summer. We will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth this year. Virginia Sease is coming from the Goetheanum to give a course on Rudolf Steiner’s life and work and the path of modern initiation. We are also delighted that Eurythmy Spring Valley will present “Journey to Selfhood: Celebrating Rudolf Steiner through Eurythmy, Poetry and Music”, a special evening performance dedicated to Rudolf Steiner at the Pine Hill Auditorium on 5 July.

Aonghus Gordon and his master craftsmen from Ruskin Mill in England will return to enliven us with land-based artistic work.

Beyond these offerings we also have courses on Veilpainting with Iris Sullivan; Drawing with Van James; Preparing for our Times (the Problem of Evil) with Douglas Sloan; Exploring the Parzival Legend with Philip Thatcher; Making a Flow Form with Jennifer Greene; Making Artistic Projects for Children with Elizabeth Auer; Studying Healing Aspects of Waldorf Education with Christof Wiechert; and much, much more!

For a brochure and registration form for any of these courses, click here. For a detailed flyer describing the Ruskin Mill courses in the crafts, click here.

Dateline Wilton NH: New Cycle of High School Program in Full Swing

585a63bf97Each summer for the past 15 years, the Center for Anthroposophy has launched a new cycle of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). Here a brief preview of the subjects being featured this summer.

How many teachers does it take to constitute a full high school faculty? At the Center for Anthroposophy, we calculate that number as approaching 12 (give or take a few, depending on the size of the school): 3-4 for humanities including languages; 3-4 for sciences and math; 3-4 for arts and crafts, as well as athletics. These numbers do not include administrative and non-classroom positions such as college and guidance counselors, after-school coaches, and office staff.

Each summer, the Center’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) admits a new class of 10-15 students––in other words, the equivalent of a full high school faculty––ranging across the subject specializations. This year we are offering specialized “subject seminars” in English and Language, History and Social Science, Life Science and Earth Science, and Mathematics. (In other years we have also offered start-up courses in Arts and Art History, Physics, and Pedagogical Eurythmy.)

About a dozen teachers from across the country––from California and Colorado, Texas and Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as a scattering of New England states––have been accepted into the latest cycle of this month-long summer program, which includes seminars, artistic ateliers, and subject-specific workshops. The latest group of teachers––most of them already active in the classroom––will be studying alongside trainees in the Waldorf elementary teacher education program of Antioch University New England.  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 the inception of WHiSTEP in July 1996, some 117 students have completed this part-time three-summers program. Overall, around 65% of current and graduated students 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 coast and every region in between.

Dateline Great Barrington MA: Torin Finser on Initiative

511bc30485David Kennedy offers this brief review of Torin Finser’s new book entitled Initiative: A Rosicrucian Path of Leadership, published this month by SteinerBooks.

Every once in a while, you come across a book that you really can’t get out of your head. You might think it’s going to be about one thing, but it turns out to be something quite else. And it sticks with you.

Initiative: A Rosicrucian Path of Leadership is about the rewarding struggle to create meaningful initiative in our time. When we are alone and when we are with others, the impulse to create something new arises from a special place that is sometimes elusive, exhilarating, and threatening. Torin Finser explores different aspects of initiative in a way that speaks to the young, the young at heart, and the young in all of us.

The introduction, “Hear me God, I can’t take it anymore…,” sets the tone for weaving together the four chapters:

  • Living a Spiritual Life in an Age of Materialism
  • Freedom and Initiative
  • Innovation
  • Planetary Leadership

Torin Finser is General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America and a long-time Waldorf educator. Initiative, his latest book, explores ethical individualism in a way that is fully transformative. He combines diverse influences, including Peace Pilgrim, Paul Newman, and the Rosicrucians in a wake-up call for inspired leadership.

The chapter on Planetary Leadership is particularly interesting for groups. Torin introduced the notion of planetary styles in his earlier book Organizational Integrity. In Initiative, it’s re-introduced, incorporating further research. Ever wonder why:

  • (A) Some people cultivate their inner world with great energy, but generally have poor relationships with the outer world. They don’t relate to the moment, or the present, but tend to see everything in the context of the past. “Five years ago when we faced this situation…”
  • (B) With some people chaos is generally the rule. They always seem to be in motion, dancing through life as it were. They jump from one thing to another, and undertake a million and one different tasks that seem to come their way by chance. Whatever is happening at the moment is of the utmost importance.
  • (C) There are those that are wonderful mirrors of their environment. This is possible because they are inwardly passive and have few defenses against the outside world. Their virtue is an artistic inclination, while their vice is passivity.

(The planetary styles typified by these examples are listed at the end of this review.)

The chapter works so beautifully as a concluding chapter because it doesn’t present the planetary styles as labels for individuals, but as living and fluidly plastic images to help understand crucial roles in an organization. How many times have we heard, “I can’t believe she’s always like that!” Initiative helps to put that comment into an organizational context, so the sentence would end like this for a change: “… but I’d like to understand why she has that role in this organization or relationship.” There are concrete suggestions for ways of working with the planetary styles.

The appendices include Meditations for the Days of the Week, The Pentagram as a Tool for Self-Development, and an inspiring letter from the Anthroposophical Prison Outreach Program.

A timely book.

For more details about Initiative: A Rosicrucian Path of Leadership, click here.

[Answers: (A) Saturn, (B) Mercury, (C) Moon]

Reprinted with permission from: WaldorfToday.com

Dateline Freeport ME: Record Number of Foundation Studies Clusters

80c6a97d7eNext year the Center for Anthroposophy will be sponsoring a record 9 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; and at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley MA. 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 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.

Certificates are being handed out this month to participants who have just completed their two years of study in Washington DC.  Local organizers of the Washington cluster look forward to starting a new Year One cycle in the fall of 2012.

Participants at the cluster in Nashville were asked this spring to reflect on their experience of taking a first year of Foundation Studies. Here are a sampling of their comments:

“My experience with the Foundation Studies Program has been wonderful, enriching, and fulfilling.  My heart, soul, and mind feel nourished and inspired.  I am excited to pursue more training and to keep learning and growing from this point on all throughout my life.  I feel so grateful that my children are able to have such an incredible education that meets them in so many ways.”

“As a new student I had no expectations. It made me re-think, expand my mind, gather info, different perspectives, philosophies.  I felt at home and in my element.  I was mentally stimulated, challenged, impressed, encouraged, inspired.”

 “The topics covered––parenting and teaching using ideas outlined in Chapters 1 and 2 of Theosophy––were very helpful and practical, both personally and professionally.”

“DOING the exercises described in How to Know Higher Worlds was incredibly valuable!”

“I loved the way the instructor presented the material – requiring us to struggle with our own impressions, ideas, and with having to see relationships and connections on our own.  He fed us no fixed concepts and challenged us to sit with open questions.  I found it very inspiring.”

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 brichardson@centerforanthroposophy.org

Dateline Keene NH: Douglas Gerwin in Status Nascendi

ecc9eef070The Monadnock Waldorf High School, which is about to complete its first year with ninth and tenth grades, enjoys a special relationship with the Center’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). Fully half of its faculty are either WHiSTEP graduates––including Karl Schurman, chair of the high school––or currently enrolled students in the program. Douglas Gerwin, CfA Director and Chair of WHiSTEP, reports on teaching embryology at Monadnock.

Embryology as a main lesson lends itself to the discussion of many “hot topics”: stem cell research, cloning, hormone treatment, sexual development, sleep patterns, the effects of drugs, exercise and dieting, cycles of life and death –– to say nothing of the mystery of conception and birth.

It is therefore a special privilege to explore some of these questions with high school sophomores, who represent the newest generation of thinkers taking on these weighty contemporary topics. The most fundamental question, albeit unspoken, remains: “How will the decisions I make about the health of my own being affect the wellbeing of those for whom I may one day become responsible?” But the answers to this question grow ever more complex as we learn more and more how the health––physical, psychological, and spiritual––of young parents can exert life-long influence upon the unfolding of their offspring.

Consider only a recent survey showing that one in five young adults in their late teens and early twenties is suffering from high blood pressure, a condition usually reserved for much older populations. This finding is linked to the fact that up to 65% of these young people are overweight, given that obesity is directly connected to high blood pressure. Since elevated readings in blood pressure, once they become chronic, are usually due to factors that cannot be reversed, the importance of healthy practices in youth cannot be overestimated.

Paradoxically, many teenagers, especially girls, devote more attention to the opposite condition: being, or becoming skinny. Here, too, evidence is showing the long-term effects of poor or inadequate diet on the generation that follows.

Fortunately, in Waldorf schools the levels of childhood obesity seem to be considerably lower than in the general population, but the issue is still urgent given that the influences leading to weight gain––sugar in the diet, media in the place of movement, nervous stimulation at the cost of metabolic activity––are becoming ever more pervasive in our culture.

From initial considerations of health and hygiene such as these, the main lesson on embryology moves on to the study of the endocrine system––including the play of hormonal opposites of drowsiness and insomnia, hyperactivity and inertia, adrenal flight or fight responses––and the mysteries of fertilization, embryonic cell division, and fetal development.

At Monadnock, as is the case in many Waldorf high schools, embryology is taught at the end of tenth grade, just as the students are entering the phase of “sweet 16”. It is a perfect time to gaze back on the sunset of childhood and look ahead to the dawn of adulthood. We begin each day with the recitation of a famous passage from “Intimations of Immortality” by William Wordsworth. “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting . . . .”

During the first week of this main lesson, homework assignments were curtailed by the fact that the entire high school––13 sophomores and 13 freshmen––was involved in putting on an adaptation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in a local town theater in Keene NH. In short, it was a riotous production of bold and at times bawdy drama fully in the spirit of Chaucer’s masterpiece.  For those familiar with the themes explored in this celebrated epic, the connections between this play and the lessons of embryology will be obvious!

Dateline Wilton NH: News from the Color Shop & More

Read about how the Center’s Color Shop & More is contributing to the annual street festival celebrating the town of Wilton. 

In concert with other businesses on Main Street Wilton, the Color Shop & More will be taking part in the annual street festival on Saturday 4 June.  The store will place tables outside the shop on the sidewalk to offer face painting along with a display of sales items.

The Color Shop, which combines high quality arts supplies with a selection of books, Waldorf toys, and fine gifts, is now open on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as weekdays from Tuesday through Friday.

Store hours:Tuesday – Friday11:00 a.m. –– 5:00 p.m.
Saturday    10:00 a.m. –– 4:30 p.m.
Sunday10:00 a.m. –– 2:00 p.m.

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