Robyn Brown, a Waldorf Teacher for 33 years and counting, first led a class from Kindergarten through to eighth grade, then began working with Sunny Baldwin at Somerset School, a school based on Rudolf Steiner’s Curative Education work. Thereafter she started her own program, Mulberry Classroom. Curative Education has been her focus for the last 23 years. She offers a Curative Education Training Program as well as a newer course, “Practical Applications of Anthroposophical Education. In addition, Robyn leads workshops, mentors schools, and helps teachers and parents around the world. She is the author of A Practical Guide to Curative Education.
From its very beginning, Curative Education was an integral part of the original Waldorf school in Stuttgart. It was Rudolf Steiner’s wish that each individual teacher as well as the community as a whole be committed to working at a high level in understanding and supporting each child. What may seem to us today to be but a reminiscence from the early twentieth century is possibly an educational element of the future.
–– Peter Selg
When you practice self-knowledge you can behold what the starry heaven bestowed upon you between death and a new birth – the best and finest powers of your soul.
–– Rudolf Steiner
Biography and Social Art creates opportunities for us to explore and witness our lives within community. Through individual reflective work we begin to open our life stories through imagination, writing, life charting, and a variety of artistic expressions. In the safe container of small group sharing, and in larger conversations, we come, as Steiner says, to find true interest in ourselves and the other. We open to greater clarity concerning our unique destiny. Our time together has the capacity to change the way we see and connect to all those in our lives––our children, students, parents, colleagues––for it gives us a larger framework in which to behold the development of the whole human being.
The longing to understand our lives is a part of the human experience. Biography work gives us new understandings through the power of sharing and listening to life stories in a space of mutual trust. In addition to the social artistry of speaking and listening consciously together, we have the images and thoughts that Rudolf Steiner gave regarding the Life Cycles of the human being. Both the seven-year phases and 21-year cycles of life bear archetypal missions for the body, soul, and spirit. Seeing our experiences in these contexts reveals our life’s themes and patterns, connecting us to the evolution not only of our own life but of all humanity and thereby providing the foundations for courageous service in the world. We learn to bear witness to ourselves and those around us through sacred encounter.
Many wise ones over the centuries have likened life’s journey to a pilgrimage. Each step may be taken boldly or with doubt and trepidation or with hope, but oftentimes with “unknowing”. In venturing to “start close in”, as David Whyte puts it, we will create a foundation of love upon which to take the next step together.
Teachers and parents are receiving ever more children with difficulties that at first may be hard to understand. Answers to many of these questions are to be found in Curative Education. Over the years we have lost our connection to this work and so it is no longer a familiar approach to teaching, and yet Rudolf Steiner intended the Curative Course to be a deepening of Waldorf education.
The purpose of this course is to bring clear, hands-on, practical, and accessible pictures so that we can begin to use Steiner’s work effectively with all the children in our care. We will start by working with observation and experience, discovering how judgment stands as a contrast to inner activity. In our time together, we will explore the six Curative Polarities and how they affect the conditions of the twelve senses so that we can build up a new living imagination and a deeper understanding of the child’s inner condition. We will conclude with suggestions that Rudolf Steiner provided to help children work through their obstacles and thereby truly heal.
Each day will begin with what Rudolf Steiner referred to as “Therapeutic Gymnastics” –– so participants should come prepared to move! They should observe the walk of a child, memorize it, and be prepared to replicate it during our class.
This course fulfills the prerequisite for the Foundation Year in Curative Education.