DouglasFor some, the trick was a treat, for others a major disruption of their lives.

A surprise early snowstorm on the weekend of Hallowe’en dumped a soggy white blanket of two feet and more on much of New England, bringing down leafy trees, knocking out power lines, and interrupting services for millions of households. Many towns sent out urgent robo-call messages to their residents, canceling Hallowe’en trick or treating because roads were impassable and mighty tree limbs were trapped overhead in sagging power lines. Schools in the region were closed for several days––for some this was a treat, of sorts––while crews worked night and day to clear roads and restore electricity.

Fortunately, light and heat were restored at the central offices of the Center for Anthroposophy after only one business day, which means we can bring you the Autumn 2011 issue of our online newsletter Center & Periphery on schedule (though some of our colleagues in the surrounding periphery are still lacking basic services).

Catch up on news of our venerable Georg Locher, listen in on the start-up of new Foundation Studies clusters stretching from Maine to Georgia, find out where our most recent high school graduates are working, and get a sneak preview of next summer’s Renewal Courses. Scroll down the page (or click on the items listed in the table of contents to the right) and you will find some extra treats, too.

Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy

In this Issue

Dateline Forest Row, GB: Update on Georg Locher

a44c064079During her recent trip to Europe, Karine Munk Finser and her family paid a visit to Georg Locher at his home in Forest Row, England. She reports here on her conversations with Georg and his remarkable recovery.

In the last issue of our newsletter, we reported on “Life without Georg” during our summer Renewal Courses and Waldorf teacher training programs in Wilton, New Hampshire. Georg was unable to teach in these programs because he was recovering from a stroke suffered last May. Torin and I had the privilege of visiting Georg and his wife Angela in August at their beautiful home in Forest Row where they have lived for several decades.

We arrived in the evening and great was the relief to see our dear friend and colleague looking very much himself––albeit slightly slimmer––with the same warm voice, the same bright eyes, and of course the same largeness of soul.

d41bb59711We spent several days with the Lochers, enjoying moments of far-reaching conversation and memorable stories.  Several hours of our visit were spent around a bountiful kitchen table, others on the stone porch surrounded by flowers and a view over Angela’s lovingly tended garden. Georg offered a guided tour of paintings displayed throughout the house –– each with its own story. One could feel: “Here is Beauty everywhere present, the artistic is the transformative element!”

As he is known to do in his seminars and workshops, Georg enriched our conversations with words of wisdom and gentle wit. He described, for instance, the balance between “coming forth” and “holding back” needed in the practice of teaching or leadership. The former may have the gesture of “avalanche”, especially in moments when silence and quiet watchfulness are required. We spoke about the extremes that face us in life and of the divine mercy that softens the edges; how human beings can help one another finish the stories that we may begin but not manage to end properly. Through loving deeds of responsibility towards one another, we can help carry one another’s impulses even beyond the limits of time and space.

More than ever, the broad gesture of Georg’s being stood before me. He points to the wide peaceful middle place in the soul where extremes find their balance. Whenever we live too much in the polarities––swinging from active to passive, from over-active to exhausted––Georg restores the middle by his sheer presence, by his great strength of soul and gentle regard.

We remain hopeful that Georg will be able to rejoin us soon in some capacity, at least during the Center’s annual Renewal Courses he helped to found over a decade ago.

Dateline Wilton, NH: New Line-up for Renewal Courses in 2012

2816e4456dSeveral new presenters will be joining the roster of faculty during the next round of week-long Renewal Courses. Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of Renewal Courses, outlines prospects for a busy and stellar Summer 2012.

Preparations for our 13th year of Renewal Courses in Wilton, New Hampshire are well underway. Here is a sneak preview of the line-up for June and July 2012.  More courses will be announced soon, so please check in with us often on our website!

Preliminary listings:

Week I: June 24th – June 29th

  • Hans-Broder von Laue, MD – “Cancer: The Living Forces and the Soul Experiences near the Threshhold”
  • Christof Wiechert – The Art of Child Study
  • Christopher Bamford – The Sacred Heart of Abraham
  • Craig Giddens and Debbie Spitulnik – Pedagogical Speech
  • Eleanor Winship – Experiencing Music as a Path to the Spirit through Singing and Eurythmy
  • Torin Finser – In-Between: Building Relationships for a Healthy Waldorf School Administration
  • Leonore Russell and Carla Comey – Eurythmy AWSNA Mentoring Course
  • Lorey Johnson and Kati Manning  – World Languages
  • Iris Sullivan – Pure Colors

b78569552dWeek II: July 1st- July 6th

  • Dennis Klocek – Body, Soul, and Spirit: Dialogues with the Divine
  • Gunther Hauk – Honeybees in Crisis: Our Evolving Relationship with the Animal Kingdom
  • Regine Kurek and Linda Larson – Picture Your Life: Exploring Biography through Eurythmy and the Arts
  • Laurie Clark and Rena Osmer – Healing Gestures: Renewing Forces for the Early Childhood Teacher, Health-Giving Opportunities for the Young Child
  • Aonghus Gordon and his Master Craftsmen – from Ruskin Mill
  • Jamie York – Projective Geometry

Beyond this array of courses, there will be evenings of lectures and music, as well as our usual artistic soirees.

Consult the Center’s website (www.centerforanthroposophy.org) for updates on these lists and full course descriptions. Early registration is strongly recommended since our beautiful site on the campus of High Mowing School in Southeastern New Hampshire has a limited number of single and double rooms and we are expecting another busy season.

We look forward to seeing you––many as returning participants––next summer!

Dateline Wilton, NH: An Iris Study –– by Iris Sullivan

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A brief photo study of a divine flower by a superb artist.

Irises –– rainbow messengers of the gods. In the human eye, they ring the dark pupil through which may flow the light of the soul. In nature their blooming and fading remind us of the comings and goings of the spirit. Iris Sullivan, a regular art instructor during our summer Renewal Courses, offers this study in the phases of a blossoming iris.

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Dateline New York, NY: When Waldorf Education Made the Front Page

5cb7eb11f1A front-page article last month in the Sunday New York Times on technology––and its absence––in Waldorf schools generated a flurry of responses. Here is one submitted by Douglas Gerwin as Director of the Center for Anthroposophy and Co-Director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education:

[RE: “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute” by Matt Richtel in the Sunday’s New York Times of 23 October 2011]

Dear Editor:

Hot-housing: when the pace of a growing organism is artificially accelerated for reasons unrelated to its healthy development.

We know the effects on a plant of hot-housing: it will grow more swiftly––perhaps cheaper, too, because more efficiently––but typically at the cost of nutritional value and resilience to disease.

In his best-selling book The Hurried Child, David Elkind documents the effects on children who are intellectually and socially hot-housed. To be sure, children love to play dress-up and imagine they are sophisticated adults, but if they are actually catapulted into an adult world, their outer appearance of maturity can all too easily be accompanied by deep-seated inner immaturity and vulnerability.

The same applies when children become prematurely engaged with sophisticated technology –– with consequences that are becoming apparent through long-term empirical studies of their physical health and intellectual stamina.

Herein lies the genius of a Waldorf approach to education, in which children are allowed to grow as healthy human beings, free of the effects of electronic media and other kinds of technology during their formative years.

Waldorf schools make it possible for children to be educated, rather than be hot-housed.

Dateline Wilton, NH: CfA’s First Annual Report Released

8d56b5ff40For the first time, the Center for Anthroposophy has published an illustrated annual report. A brief summary of this report is sketched here.

Each year since its founding, the Center for Anthroposophy has prepared a summary of its activities for the Association of Waldorf School of North America (AWSNA). This year, for the first time, the Center has prepared a more formal––and handsomely illustrated––annual report summarizing the activities of the past year, including a string of seven “firsts”. Among them, the Center:

  • Formed a new Board of Trustees and Pedagogical Advisory Council
  • Unveiled a newly renovated reading room for the Cadmus Library in the basement of our home building in Wilton NH
  • Sponsored our first public performance of eurythmy, presented by the Eurythmy School of Spring Valley NY
  • Launched Center & Periphery, a quarterly online newsletter (which you are reading at this moment)
  • Established a record number of school-based clusters around the country of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts
  • Attracted record enrollment for our summertime one-week Renewal Courses
  • Received a record number of gifts to the Annual Giving campaign –– a third of them from first-time donors

The report also depicts details of income and expenditure for last year, demonstrating that the Center was able to balance its budget despite ongoing constraints in the world economy.

Click here for a copy of the Center’s 2010-2011 Annual Report.

Dateline Freeport, ME: A Necklace of Foundation Studies from Maine to Georgia

A record nine clusters are undertaking Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts along the Atlantic Coast and inland this fall. Barbara Richardson, Coordinator of Foundation Studies, provided this update on the current season of cluster activity. 

In past years, the Center for Anthroposophy has sponsored on average 4-6 clusters of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, usually hosted by Waldorf schools across the country from Maine to California. This fall, we ventured for the first time into the Deep South with our first ever program in Atlanta GA, jointly co-sponsored by the Academe of the Oaks and the Waldorf School of Atlanta. This is one of a record-breaking nine clusters in Foundation Studies that the Center is organizing this year.

New clusters have also started 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, resumed its Year One program in September.

Participants in Asheville NC picked up their two-year program this autumn with Eleanor Winship for a weekend of music and Douglas Gerwin, who led a full-day workshop on “Gestures of Embryology”. This particular cluster in Foundation Studies is connected with two school initiatives that have come together to open a new Waldorf school.

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 NC and Washington DC. Stay tuned to these pages––or to our website––for details.

Editor’s note: We apologize to the participants of the lively cluster in Nashville for omitting them from the list of foundation studies clusters in the Center’s Annual Report for 2010-2011. Thank you for spotting this oversight!

Dateline Atlanta, GA: New Foundation Studies Launched in the Southeast

For the first time, the Center for Anthroposophy is offering a cluster of Foundation Studies in Georgia. Angela Foster, local coordinator of this new group, reports.

We are a group of 20 parents, grandparents,  faculty, and staff from two Waldorf schools––Academe of the Oaks and the Waldorf School of Atlanta––who have joined with local community members and home-schooling parents to study the basic books of Rudolf Steiner and experience interconnectedness through the arts. We meet two Saturday mornings a month at Academe of the Oaks.

Our opening weekend in August was led by Rick Spaulding, a seasoned anthroposophist and a veteran teacher of 30+ years. He shared his research of Ralph Waldo Emerson and offered a picture of American history that highlighted how Emerson can be viewed as a bridge to American anthroposophy.

Sara Walsh, administrator of the Atlanta Waldorf school, is now guiding us through How to Know Higher Worlds, one of Steiner’s four basic texts. We are coming together as a group to find out how and why we as individuals have been drawn to this path of Waldorf education and anthroposophy. Sara has led us in artistic observations of the natural world; we are finding artistic talents that have lain dormant for many years of adult life. We are also finding community in the eurythmy circle, led by Laira Covert. What a joy to experience human speech made visible!

This fall will also bring us a weekend seminar led by Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy. Then in 2012 we will have blocks of study led by two of our local school’s respected teachers. Jim McClurkin will help us delve into Geometric Arts, sure to be exciting and invigorating –– even to those of us who are mathematically challenged. And Eleanor Winship will share with us the gift of music and illuminate how music can be considered one of the most direct paths to spirit.

It is not too late to join this cluster. It is an investment of time and money, but both will be well spent. If you are ready to take your first- or next- step in the study of anthroposophy, please contact me at afoster@thirdbody.net for details. I can put you in touch some of the participants who can share with you their experience of the course. As one students said at our last meeting, “I knew it would be great, but it is even better than I imagined.”

Dateline Freeport, ME: Planetary Haikus

The Foundation Studies cluster at the Merriconeag Waldorf School has been working in eurythmy with the gestures of the planets. After exploring the gestures of Moon, Mercury, and Saturn, participants jotted down their impressions.  Kristin Agudelo, a member of this cluster who is also part of the Center’s high school teacher training program, offered these three haiku-like poems.

Moonrise embodied.
The purple robe of sky
gives way to silver majesty.

Quick! Do not let this moment
escape you.
Seize it
and run with all your might.

With solemn whiskers
Old Saturn sits rocking
By his ancient crackling fire.

Dateline Wilton NH: Where Are They Now?

13cb11dcccAll of the 11 students who graduated this summer from CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) are currently active in education. Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center and Chair of WHiSTEP, briefly outlines where they are active.

Many teachers in the Class of 2011 were already working in schools even before they completed their training this summer in the Center’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP). With the beginning of this school year, they are teaching in schools stretching from Southern and Northern California to Georgia and New England:

  • Michelle Boynton: teaching physics and math at the Waldorf School of San Diego
  • Ellen Cimino: teaching English and history at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula (in Silicon Valley)
  • Zoe Gressel: teaching Spanish at the San Francisco Waldorf School
  • Laura Guinan: teaching arts and art history at the Emerson Waldorf School (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • Laura Kirchner: completing her teaching of arts in the Baltimore public school system
  • Lisa Krogh: teaching life sciences and math at the Emerson Waldorf School (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • Kim McCormick: teaching life sciences and math at High Mowing School (Wilton, NH)
  • Jennifer Rathner: active in Waldorf education in Sacramento, CA
  • Ben Roosevelt: teaching English and history at Academe of the Oaks (Decatur, GA)
  • Katie Schwerin: active in Waldorf education in Keene, NH
  • Christine Whelan-Taylor: teaching science at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, NY.

Looking ahead to the summer of 2012, a new group of high school trainees is already forming, with specializations offered in

  • Arts and art history
  • English language and literature
  • History and social sciences
  • Life science and earth science
  • Mathematics and computer studies
  • Physics and chemistry
  • Pedagogical eurythmy

For details, contact Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, at douglasgerwin@earthlink.net