With this issue we mark various moments of transition, including the completion of several long-term programs and projects and the advent of some new ones. Familiar and well-beloved faces take their leave; others–including new faculty members and new cohorts of prospective and practicing Waldorf teachers–are joining us.
A new chapter opens in the long and colorful history of the Center for Anthroposophy. We invite you to page through our living biography.
Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy
Dateline Wilton, NH: AWSNA Membership Renewed
Working with new membership guidelines, the Center for Anthroposophy and its affiliated Waldorf program at Antioch University New England has been approved for another seven-year term as a full member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
After a year-long Self Study and peer review by an AWSNA Visiting Committee, the Center for Anthroposophy, along with its affiliated Waldorf Teacher Education Program in the Education Department of Antioch University New England, has been approved for another maximum seven-year term as a full member of AWSNA.
Renewed membership was granted by AWSNA’s Accreditation and Review Committee (ARC), which accepted CfA’s self study and the recommendations of the Visiting Committee without setting any conditions. Formal presentation of renewed membership will be made next June in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of AWSNA delegates.
The renewal of CfA’s membership caps a newly formed two-year process, which began with the design and execution of a self study under the guidance of Signe Motter, former president of CfA’s board of trustees. Then followed a visit last July to CfA’s summer programs of a Visiting Committee appointed by AWSNA and comprised of three senior teachers: Ken Smith (Director of the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training), Frances Vig (from the Core Group of Chicago’s Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program), and Peter Lehman (grades school teacher at the Kimberton Waldorf School). The team spent five days on the summer campus of the CfA and Antioch programs visiting classes, meeting trustees, interviewing students, and gathering data and impressions from faculty and staff. The Committee’s report was reviewed by the Associations’s Teacher Education Delegates (TED) Circle in the fall of 2017 before being sent to the ARC for final adoption early in the New Year.
CfA was in effect the first AWSNA institute to “test drive” this new system of membership review, which has been long in the making and is still undergoing further refinement in the TED Circle and the Leadership Council of the Association.
Dateline Santa Barbara, CA: Speech on the Beach
Undeterred by fires or floods, the first cohort of CfA’s ground-breaking “Building Bridges” met in Santa Barbara over the winter vacation to resume their studies. Here is how they overcame natural disaster.
During the first week of January, Debbie Spitulnik, Karine Munk Finser, and Torin Finser from the Waldorf Teacher Education Program at Antioch University New England taught several courses to our Alaskan cohort on the Antioch Santa Barbara campus. These students completed the CfA-sponsored Building Bridges Program in Anchorage, Alaska last year and are now enrolled in Antioch’s Waldorf Teacher Education Program. We had an intensive week of speech, story-telling, early grade curriculum work, evolving consciousness, today’s child, and–as evident in the accompanying visuals–much painting!
We arrived on the heels of numerous fires in the area and departed amid equally frightening mud slides. Yet in the seven intensive days we had together, the weather was warm and lunches were served on the rooftop terrace of Antioch’s beautiful campus building. In between classes Torin was able to meet with the leadership of the Santa Barbara Waldorf School and also take part in a welcome back picnic for their parents in a nearby park.
To our dismay, the Antioch campus was locked at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, resulting in an hour of panic about where to teach that day. In the end, Debbie improvised on the spot, taking the entire group to the beach for their speech class — most likely a first for an Antioch course! (The building opened in time for the rest of our classes that day.)
Participants in the Alaskan cohort will return to Santa Barbara in March for another intensive session on curriculum, eurythmy, and language arts with Alison Henry and Carla Comey, who are also faculty members of Antioch’sWaldorf Program in Keene, NH. Then these students will join the Antioch Waldorf summer program in Wilton for a closing session.
For next year we are considering invitations for a Building Bridges year to be offered at the Golden Valley Orchard School in Orangevale, CA. We are also exploring cluster interest in both Chapel Hill and Asheville NC, possibly for both Foundation Studies and Building Bridges. Stay tuned!
Dateline Wilton, NH: Preview of Renewal Course Listings for Summer 2018
The new line-up for this summer’s Renewal program is out! Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of this series of week-long courses, invites you to sign up early for this popular program.
The time has come when your sense of self must be so trained that you can penetrate into the depths of your soul, so that your true self can find within itself the connection and bond with the Kingdoms of Heaven! Change your ways! Know that you are able to kindle Heavenly Warmth within yourself!
— Rudolf Steiner speaking at St John’s Festival, Heidelberg 1910
With the approach of the St. John’s mid-summer festival, Rudolf Steiner’s invocation calls us to become sufficiently free and independent inwardly to connect to the source of our own creativity. “Heavenly Warmth” is a way of characterizing the benevolence of soul longing to offer deeds of goodness that can change the world.
In this, our nineteenth year of Renewal Courses, we are dedicated to deepening the joy of discovery while celebrating the importance of the human encounter. This year, for the first time, we offer the possibility of artists coming for two weeks of artistic instruction and color immersion. Thanks to Charles Andrade and others, we are starting a multi-summer artistic schooling which will continue into the future.
Christof Wiechert has dedicated his life to supporting facilitators of the “Art of the Child Study”. After many years of teaching at Renewal, Christof will be with us once again this year to lead this study, as well as to offer his popular short morning lectures to all teachers. We hope that many schools will take advantage of this unique opportunity to send their faculty members to this seminal course.
Teachers who come to our “grade specific courses” during the first week will enjoy David Gable and his lively recorder and singing, Roberto Trostli and his rich science classes for the upper elementary grades, and Julianna Lichatz and her energizing movement classes. Elizabeth Auer, a multi-talented artist and experienced class teacher, will bring painting, drawing, or clay to some of the grade specific classes as well. Jeff Tunkey, Janet Langley, Ian Chittenden, Scott Springer, Daniel and Colleen O’Connors all will be offering courses that address important classroom needs specific to different grades.
New this year: Special scholarships will be available to participants taking a course during the first week who wish to stay for a second week.
In this second week we welcome Lakshmi Prasanna,M.D., Karsten Massei, and Brian Gray as new colleagues to our faculty circle. Signe Motter and the faculty of the Center for Anthroposophy (CfA) will bring a new introductory course to support Early Childhood assistants, parents, and others preparing to become Waldorf teachers. In both weeks, Cezary Ciaglo will lead exercises in eurythmy. We will also welcome Meg Chittenden to carry the singing during the second week. Connie Helms will bring helpful movement games to several of the classes. During the first week we will share a social evening to celebrate our community: please bring your talents! Cezary will bring his famous Magic Show. Thanks to our own Christopher Sblendorio, there will be a New England Contra Dance. Roberto Trostli will offer a mid-week lecture. During the second week, Lakshmi Prasanna will speak to the whole community. Following other artistic evening events, we will end the season with Glen Williamson and Laurie Portocarrero offering “The Refugee’s Tale”.
We are already looking forward eagerly to welcoming you–or welcoming you back–to our glorious summer campus on Abbot Hill in sunny Southeastern New Hampshire. Please sign up early for a dorm room or to enjoy peaceful community lodging.
Until we meet again, with warmest wishes,
Dateline Freeport, ME: Barbara Richardson Stepping Back, Reaching Out
Starting this year, Barbara Richardson relinquishes her role as CfA’s Coordinator of Foundation Studies in order to take on new projects promoting eurythmy worldwide.
After 12 years at CfA, Barbara Richardson has decided to step back as our dedicated Coordinator for Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts. During her time at CfA, Barbara more than doubled the number of foundation studies clusters dotted across the North American continent, stretching from the flinty Northeast to the sandy Southwest, from the sweltering coasts of Florida to the frigid fields of Alaska.
As Coordinator of these far-flung clusters, Barbara experimented with a variety of different formats and approaches to the study of Rudolf Steiner’s “basic books”, custom-designing on-site courses to fit the specific needs of each community that had requested foundation studies. And to each cluster in this program she brought her popular exercises of “eurythmy in the workplace” along with deep insights into anthroposophy and a genial Mid-Western warmth for the human encounter.
Any eurythmist will tell you that stepping back is accompanied by a comparable stepping forward, which is exactly what Barbara has done, starting in the New Year, promoting a wider appreciation of eurythmy through professional touring companies, adult workshops, and practical courses. Though we will greatly miss her regular presence in our monthly Executive Committee meetings, we can take comfort in the fact that she will continue to teach in the Freeport, ME cluster of our Foundation Studies program through the remaining winter months.
As part of an administrative re-organization, Torin Finser, co-founder of CfA and the original architect of our foundation studies, will assume some of the responsibilities for this program while we undertake a review of the various pre-teacher training programs that CfA offers to prospective teachers and others interested in exploring the deeper streams that underlie Waldorf education. Already several new clusters are in process of forming for the coming year. Stay tuned to our website for updates.
Dateline San Rafael, CA: The Prodigal Son and the Pedagogical Law
For the third time, representatives of Waldorf teacher education institutes from across North America converged on California over the Christmas vacation to deepen their work in preparing the next generation of Waldorf teachers. Holly Koteen-Soulé, who attended this three-day event on behalf of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), offers a succinct summary of this event.
The New Year began for Waldorf teacher educators from AWSNA and WECAN member institutes with a colloquium during the final three days of the Holy Nights, organized by AWSNA’s Teacher Education Delegates Circle and hosted by the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and the Marin Waldorf School. Florian Osswald, Co-Leader of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum, joined around 40 teacher educators from North America to work with the theme of “The Pedagogical Law in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.”
The main working session of each day began with some leading thoughts from Florian and work in small groups. Florian began by suggesting that we don’t know what adult education is in the Consciousness Soul Age because it arises only in conversation with others. Plenty of lively conversation ensued!
Each day the groups wrestled with a different question. The three questions were: 1) What skills and capacities are essential for a Waldorf teacher? 2) How does the teacher educator know when a teacher-in-training is ready to start teaching? 3) How do teacher educators learn and develop themselves? Florian, who has been collecting responses to these questions from teacher educators on every continent, will be working with a group in Dornach to synthesize the responses into a coherent document that will then be circulated again for further input.
These working sessions were beautifully prepared with singing and an in-depth study of one of Rembrandt van Rijn’s last paintings, “The Prodigal Son”, led by Nettie Fabrie from Sound Circle Center (Seattle, WA). There were also artistic workshops in eurythmy, sculpture, and drawing during the afternoons to further deepen our experience of this theme. Short presentations of research rounded out the day. There was a musical offering one evening and a Three King’s pageant on January 5th.
Conversation and collaboration were the overriding gestures of the colloquium–the third of its kind following previous gatherings in 2011 and 2013–and the three questions brought by Florian seemed like seeds ready to sprout and take root in our various trainings during the coming year and beyond.
Dateline Punxsutawney, PA: The Significance of Groundhog Day for High Schools
For some, this day offers a clue each year as to the length of winter. But for applicants to the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program, this date represents quite another landmark. Douglas Gerwin, as chair of this program, explains.
According to a medieval legend imported by German settlers to this town in Western Pennsylvania, the presence or absence of sunshine on February 2nd foretells the length of winter remaining. In the American version of this ritual, if the groundhog pops out of its hole and sees its shadow on this day, the remainder of winter will be long and cold; if it does not, winter is on its way out. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, a sunny day on February 2nd means lingering cold, according to this tradition; a cloudy day presages an early spring.
In the Christian calendar, this date is known as Candlemas, a lesser-known holiday celebrated 40 days after Christmas that marks the exact mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.
For high school teachers aspiring to work–or perhaps already working–in a Waldorf school, this date falls exactly one day after the formal deadline for applying to the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) sponsored each July by the Center for Anthroposophy. This year will mark the 23rd cycle of this three-summers program, which offers specialized courses for teachers in Arts and Art History, English Language and Literature, History and Social Science, Life Sciences and Earth Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Studies, Physics and Chemistry, and Pedagogical Eurythmy.
Candidates for this program–which this year starts on Sunday 1 July and runs through Saturday 28 July–can apply online or by contacting the Center at (603) 654-2566. Detailed syllabi of these specialized courses for high school teachers are also available at this site. Applications are processed during the months of February and March, regardless of the weather.
Dateline Keene, NH: Masters in Waldorf Education for High School Teachers
As part of their long-standing collaboration, the Center for Anthroposophy and the Waldorf Program at Antioch University New England have launched the option of a fully-accredited Masters degree for Waldorf high school teachers. Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, reports on this recently introduced option.
Starting again this summer, students enrolling in the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP) sponsored by the Center for Anthroposophy (CfA) will be able to transfer into an Antioch graduate school stream leading to a fully-accredited Masters degree as well as a CfA certificate in Waldorf high school teaching.
Under this arrangement, trainees start out in CfA’s high school program, then apply to transfer after the first summer into Antioch’s “Summer Sequence” program in Waldorf education. Two more summer intensives then follow, with a blend of courses offered by the Waldorf program at Antioch as well as subject-specific seminars offered by CfA in one or more of six specializations in arts/art history, biology/earth science, English language/literature, history/social studies, math/computer studies, or physics/chemistry.
In addition to these three summer sessions–all held on the adjacent campuses of two Waldorf schools in Wilton, New Hampshire–students accepted into this program take an online course and undergo a 12-15-week internship in a Waldorf school as part of this program. Students who have successfully completed these courses are eligible to apply to prepare and defend a supervised Masters thesis on a topic related to Waldorf high school teaching.
Prospective and practicing high school teachers interested in this option should contact CfA for further details.