Renewal Courses 2023

Return to your classrooms inspired by new ideas to share and put into practice.

Registration begins February 1st

Welcome to Renewal 2023

This rejuvenating two-week professional development program offers a wide range of academic, artistic, and practical courses designed primarily to support independent and public Waldorf schools teachers, administrators, parents and board members, but open also to those seeking to enrich and deepen their lives through Anthroposophy.

Week I
Inspirations for Teaching and Leading June 25-30, 2023 (online)
Preparation for Grades 1-8 and Waldorf Leadership Development

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Week II
Deepening Connections July 2-7, 2023 (in-person)
Eleven wonderful courses to choose from!

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Weeks & Dates

Week I: Inspirations for Teaching and Leading June 25 –June 30 (online) $495

All online courses are live and interactive!
Participants can tune in from their chosen location ~

Inspirations for Teaching and Leading offers a week-long virtual retreat comprised of certificate-earning professional development courses in grades teaching and school leadership development. Online courses welcome participants to tune-in and be inspired from their own chosen summertime location! Our comprehensive online programming provides a healthy breathing rhythm between online and offline time, and includes daily singing, eurythmy, and engagement with the arts.

Daily Town Hall gatherings for Renewal participants will include singing with Meg O’Dell Chittenden, eurythmy with Leonore Russell, and thought-provoking conversations with Alison Henry, Angela Lindstrom, and Heather Scott on Answering the Call for Decolonization: Reflections on the Waldorf Curriculum, as well as lively discussions with Adrienne Patrick and Irene Richardson exploring Opportunities for Growth in Community and Curriculum.

Day 1~ Answering the Call for Decolonization: Recognizing the Narratives that Perpetuate

Day 2 ~ Answering the Call for Decolonization: Recognizing the Narratives that Disrupt

Day 3 ~ Answering the Call for Decolonization: Recognizing the Narratives that Heal

Day 4 ~ Opportunities for Growth in Community and Curriculum: Connecting with the Self ~ Heart

Day 5 ~ Opportunities for Growth in Community and Curriculum: Identity, Anthroposophy, and Community ~ Head

Day 6 ~ Opportunities for Growth in Community and Curriculum: Deepening Your Work ~ Hands

Please choose one course for the week ~
Admission to all Town Hall Conversations is free for all Week I participants!

Inviting your students to join the circle is the work of first grade. Uniting individual beings into one whole class and leading that class through their first experience of grade school, is the work of the first-grade teacher. The first-grade year is a magical time where the children will learn how to learn through stories, songs, verses, and play. The foundations of literacy and numeracy including the forms, sounds, and sequences of letter and number symbols are laid and the world of reading, writing, and arithmetic gently unfolds. For the teacher, this first year is about getting to know the students, where they come from, who they are now, and how they fit together as part of the class. As a first-grade teacher, you are opening the door to the children’s experience of academic learning while nurturing their development as free, spiritual human beings. 

This course will address the essential elements of teaching first grade.  Topics will include storytelling including suggestions for selecting stories; circle work, movement, and rhythmic activities; artistic work including guided drawing, form drawing, painting, and beeswax modeling. We will discuss how to foster a reverence for the natural world through nature studies, the festivals of the year, and seasonal crafts. Through the lens of the developing child, we will look at how the first-grade curriculum for language arts and math, as indicated by Rudolf Steiner, can be interpreted in a contemporary context for the children of today. We will talk about creating an inclusive classroom environment and lessons, as well as ways to promote a sense of belonging and community within the class. We will look at developing good classroom and work habits for the children including respect for themselves and others. We will also discuss the work of the teacher including suggestions for planning the year, block rotations, daily rhythms, parent meetings and communication, classroom management, and the growing need for supporting the children’s social and emotional health, and self-regulation skills.  

Participants will receive resources for every aspect of the year.  Examples of main lesson book pages, songs, poems, speech work, and activities will be provided as well as sample block plans, parent communications and a comprehensive resource reading list. Together, we will engage in drawing, painting, and beeswax modeling, as well as plenty of time for discussion and questions.  

Jennifer Persinotti is an experienced class teacher at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia. A Waldorf student herself as well as the child of a veteran Waldorf teacher, she has been in and around the world of Waldorf education her whole life. With an undergraduate degree in secondary education Earth and Space Science and Waldorf certofocate from Sunbridge Institute, she has found her calling as a Waldorf educator.  

Second grade students live between universal archetypes and the individuality streaming to them from the future. They remain immersed in the world of imagination while seeking to find use for their powers of will. The beautiful images living in the stories from first grade are now brought into sharper focus while being translated into fundamental capacities and skills. How can we build practical aspects of literacy and numeracy through these imaginative paths while supporting the healthy development of the child as a future citizen of our contemporary world?

The curriculum of the second grade meets this stage of development with fables, folk tales, and stories of individuals that address the inner questions faced by seven- and eight-year-olds. Animals exemplifying human qualities help to bring to life in a humorous way the serious choices that form character. Stories of great individuals from many cultures present examples of what people can achieve when they dedicate themselves to a purpose-driven life, often despite significant struggle.

In this course we will work together to form a living picture of the second grader, discuss methods and approaches, and learn practical activities and strategies. We will discuss each block through the year, share resource suggestions, and examine student work. Elements of movement, speech, form drawing, and painting will accompany practical strategies in language and math. Forming positive class routines, practicing effective classroom management, and working with parents will also be explored.

Michael Gannon has been teaching and learning from classes at Spring Garden Waldorf School for the past 21 years. Now on his third cycle through the grades, he is inspired by connecting ancient wisdom with imagination for the future. He received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hiram College before completing a Master’s degree through Antioch University New England. In addition to guiding his current class through the grades, he works as a remote mentor and consultant with other Waldorf schools and is a member of the core faculty of the Great Lakes Waldorf Institute teacher training program.

The third grade year is highlighted by the significant threshold of the nine-/ten-year change, a time when children have a dawning recognition of becoming separate from the world as they say “goodbye” to a younger stage of childhood and awaken to another phase. The children come into a new relationship with themselves with a shimmering of the "Ego" capacities that will unfold at the age of 21. The students are also coming into a more conscious connection with the earth as they are guided towards becoming a responsible steward of the land as well as within the community. To support the students during this transition, the adults carry a soul mood of reassurance and unwavering commitment while the Waldorf curriculum offers the children the rich nourishment necessary for this developmental shift. 

During the Renewal course, we will connect about the profundity of the third grade year with the foundational question of why each curriculum block study is important at this particular stage of development. In doing so, the questions of what specific stories, songs, verses, movement activities, and more can best be addressed. Examples of activities that complement the various blocks and seasonal festivities will be presented as will aspects of the daily morning lesson, including movement, the new element for the day, the review of the previous day's lesson, practice work related to the block, bookwork, and the story shared (from the Hebrew Bible, Native American traditions, and more). Since third grade children are transitioning from their home surroundings to the larger community in which they live and go to school, they are introduced to practical activities from the area, which can include farming, gardening, building, cooking, baking, and handwork along with fishing, boat building, and more. As a result, different project ideas — a weaving project, recipe book, garden journal — will be shared. In addition, resources will also be provided that can be helpful in your preparation process for the "verb" year of third grade along with the abundance of ideas and encouragement provided by the community of teacher participants who join together in this hearty week of renewal. There will also be experts who join us throughout the course to provide further in-depth study of curriculum aspects such as the meaning and purpose of the archetypal pictures of humanity as expressed in the Hebrew Bible stories, the role of a farmer and one's relationship to the natural world, specific movement considerations to support the children's learning efforts, and artistic exploration in drawing forms and color blending. 

Kris Ritz joined the Emerson Waldorf School community in 2008. Currently, she is enjoying the hearty and robust students of the upper grades and all that is unfolding in the various blocks of study presented. Given the school's re-envisioning of the 6 - 8 grades in the past year, Kris is grateful for the further collaborative work with Colleagues and the community-oriented parent body that provide the essentials for supporting the students' burgeoning sense of selves at these stages of development. Before returning to North Carolina, she was a class teacher at the Austin Waldorf School and spent a year at Plowshare Farm, an anthroposophical life-sharing community. Born in Upstate New York, Kris graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. During a career in advertising, she discovered Waldorf education, returned to school, and earned a Waldorf certificate and master’s degree from Antioch New England Graduate School. Whether supporting the efforts of the students in the classroom or working with third grade teachers as it relates to the curriculum and the developmental threshold of the 9-/10-year change, Kris is inspired by the questions, answers, and A-has! that unfold while working and learning together in community.

The rich curriculum of fourth grade offers many opportunities to excite and stimulate the growing hearts and minds of students of this age. We will explore the often humorous, conflict-filled world of Norse Mythology and the Vikings through story and artistic renderings. The animal kingdom is a favorite among these children, and we will explore our human attributes alongside the abilities and habits of the wide world of animals. 

Local geography gives us an opportunity to explore the physical and historical landscapes of our own neighborhood. Here we include the importance of Indigenous people and cultures, and how we can share their stories and life ways as part of geography. 

Fractions, reading comprehension, and English grammar are the building blocks needed for advancing academic skills, and we will discuss resources and lesson plans on these topics as well. Artistic inspirations and projects will be shared to support all of the fourth grade topics. We will discuss our relationships with parents, parent meetings, and student connections with us and with their peers. We will cover block rotations and projects––working with a wide range of intellectual needs and abilities––and how to manage the enormous task of being a teacher with economic use of precious time. 

We will discuss the children’s newly developing ways of applying thinking skills through comparing and contrasting, classification, finding patterns and transformation or metamorphosis between polarities. In addition,we will explore how the teacher can characterize subject matter before defining it and how we allow the children to use conclusions and judgments to arrive at clarified concepts.

Joshua Gartland was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was raised in the suburbs of New York City. He began dancing at the age of six, acting in high school and received a BFA in Theater Performance from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Joshua then moved to New York City where he worked on a number of productions with the Present Company Theatorium as well as a national children's tour with the Chamber Theater. He became a mime for a brief while and studied under Paul J. Curtis in the American Mime Theater. It was September 11th, 2001, however, that gave Joshua pause. Soon after, he shifted focus and began working at OM Yoga where he eventually became the senior manager of one of the largest yoga facilities in the country. Joshua is a trained and experienced Waldorf Teacher who has taught at both the Waldorf School of Garden City and the Waldorf School of Atlanta, the latter since 2009. Now in his 18th year of class teaching, Joshua lives in Decatur, GA with his wife, Sara, his daughters, Aurora and Eva, and his son, Oscar. 

Grade five, often referred to as the “Golden Age of Childhood”, presents teachers with wonderful challenges and opportunities for supporting the developing young human being. Fifth graders bring a new awareness to their learning. No longer grappling with the nine-year change, they have arrived at a place where balance, beauty, and grace can be found in the physical body, as well as in the mood of soul.

In this course, teachers will have the opportunity to prepare to meet both the challenges and the opportunities of this wonderful year! The curriculum is our most valued instrument for guiding the fifth-grader. Through it, the child moves into a period of transformation and climbs to the “summit” of middle childhood. Stories from different ancient cultures mirror child development, and the shift in the child’s consciousness is reflected in the deeds and actions of the people of these different cultures. Through this journey, the child feels “seen” and understood in soul, heart, and mind. With feet planted firmly on the earth, the child experiences the life of indigenous people through the ever-expanding panorama of geography. The natural world continues to unfold as the child becomes acquainted with the wonderful world of botany. In addition, the keen observation required of this study supports the budding “thinking” of the child and sets the stage for the phenomenological sciences of the upper elementary years. The learning of mathematics embraces decimals and the world of freehand geometry.

The online platform for this course has been designed to inspire as well as support teachers through “real time” discussion and artistic work, collaboration, sharing, and developing curriculum plans that meet the fifth grader. Participants will receive curriculum resources of  poetry, sample block outlines, and overviews, as well as a music/song audio (mp3). Artistic activities will be included, as well as an optional bi–weekly evening session to address specific questions or further topics of discussion.

Jen Kershaw earned a B.A. in Acting/Theater Performance from the University of South Florida, a M.S. in Education from Wheelock College, and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch University New England. In the theater world, she performed with Metro Theater Company from St. Louis, Missouri, performing and teaching workshops across the U.S. Jen has been teaching in classrooms for over twenty years, first as an artist educator, then as a middle school math and history teacher, and finally as a Waldorf class teacher. For the past three years, Jen has been a member of the adjunct faculty at Antioch University New England, where she has taught the Math Methods course for the Integrated Learning Program. Along with teaching, she has written and published middle school math curriculum both online and in print.

A class teacher at heart, Jen joined High Mowing School in 2011 as an elementary school teacher; with her special education degree, she has also served as Educational Support Coordinator for the past four years. In 2018, Jen completed the eight-year journey as a class teacher and is now headed into sixth grade with her second class.

Welcome to Grade 6, a year on the threshold of adolescence, capabilities, and the great changes of the 12 year old. Gone are the subtlety, grace, and balance of the Ancient Greeks. In their place is the indomitable desire to “conquer” the world, challenge reputed truths, and test both inner and outer limits. These tendencies are met by an equally robust and well-balanced curriculum. In history, the sixth grader is led out of the divine and mythical beginnings of the Roman Empire and Ancient China into the Middle Ages and the rise of Islam throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In the study of Latin American geography and the rise of the diverse Maya and Inca cultures, students expand their understanding of the world. In science, the new subjects of astronomy, mineralogy, and physics focus on the observation of phenomena in the world, providing a sense of balance and order for the twelve-year-old’s turbulent inner life. In math, the lawfulness, precision, and beauty of geometry are explored with the introduction of the compass, while the pragmatism of business math helps the twelve-year-old become––in the sense of economics––more worldly.

These subjects weave together to support the children’s emerging thinking capacities, while fostering in them a keen interest in the bigger picture of life’s mysteries. Each subject demands we consider possibilities for diversity, equity, and inclusion; we will use these lenses to expand our understanding of the 21st century twelve-year-olds and how to meet them in the healthiest ways. Time will be set aside to discuss the twelve-year change, medieval games, rites of passage projects and ceremonies, as well as class plays and field trip possibilities.

For a more in-depth opportunity to prepare for Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6th, 7th and 8th, please join here:

Week 2: Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6, 7, & 8 with Will Minehart

Anne Clair Goodman has been a grades faculty member at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh (WSP) since 2000, finds great joy and satisfaction working with students, colleagues, and parents to bring Waldorf education into the 21st Century. A graduate of Acorn Hill, Washington Waldorf School, Oberlin College (B.A. in History), and Antioch New England Graduate University (M.Ed. and Waldorf Teacher Certificate), Anne Clair is currently the class teacher for the Class of 2029 at WSP, and also serves as the Regional Leader for the Great Lakes Ontario region of AWSNA.

Seventh graders arrive with a bold show of personality and self-assurance, at least on the surface. They really don’t have much patience for school anymore. They believe they never learn anything anyway, and the teacher is so unfair! Woe unto the seventh grade teacher who is unprepared for displays of gross disrespect and indifference. However, the seventh grade teacher has the antidote to these attitudes, for the students can hardly contain their delight, bewilderment, and wonder at the deceptive simplicity of perspective drawing; the myriad examples of the Golden Mean all around us; the breath-taking masterpieces and biographies of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael; the audacity of Martin Luther; the marvels of chemistry and mechanics; the daring stories of exploration around the globe; and the unique geography and cultural expressions of people on distant continents. The teacher need only add a healthy dose of humor, and success will be assured!

In this course, we will consider strategies for approaching the daunting period of history covered in the seventh grade curriculum. Materials will include a sample block rotation along with suggestions for classroom activities. Presentations will include hands-on practice of perspective drawing and sacred geometry, as well as suggestions for homework, independent projects, and recommended books.

For a more indepth opportunity to prepare for Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6th, 7th and 8th, please join here: 

Week 2: Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6, 7, & 8 with Will Minehart

Alison Henry is a faculty member in the School of Education at Antioch University, teaching primarily in Antioch's Waldorf Teacher Education program. Alison is also a doctoral student in Antioch University's Graduate School of Leadership and Change. Her research interests include humility in leadership, collaborative decision making, child-centered and developmentally appropriate education, and understanding the narratives that reinforce, disrupt, or heal patterns of coloniality.

Alison has recently relocated to Gig Harbor, WA to be closer to her children and grandchildren, and she is deeply grateful for the privilege of traveling where her work calls her.

As 8th graders cross over the threshold into adolescence, leaving childhood firmly behind, they open up to the complexities of human society. With idealism in their hearts, they long to understand the world around them, and they strive to “be the change they wish to see.” And yet, we may find our 8th graders filled with nostalgia for the journey now behind them and happy to slow down and relive the many happy moments they shared on this educational voyage. 

In this course, we will explore how we can bring our students the truth and inspiration  they long for, especially in a time filled with economic, social, racial, and governmental turbulence. Many of our young people will have spent time during the last two years isolated from their peers, inundated by technology, and facing an unknown future. We will see how history and geography can illuminate their understanding of the way humanity and world social forms have evolved during the last 300 years. With biographies from times of revolution to an era when the world came together to combat genocide and fascism, our students experience the lives of heroes and moments of inspiration that were ignited in seemingly hopeless situations. To bring more diverse experiences to these topics, we will seek out stories from non-dominant voices in history and reflect on how our perceptions of diversity exist today.

In contrast to the uncertainty of our present world and the complexity of human relationships in society, we can also bring a sense of certainty through the study of geometry and physiology. The beauty and infinite wisdom of nature can be seen in both of these subjects, and we will look at how we can use them to instill a sense of belonging to the natural world and to the cosmos. Mathematics and language arts will be woven into main lesson blocks, and we will have time to share how these skills continue to unfold and prepare students for the more advanced learning they will encounter in high school.

Lastly, we will explore how Zoom, hybrid learning, asynchronous learning, and various Internet platforms have changed our approach to teaching and learning during the upper elementary school years. How do we stay true to the essence of our work as Waldorf pedagogues, while remaining present in a rapidly-changing world? I will share with you how I have adjusted the classic 8th grade curriculum to meet the needs of this new educational milieu and how we can all stay flexible and current in these difficult times.

For a more in-depth opportunity to prepare for Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6th, 7th and 8th, please join here:

Week 2: Teaching Physical Science in Grades 6, 7, & 8 with Will Minehart

Sarah Nelson graduated from Antioch New England Graduate School more than twenty years ago. Since then she has taught at Haleakala Waldorf School in Maui, Hawaii, where she worked with students from pre-K to Grade 8. In addition to class teaching, she served as Leader for the Southern California and Hawaii region on AWSNA’s Leadership Council for several years. In 2021, after completing an eight-year journey with her class in Maui, She returned to British Columbia and currently serves as a visiting teacher and mentor.

This one-week intensive, designed to inspire school leaders in Waldorf public and independent schools, is intended to cultivate the capacities needed for navigating the terrain of school leadership. Lectures by Torin Finser, presentations by guest presenters, and small group discussion work will take place daily, along with eurythmy exercises led by Leonore Russell. This course is open to school administrators, board members, faculty members,  and parents interested in learning more about how to serve in a leadership role; it  is a required course for those registered in the 2022-23 cohort of CfA’s Waldorf Administration and Leadership Development Program.

Topics include: 

Group Dynamics and Leadership Styles, Communication and Role Clarity in a Waldorf School, Conflict Resolution and Difficult Conversations, Leadership and Initiative, Learning to ‘Read’ the Biography of a Waldorf School, Navigating Pedagogical Leadership, The Founding and Early Years of a Public Waldorf School, and The Human Heart and Waldorf School Organizations.

Torin Finser, co-founder of the Center for Anthroposophy; Director of Waldorf Programs at Antioch University New England; post doctoral certification in Management Development, Harvard University; author of 14 books, including Organizational Integrity and Leadership Development.

Daily Town Hall Conversations for Renewal participants will include singing with Meg O’Dell Chittenden, eurythmy with Leonore Russell, and thought-provoking conversations with Alison Henry, Angela Zhaawanongkwe Lindstrom, and Heather Scott on Answering the Call for Decolonization: Reflections on the Waldorf Curriculum, as well as lively discussions with Adrienne Patrick and Irene Richardson exploring Opportunities for Growth in Community and Curriculum, Gender and Race.

Town Hall Conversations are free for Week I participants! They are also open to all those seeking to deepen their knowledge and expand their connections through anthroposophy, diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging. 

Click here to register for Town Hall [insert hyperlink]

Town Hall only Tickets $125

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Week II : Deepening Connections July 2-7 (in person) $795

Join us this summer at the idyllic setting of High Mowing School 

in Wilton, New Hampshire

Deepening Connections 

A summer retreat in the idyllic setting of High Mowing School in Wilton, New Hampshire! Take the opportunity to rest and unwind while engaging with anthroposophy and the arts, connecting with a wide community of individuals inspired by Waldorf education. 

Eleven sensational week-long, certificate-earning professional development courses to choose from. 

Participants choose one course for the week 

Much of our culture reinforces static and piece-meal ways of thinking about the world. But world processes are dynamic and often full of surprises. How can we attune ourselves to transformative processes and learn to enter into them with full clarity of mind?  In this course we will take two complementary and mutually illuminating pathways. Projective geometry provides the opportunity to practice wakeful transformative thinking. We can experience the beauty of ideas that grow, weave, and metamorphose. We will actively engage in geometric drawings and encounter mind-expanding concepts that open up new ways of understanding. When we attend to them carefully, plants have much to teach us about the transformational, flexible, and holistic nature of life. We will engage in careful observation of plants and work with a variety of exercises that can help us to develop the requisite openness and flexibility of mind to perceive and understand — to enter into dialogue with — the living and dynamic qualities of nature.

Henrike Holdrege trained as a biologist, mathematician, and science teacher. A co-founder of The Nature Institute in Ghent, NY, Henrike has taught in the Institute’s adult education programs since 2002; she also gives courses and workshops locally, nationally, and internationally. Having felt the stark lack of deeper meaning in her own university studies, Henrike makes every effort to ground her teaching in human experience and to break through abstractions to what can truly touch us in the world through careful, perceptive, and thoughtful inquiry. She has two main areas of focus: phenomenological studies of nature, and mathematics as a training of inner awareness and wakeful dynamic thinking. She is the author of the two-volume To the Infinite and Back Again: A Workbook in Projective Geometry.

Craig Holdrege, is co-founder and director of The Nature Institute. He is deeply interested in the interconnected nature of things and how we can understand life in truly living ways as a basis for responsible human action. His studies of plants and animals, as well as his commentaries on scientific thinking and new developments in the biological sciences, aim to stimulate a transformation in human thinking and perception. Craig is the author of many articles, monographs, and books, including Thinking Like a Plant: A Living Science for Life and Seeing the Animal Whole – And Why It Matters. He gives talks, workshops, and courses nationally and internationally. Craig was a Waldorf high school science teacher for 21 years.

Solving the riddle of each student through the art of the child study resides at the heart of Waldorf education. According to Rudolf Steiner, an essential quality for any Waldorf teacher is to develop capacities of perception, reflection, and insight. Utilizing these capacities, participants in this course will learn essential techniques needed to enliven and support their work when engaging in the observation of their students. Developing this art is key to nurturing student development.

Additional topics to be explored during this course include: 

* How the art of living and art of education are related. 

* How teachers weave together the influences of the night with daily lessons in Waldorf education. 

* Finding joy in the profession of teaching, while balancing personal and professional time. 

* What does it mean to say that sculptural and musical forces are the backbone of healthy education? 

All these questions and more will be explored as we work through the journey of the child and student study throughout the years.

Christof Wiechert, a popular lecturer, author, and seminar leader the world over, spent 30 years teaching at the Waldorf School in The Hague, where he himself was a pupil. During this time, he co-founded the Dutch Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar. For many years, Christof was a Council member in the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands. Together with Ate Koopmans, he developed the “Art of the Child Study” course. A number of his books are available in English translation. In 1999, he began to work for the Pedagogical Section of the Anthroposophical Society and, from 2001-2011, served as Leader of the Pedagogical Section of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. He is married with five children.

Teaching Subject Classes in Independent and Public Waldorf Schools - with Jason Child

Subject teachers hold the periphery of the Waldorf school ecosystem, and their unique perspectives and careful stewardship can help strengthen the social and pedagogical fabric of the school. This course focuses on key insights and practical skills that will help a specialist become a strong Waldorf subject teacher. The emphasis of the course is on subject teaching in general, rather than specific content in an area of expertise (world language, movement, handwork, arts, etc.). Participants will delve into excerpts from Rudolf Steiner’s work and explore pedagogical principles and everyday practices that can help them connect more deeply with the nature and intentions of Waldorf education. We will explore ways in which teachers’ meditations, careful observation, child study, intentional collaboration with colleagues, and curriculum innovation can help grow capacities for the individual subject teacher while also strengthening a healthy warmth body that surrounds and supports the entire school.

Jason Child has been teaching in schools ever since he completed his Master’s in Music Education in 1994.  He was appointed as Music Director at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC in 2005, where he has taught 1st -12th grade music, choruses, and bands.  He has also served as the school’s College and Faculty Chair, as well as coordinator of multiple accreditations. Jason, who served for ten years on the Leadership Council of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), is now mentor, evaluator, and consultant to Waldorf schools throughout North America. 

Jason Child has been teaching in schools ever since he completed his Master’s in Music Education in 1994.  He was appointed as Music Director at the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC in 2005, where he has taught 1st -12th grade music, choruses, and bands.  He has also served as the school’s College and Faculty Chair, as well as coordinator of multiple accreditations. Jason, who served for ten years on the Leadership Council of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), is now mentor, evaluator, and consultant to Waldorf schools throughout North America. 

In this drawing class, we will consider the soul experiences which have nourished us, and look at how art in the classroom is enhanced by the interweaving of those experiences with imagination and cultural memory. As we allow our own roots to guide visual expression, classes will journey through an overview of chalkboard art and technique including its connection to storytelling, working through gesture and form, progressive board art, and translating compositions to crayon and pencil main lesson pages. Care for materials and the benefits and challenges of various media will also be covered.

Adrienne Patrick grew up in a small town just across the Hudson River from Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, where decades later the institute would begin to offer Waldorf training. After working in clothing design/illustration, event production, and toy-making for two decades, Adrienne completed teacher training and filled the roles of subject and class teacher at the Waldorf School of San Diego. Adrienne’s current work involves teaching morning lesson blocks in the middle school while developing an expansive arts curriculum across the grades at the Emerson Waldorf School in NC. Beyond the classroom, Adrienne is devoted to marronage through co-creating embodied, anti-racist culture, connecting to the wisdom of more-than-human relations, and unveiling the practices and presence of the ancestors.

In this course we will follow the aesthetic footprints of human development from prehistoric times to the present. Participants will be guided through progressive images of painting, sculpture, and architecture in a way that allows a ‘living into’ how the world was experienced at seminal points of cultural development. What do we actually see by practicing exact observation of these artworks? What soul moods do they inspire in us? What changing perspectives, beliefs, yearnings, and ideals are communicated to us via the language of the arts?

In addition to instructor presentations and group dialogue, there will be designated periods (primarily during the late afternoon session and during unstructured free time) for drawing exercises based on, and integrated with, the course theme. By activating our creative will, our capacity for seeing is enhanced.

This study is designed for those who wish to immerse themselves in art history from experiential and spiritual scientific perspectives, whether for personal enrichment or for use in the classroom. It will provide essential content for anyone who might be in the position to teach related main lesson blocks from middle school to high school, including the all-important art and architectural history blocks of the 9th and 12th grades respectively, as well as observational drawing techniques, especially as they align with Waldorf school pedagogy.

Participants will be provided paper and basic drawing instruments but are also encouraged to bring their own graphite and colored pencils, as well as a drawing pad.

Recommended Reading:
Architecture as the Synthesis of the Arts, lectures by Rudolf Steiner (Rudolf Steiner Press)
Art History as a Reflection of Inner Spiritual Impulses, Rudolf Steiner (SteinerBooks)
Art and Human Consciousness, Gottfried Richter (Anthroposophic Press)
Education Through Art, Hildegard Gerbert (Mercury Press)
Teaching Art History, Van James (Waldorf Publications)

Patrick has taught and mentored in numerous Waldorf schools and adult education centers across North America since 1981. As a long time faculty member at Hawthorne Valley School in New York, he has taught in grades 5 through 12 in practical and sculptural arts, drawing, and the History of Art and Architecture. He has occupied various school leadership roles, including high school and full faculty chair positions. Patrick was an adjunct instructor in the summer Antioch and CFA programs over the span of three decades, and continues as co-director and instructor in anthroposophy and the arts at the Alkion Center for Waldorf Teacher Education at Hawthorne Valley. As a freelance sculptor and graphic artist, his artwork has been commissioned and/or shown in NY, MA, CA, England, and Sweden. His work can be viewed at www.patrickstolfo.smugmug.com

Stories are our unique human inheritance. Our collective ancient wisdom, stored in the world's fairy tales, folk tales, and myths, have been shared down the generations. To work with stories is to work with memories that are deeply embedded in us – ancestor work, dream work, nature work, and body work. Through them, we open a line of communication into our unconscious depths and to the spiritual world.

In this course, we will use theories of the archetypes from Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell to shine a new light on Rudolf Steiner's indications for a story-based developmental curriculum. We will take a courageous look at the historical and social contexts for those philosophical underpinnings, and challenge ourselves to uncover how stories can be used either to reinforce or to challenge racism, sexism, and other unjust systems of power. We will explore ideas for renewing our story content toward the ideal of a just and liberating education that supports the development of every child as a whole human being.

We will look at the arc of our story curriculum, which follows the unfolding consciousness of the developing child, from fairy tale to myth and eventually history. We will discuss story-based, age-appropriate approaches to supporting student inquiry through a social justice lens. We will consider how storytelling can be used in the service of generational healing and historical meaning-making.

We will hear and tell each other stories.

There will be first-hand enjoyment of the beautiful dance between our instinct for story, our natural instinct for play, and our interrelationship with the natural world. Through artistic play, dream work, and exploration in nature, we will use story work as a tool for healing ourselves as teachers.

Come ready to draw, write, speak, dream, play, and get dirty outside.

Irene Richardson is a seasoned class teacher, currently teaching 5th grade with her third class at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia. A love of mythology and folklore, the natural world, and growing things were common threads that ran through her undergraduate degree in comparative religion at Bard College, her Master's in education at Sunbridge College, and her certificate in biodynamics at the Pfeiffer Center. When she is not teaching, Irene is supporting collaborative leadership and self-development in Waldorf schools through her work as an AWSNA delegate. She has served on multiple accreditation teams, and coordinated two accreditations from within her own schools. She is enthusiastic about the work of carrying Waldorf education forward into its second century and toward liberation for all. She balances her work life with time spent weeding in her garden, poring through the books in her library, and exploring the forested parks of Philadelphia with her spouse and four-year-old Waldorf kid.

The physics and chemistry blocks in grades 6-8 offer the student and teacher a rich array of experiences that can stimulate a profound sense of awe concerning the forces of the natural world.  Poignant experiences live strongly in the student, which can then be considered through careful observation, discussion, and further experimentation.  Over these three years, students can be guided not only to make astute observations, but to begin generating their own dynamic conclusions about the natural world - ones that can grow and change with their manifold experiences in life.  

Working out of developmentally appropriate approaches for each grade, we will survey key experiences from each block, consider potential block plans and curricular threads, and discuss the merit of several forms of book work for each block.  Completing this course, teachers will be better prepared to approach the joys and rigors of preparing and presenting the sciences to their students with joy and enthusiasm.

Will Minehart's interest in the natural sciences began during his early youth in rural Pennsylvania, where he spent much of his time hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.  He earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University, then pursued Ornithological Research and Environmental Education before meeting his wife, starting a family, and becoming a full-time teacher.  Before becoming a Waldorf teacher in 2014, he taught science in public high school and was an adjunct professor at William Paterson University.  Will currently teaches sciences to grades 6-12 at High Mowing School in New Hampshire. 

The class play can be one of the most memorable experiences of the year for students.  It is a tremendous opportunity for the teacher to awaken in the soul life of the students the wonder and beauty of the year’s work.  Pedagogically appropriate theater providing them with a truly a peak experience lies within the reach of all teacher-directors if they but remember to… just play the game!  Adults may call it “acting” but children recognize this activity as what they do all the time –– imaginative play.  When we project ourselves into the imagined world it becomes real for us and real for the observer. When one’s conjuring is clear the magic happens. The more freely and joyfully we enter into the imagination, the more alive it becomes for all.  As in the classroom, the task of the director/teacher is to remove obstacles that inhibit the play.  This course will explore what that means  practically (sets, costumes, props, stage, sound, lights, effects, etc.) and humanly (acting, blocking, speaking, script, casting). We will discuss the history of theater and acting through an anthroposophical lens––who was the first modern director of theater and very close to our movement? …Goethe!)––and examine playwriting and the editing of plays to fit the class. This will be a practical and active experience designed to encourage, equip, and inspire anyone who desires to deepen work with the class play.           

Rob Lanier has been a grades teacher at the Waldorf School of Louisville for 20 years. He guided his first class from 1st through 5th, his second from 1st through 8th, and since then has been looping in middle school. He has written and directed a new play for each class (except for adventures with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar). For many years he has held summer theater camps for multi age groups, directing and writing original material for each. He has taught music, theater, Waldorf pedagogy, child development, and anthroposophy to public school teachers in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina. Prior to Waldorf life Rob was a professional musician and actor. He completed a Master’s in Waldorf Education at Antioch University of New England, and a Bachelor’s in Music from California Baptist University.

From creating a presence on social media to the exploration of black holes, technologies based on a digital paradigm are among the most dominant vehicles by which human beings create meaning and connection in the modern world. Proliferating in parallel with the obvious benefits of this digital revolution—accompanying the sheer speed, breadth, and power of its transformations—are signs of polarization and fragmentation within the social realm. These circumstances can create challenges for parents, teachers, and children alike, particularly when viewpoints enabled by a digital lens come into conflict with pedagogical, ecological, and moral ideals that resist quantification and mechanization.

In this course, we will explore the leading thoughts implicit in the technology that increasingly shapes our understanding of the world and ourselves. As an artistic counterpoint, we will work with charcoal drawing and the archetypal gestures of eurythmy to create novel, imaginative viewpoints with the potential to foster new impulses.

“A driving force which can only be moral, that is the idea of the future; a most important force, with which culture must be inoculated, if it is not to fall back on itself. The mechanical and the moral must interpenetrate each other because the mechanical is nothing without the moral.” (1906)

“Welding together human nature with mechanical nature will be a great and significant ongoing problem for the remainder of earthly evolution.” (1917)

“Imaginations will be required by human beings, for only through them will the antisocial impulses, so rampant today, develop into social impulses.” (1919)

—Rudolf Steiner

Jason Yates was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and earned his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University before working for more than two decades as a technology consultant with a specialty in virtual reality. He completed his eurythmy training at Rudolf Steiner College and subsequently performed eurythmy on stages throughout Europe and Asia. After studying therapeutic eurythmy in Germany, Jason moved to British Columbia where he worked in a Camphill community and taught in local Waldorf schools. Jason has a Master’s degree in therapeutic eurythmy and is the director of the foundation year at Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene.

This workshop explores the archetypal movements of social interaction, based on the art of eurythmy and the threefold archetype of the human being. One might think that eurythmy would not have a direct application to everyday life, but on the contrary, it is a doorway to finding meaning in our social interactions. This course is open to all who wish to consider their social and working life interactions as an arena for individual and group development. Eurythmists with teaching experience, consultants for businesses and non- profits, teachers looking for new perspectives, school board members, and those who like to move as part of their learning experience are welcome to join!

Leonore Russell 

Founding Director of Crossroads Farm, a project of Nassau Land Trust, Director of the Winkler Center for Adult Learning, a consultant for Antioch University New England and for schools and businesses using eurythmy as a vehicle for self-awareness and transformation of both personal and organizational life. Leonore brings a wealth of experience as a long-time faculty member and administrator at the Waldorf School of Garden City, NY. She has a long association with the Center for Anthroposophy. She presently collaborates with CfA’s Waldorf Leadership Development course, as well as Renewal Courses. As a Waldorf school consultant, Leonore draws upon a long career of administering and teaching at the Waldorf School of Garden City. She now works in higher education and business to motivate and empower adults.  

The capacity to think for oneself is never more apparent than when inner and outer changes require us to see what is really happening and make new choices. Present uncertainties may inculcate fear, but they can also create conditions for each of us to claim more deeply the capacity for greater clarity in perception, thought, and the ways we live. Once we are clear about our own thinking activity, this becomes the key to understanding the viewpoint of another and truly discerning it either as a different aspect of truth or something more limited in perspective.

Classes will focus on three central themes:

  • Improving the ability to rid ourselves of preconceptions and to note more carefully the perceptive activity happening within and around us
  • Developing a clearer and more conscious understanding of the relation between the activities of perceiving and thinking
  • Understanding how claiming one’s own perceiving and thinking activity results in a greater sense of confidence and the seed for a truly social way of being.

Through a series of observational exercises in rich, natural environments, group discussions, short readings, and inner reflections, the path to clarity will become apparent. The week’s goal is to begin a process that can be strengthened and practiced well beyond the last day of the course.

Themes from the morning discussions will be further deepened during the afternoon sessions through metal work in copper or silver, during which all participants will craft something for themselves.

 

 

Evening Lecture with Christof Wiechert
Reflections from the World Teachers’ Conference, Dornach 2023
Monday, July 3rd @ 7:00 pm, Pine Hill Auditorium

Community Music

Renewal participants are invited to bring their instruments and gather for an evening of community music, singing, and dancing. All are welcome!

Tuesday, July 4th @ 7:00 pm, High Mowing Front Lawn

Evening Lecture with Bernd Ruf

Title TBD

Wednesday, July 5th @ 7:00 pm, Pine Hill Auditorium

 

Evening Events during Week II are free and open to all Renewal participants and the surrounding Waldorf and anthroposophical community.

Click the image for a PDF version of the schedule to print

Week I (online): $495

Town Hall only Ticket (Week I online): $125

Week II (in-person): $795

Limited financial aid and/or payment plan may be requested by selecting corresponding “Registration Type” on the registration form (illustrated below). Practicing teachers (Waldorf & Other) please remember to list the name of your school and the grade you teach.

The first page of your registration form. For illustration only.

a screenshot of the first page of Renewal Registration

 
You may cancel your registration before May 1 and receive full refund, less $75 cancellation fee. No refunds available as of May 1.

When 3 or more teachers from the same school are registered at the same time they are automatically eligible for a 10% Group discount. School administrators should email [email protected]org with teachers' names, contact information and the course each one wishes to attend and we will generate one discounted invoice and email it to school for payment (either online or by paper check).

Week 2 Room and Board Pricing

Please see accommodation descriptions and directions here.

High Mowing Dorms:

  • Single single – $225
  • Double room – $169
  • Triple room – $145
  • Children's Village – $135

On-campus Meals:

  • Breakfasts – $11
  • Lunches – $15.25
  • Dinners – $10.25

Complimentary Snacks Included

For directions via multiple modes of transportation and other important information you'll need during your stay, click here.

Karen Atkinson, M.Ed.

Director of Renewal Courses

portrait of Milan Daler

Milan Daler

Program Admissions

(603) 654-2566

Contact Karen for questions about the Program, or Milan about Admissions.

Program Leadership

Karen Atkinson, M.Ed.

Director of Renewal Courses

Faculty

Karen Atkinson
Torin Finser
Jen Persinotti
Meg Chittenden
Joshua Gartland
Henrike Holdrege
Craig Holdrege
Alison Henry
Anne Clair Goodman
Michael Gannon
Patrick Stolfo
Heather Scott
Angela Lindstrom

Christof Wiechert
Jen Kershaw
Jason Child
Sarah Nelson
Kris Ritz
Adrienne Patrick
Leonore Russell
Irene Richardson
Will Minehart
Rob Lanier
Jason Yates