Renewal in the summer of 2020 will mark our 21st season, and by then Waldorf Education will be closing the door on its first 100 years and opening a new door to a new century. We are the ones who are asked to influence the direction of the beginning of that journey and already a lot is happening!  From around the globe Waldorf students and their teachers gathered this fall for a congress in Stuttgart, home of the first Waldorf school; a week later in Berlin, thousands of Waldorf students and their teachers showcased the international flavor of this education. Meanwhile, during the course of the past year, Waldorf-educated children were sending postcards to one another from all over the world. 

But how will Waldorf continue into the future? Both in independent and in public Waldorf schools, we are being asked to include a more inclusive and welcoming gesture. How will we address the demands of social justice and the suffering of many children and people resulting from war or desperate migrations, issues of racism, equity, diversity, gender issues, poverty and more? These issues touch upon the sustainability of Waldorf education. Trauma and trauma-informed teaching, mindfulness and empathy awareness for both teachers and adults: these buzz words live in the collective consciousness now, and we are asked to join the table of like-minded helpers and become active.

Along with global activism, another strong mandate bestowed on Waldorf educators is the call to spiritual research. To work actively with the inner life, to deepen questions and passions, interests, and longings that touch upon our own sacred, is what makes teachers and schools vibrant, and classrooms inspired. 

Renewal Courses for 2020 will strive to address both of these aspects of our times and to strike a balance: look for a course led by Michaela Gloeckler on health and healing or a seminar led by Robyn Brown, who created a living community that strongly addresses rebuilding life forces and the strengthening of the lower senses. Biography Studies with Linda Bergh and Jennifer Fox will also be featured this coming summer. Torin Finser and Carla Comey will bring keen guidance to teachers and administrators. Linda Williams will directly address issues of social justice in our schools. From England, we will welcome Bronia Evers, who will bring puppetry and story, including the possibility of a group performance. 

New and exciting next summer will be an inclusive gathering of people from different walks of life, who will join our Renewal campus: John Bloom, Alice Groh, and Ryder Daniels will facilitate a conversation about finding creative solutions for the future: How will Waldorf schools survive financially? How do we renew the financial environment of our independent schools so that they become sustainable and full of health-giving forces? 

As in previous years, there will be grade-specific courses with both new and returning faculty, and we have asked Christof Wiechert to return for morning lectures and to visit each grade-specific course with insights into awakening the practice of child study. We will again feature the artist David Newbatt, and there are more courses which are still being created. Future issues of our online newsletter Center & Periphery will share more details, or you may wish to visit CfA’s website in a few weeks to find the titles of our Renewal 2020 courses. 

Also new in 2020 will be a final leap into a paper-less edition of our brochure. We will still be printing colorful and artistic larger-than-ever posters to be displayed in schools and offices. We hope our readers will support this brave new effort by helping us spread news of our programs and encouraging people to find us online. Most of our courses are inclusive of teachers, parents, administrators, alumni, and board members from all schools, along with friends of Waldorf. 

Wishing you all a continued beautiful school year,

Karine Munk Finser