douglas“Renewal” is an ongoing theme at the Center for Anthroposophy, and it means many things to us -especially so this year. For readers familiar with our work, “Renewal” is well known as the name of the popular one-week courses we offer each summer. This year we will be honoring Karine Munk Finser, founding Coordinator of this signature program, with a new scholarship fund in her name-plus a recently announced challenge gift-as part of this year year’s annual appeal.

Other gestures of “renewal” are described in connection with the Center’s other programs, including Foundation Studies and the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program.

Finally, we cast our eye over the health and livelihood of the Waldorf high school movement worldwide.

Read – and be renewed!

Douglas Gerwin, Director
Center for Anthroposophy

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Dateline Goungzhou, China: Tuning in to Social Consciousness

Torin Finser, freshly returned from his latest visit to China, reports on his work with a new group of prospective and practicing Waldorf teachers.

Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
If you open yourself to the Tao,
you are at one with the Tao
and you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
you are at one with loss
and you can accept it completely.
Open yourself to the Tao,
then trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place.

— from the Tao Te Ching

Traveling in a foreign country always affords opportunities to open oneself to new experiences, as was the case during my week in Goungzhou in early January. Of the many sights and sounds of southern China, I have just time to share two regarding the leadership training I did for representatives of the 26 Waldorf schools and teacher education centers. One arises from sense impressions, one from insight into the people I had the honor to work with that week.

1. In trainings I do in the USA there is always much to do in terms of developing a sense for group dynamics and collective responsibility. Not so in China. When at a meal, the food is served in common, and while those more capable with chop sticks get more opportunities, there is as much attention to the “other” as to oneself. One rarely orders a personal plate of food, and if one does, it is immediately shared.

Likewise, I asked for social eurythmy to begin and end each day as we do in organizational courses at Renewal. They apologized that all they could find was a “regular” school eurythmist. Well, I had no need to worry — she grasped the few suggestions I made with alacrity, and the 76 people in the large circle were soon moving with grace and charm. Bean bags were passed out and collected without any direction, space was made for a late entrant without comment, and there was an unusual sense of moving at the same tempo, even though many had not done any of the exercises before! (And my gifted new colleague was anything but regular in terms of schools in the USA; she is a eurythmy teacher in a 1-8 grade school with 900 students.)

2. The second experience had to do with insights and “keeping quiet”. I have worked with translators in Korea, India, Nepal, and many European countries, but this time I was especially aware of the spaces in between my thoughts. Something seemed to grow as I repeatedly listened to words I had uttered moments before that were now incomprehensible. What had I really said, and what were the participants actually hearing? In those spaces, I learned I had to lose my ideas and find them again on a new basis, express myself and then be utterly quiet. Often, something entirely new came to me out of that place of Nothingness.

But then there was a gift that met me each day after a talk: within minutes of finishing, and then throughout the workshops and the rest of each day, the participants used the new concepts, phrases, and insights as if they had been “wearing” them for years. They stepped into the new concepts with lightning speed, assimilated the essence, and put it all to work in practical situations. In this and many other ways, I was astounded at the inner flexibility and receptivity to Waldorf education and Anthroposophy in China. Some have commented with concern on the rapid growth of biodynamic agriculture and Waldorf education throughout the country, but I was reminded that all things grow in proportion to “readiness”. If the soul is prepared (sometimes in the most curious ways through deprivation), all things are possible.

Images from Torin Finser’s latest visit to China, including an impressive school assembly space, the high rise where Waldorf education is taught, and the author relaxing with his local host.

 

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Dateline Wilton, NH: Renewal Course Listings for Summer 2017

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.

Dear Friends,

In our striving to recognize one another, we are sometimes granted a glimpse of the divine shining through the others’ presence in ways as simple as the way they tread the earth. This recognition calls upon our deepest ability to love, in which what was previously hidden in others becomes visible, what was inner becomes outer. Such moments of recognition constitute, too, the basis for healing.

As we welcome you to our 18th year of Renewal Courses, it is our hope that you will find not only great teachers but also destiny friends and even healing encounters. The times we live in demand nothing less than the opportunity to meet one another and allow ourselves to recognize the passion in our own hearts, and to find voice for the deeper questions that have led us on our path.

As in previous years, our first week of professional development will be devoted to “grade-specific courses” intended to inspire educators to teach with confidence and joy. We are delighted that Christopher Sblendorio, Neal Kennerk, Patrice Maynard, Alison Henry, and Signe Motter will return to us. New to our line-up this year will be Regine Shemroske, Robert Lanier, and Lynn Thurrell. Also teaching during this first week will be Janene Ping with a course on storytelling and puppetry arts to empower therapeutic, educational, and artistic capacities. Leonore Russell will bring a eurythmy mentoring seminar to help strengthen eurythmy in our Waldorf schools. Christof Wiechert will resume his certificate course on “The Child Study” for facilitators who are being trained to lead their faculty meetings in this gentle art. By popular demand, Christof Wiechert will offer short morning lectures to all participants. David Gable will enhance the grade-specific courses with singing and music; Roberto Trostli will offer sessions in science teaching for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes.

During the second week, the world-renowned author Peter Selg will bring aspects of Michael-Raphaelic qualities so needed today and into the future. Themes from his many translated books will be sounding forth from American soil! Mary Stewart Adams will join us with course on the wisdom of the stars, helping us to live actively in a much bigger community. Jeff Spade will share his energetic music conducting with class teachers and music teachers. Poets Paul Matthews and Patrice Pinette will return for another profound poetry writing course. Sandy Pearson and Glynn Graham will teach a course for handwork teachers on doll-making. The well-known musician Gotthard Killian will bring music alive, uniting the inner path of spiritual creativity with concrete musical forms. Gary Lamb and Michael Howard will offer insights into the technological advances that confront us with ethical questions. Color and form will support these discussions. Charles Andrade will teach veilpainting techniques and guide painters to find their own expression in the realm of light, darkness, and color. For the first time, we welcome Linda Bergh who will facilitate a new biography course, complete with life charting and life changing work to strengthen self and life in the workplace. John and Cat Cunningham, together with Barbara Richardson, will offer a course for teachers and others in leadership roles, focusing on communication and the resolution of disputes. Michael D’Aleo will teach a course on “Living Thinking” based on Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Cezary Ciaglo offering eurythmy, Peter Sheen spacial dynamics, and Elizabeth Auer clay modeling in supplement to some of these courses. I invite you to read the course descriptions in this booklet and hope to welcome many of you to High Mowing’s beautiful campus atop Abbot Hill in Wilton, New Hampshire. Please sign up early to secure a bed on campus. In addition to single and double rooms on campus, local community homes support our housing needs with quiet rooms nearby.

Warmest wishes,

Karine

To register, click here: https://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/renewal-courses/renewal-registration-form/

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Dateline Wilton, NH: Renewing Renewal with a New Challenge Grant

As part of our summer Renewal Courses, a special celebration is planned to honor the person who brought them into being and who has shepherded them for close on two decades. Her colleague Douglas Gerwin offers a brief preview.

For the last 17 years, Karine Munk Finser, Coordinator of CfA’s summertime Renewal Courses, has welcomed participants–mostly teachers but also administrators, trustees, parents, and friends of Waldorf education–with grace, warmth, and good cheer to this program, setting the tone with a few genial words to introduce an evening of community singing, a keynote talk, some instrumental music, and brief descriptions by the visiting faculty of the courses they are about to offer. Thanks to her artistic vision and gentle stewardship, these week-long Renewal Courses have become a festival of human encounters, artistic experience, professional development, and the rekindling of friendships.

This coming summer we will celebrate the 18th season of Renewal Courses, and you are warmly invited! We are planning a special evening of shared stories, music, and acknowledgements. At the heart of this celebration will be Karine, whom we intend to honor for her years of achievement and for what will soon be her two decades of leadership as Coordinator of this popular program.

In anticipation of this celebration, we are focusing CfA’s annual appeal this year on setting up a special Renewal Courses scholarship fund in Karine’s name in order to provide crucial support for future participants who may wish to attend a similar festive opening night in years to come.

We are thrilled to report that a generous donor has agreed to match all donations made to this new scholarship fund, meaning that all gifts earmarked for this fund will be instantly doubled.

Renewal Courses, which serve over four hundred teachers, parents, and friends each summer, have become a real source of professional development and nourishment for many returning participants. Some can only attend with scholarship support, so donations make a real difference to strengthening the work in our Waldorf schools and deepening the artistic and anthroposophical foundations of our common efforts toward social renewal.

We invite you to donate here

to the Karine Munk Finser Renewal Scholarship Fund and thereby double your support to help us secure the next 18 years of joyful human encounters at our summer home on Abbot Hill in Wilton, New Hampshire. Your gift will “redouble”, so to speak, the impulse out of which Renewal Courses were born.

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Dateline Freeport, ME: Being of Good Heart

Barbara Richardson, Coordinator of CfA’s Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, juxtaposes a verse that Rudolf Steiner gave for America with the musings of a West Coast farm commentator and a celebrated East Coast essayist on the pedagogical role of beauty and the intuitive voice of the human heart.

“Beauty is a big, transformational thing, the proper goal of art and maybe civilization itself,” writes David Brooks in a recent New York Times commentary. “Beauty conquers the deadening aspects of routine; it educates the emotions and connects us to the eternal. . . . beauty is numinous and fleeting, a passing experience that enlarges the soul and gives us a glimpse of the sacred.”

From time to time I browse in the local Freeport Community Library and sample the Small Farmer’s Journal. The latest issue, including the quote above by David Brooks, features an article by Lynn Miller, an Oregon resident depicting the life of a fellow farmer hanging on by a thread. “Today the majority of the world is not fed by large-scale industrial agribusiness,” she writes. “It is fed by a billion or so small land holders producing a myriad of food and fiber products that slip quietly, day by day–off the grid–into the mainstream of society to keep the world fed.”

“Many a successful farmer began by pursuing a ‘feeling,’ an instinct that told him or her that a particular plan would work,” she continues. “I hold that the lasting measure of success comes when our feelings are allowed to ride the pursuit.”

“At the very core of good farming is good heart. We know what is meant by ‘heartless’, we know what it means to sense the ‘heart’ of something. That good team of work-horses has good heart. That farm wife is of good heart. That old blacksmith is a good-hearted man. And, in these instances, we are not speaking of the silly flitting heart of the giggle, we are speaking of a muscular heart, a heart which whispers to itself, mid-effort, ‘I can do this’.”

Juxtapose these characterizations of heart and beauty with the Rudolf Steiner’s “Verse for America”:

May our feeling penetrate
Into the center of our heart
And seek, in love, to unite
With human beings seeking the same goal,
And with spirit beings
Who, full of grace,
Behold our earnest heartfelt striving
And in beholding strengthen us
From realms of light
Illuminating our lives in love.

The small farming ventures that Lynn Miller mentions in her article, “a small dairy in Arkansas providing raw milk for five families, or a Southeast-Asian family growing a patch of rice to feed its neighbors…eggs from Oregon, traded African tubers, fat geese from a small New Zealand farm, hand-waxed cheese from a French alpine shepherd…come from a farming world and a culture which by its very definition embraces the fullness of biological life most definitely including the romance of human involvement, without which motivation evaporates.”

Different farms such as these all over the world mirror the different locations of our Foundation Studies programs, which meet in many parts of America up and down the East Coast, in the heart of the Midwest in Ohio, and as far west as the mountains of Carbondale CO, Santa Fe NM, and Tucson AZ. In all of them, participants gather with intention to study, to learn, and also to be transformed through the beauty of the arts.

The reading of Rudolf Steiner’s words and discussion of his ideas help to invigorate not only those who sign up for these clusters but also the Waldorf schools in which they take place. Human striving is deepened in the presence of like-minded people, who motivate each other as they share conversation over good, healthy food in the potluck meals that constitute an integral part of the sessions.
In this way we are hoping to develop, support, and sustain the heart of the Waldorf school communities where we meet.

At this point CfA is offering clusters in Foundation Studies at the following sites:

Year One:
Lake Champlain Waldorf School [Shelburne, VT]
Maine Coast Waldorf School [Freeport, ME]
Seacoast Waldorf School [Eliot, ME]
Santa Fe Waldorf School [Santa Fe, NM]
Tucson Waldorf School [Tucson, AZ]
Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork [Carbondale, CO]

Year One/Two:
Cincinnati Waldorf School [Cincinnati, OH]

Year Two:
Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork [Carbondale, CO]
Washington Waldorf School [Bethesda, MD]

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Dateline Dornach, Switzerland: High Time for a Survey of High Schools

As part of a long-term study, the International Forum sponsored a statistical survey-the first of its kind–of Waldorf high schools around the globe. Douglas Gerwin, who spearheaded the survey, presents here a summary of his findings.

Out of a total of approximately 1,100 Waldorf schools in some 55 countries worldwide, roughly 500 have high schools. On a purely statistical basis, one may be tempted to conclude that nearly half of Waldorf schools have high schools.

However, of the total number of Waldorf high schools, more than 40% are located in Germany; if Germany is taken out of this total, the percentage of Waldorf schools with their own high school in the rest of the world drops to around 25-30%.

At a rough count, there are some 50,000-55,000 students in Waldorf high schools worldwide. Of that total, c.30,000 are enrolled in German Waldorf schools.

A statistical caution
Concerning the starting and ending year of high school, there is quite a wide range of definition. In some countries (Argentina, Holland, Spain), high school is defined as starting as early as in Grade 7. In six countries, high school is defined as starting as late as Grade 10. In some parts of the Canadian province of British Columbia, high school starts in grade 8; in other parts of the same province they start in grade 9. In Britain, some Waldorf high schools end in Grade 10, yet in others high school begins with Grade 10. Many schools around the world define the end of high school as being Grade 13. This makes a more detailed analysis of these figures a tricky enterprise.

A further cautionary note concerning these statistics: they include estimates of Waldorf high schools in parts of the world that are not represented on the International Forum (IF) and that therefore were not polled for updated numbers. Nevertheless, the great majority of high schools operate in parts of the world that do have a national or regional representative on the IF.

Top 5 countries with the largest number of Waldorf schools and enrollment
Germany 222 high schools with c.30,000 students
(equals 40% of total number of Waldorf high schools and 55- 60% of students in Waldorf high schools worldwide)
United States 39 high schools with c.3,000 students
Holland 19 high schools with c.5,000 students
Australia 14 high schools with c.3,000 students
Hungary 12 high schools with c.1,500 students

These five countries, taken together, account for c.60% of Waldorf high schools and c.75-85% of Waldorf high school students worldwide. The remaining 40% of Waldorf high schools and 15-25% of Waldorf high school students are located in some 50 countries on all continents (except, of course, Antarctica).

Distribution of Waldorf high schools by continent
Europe c.375
North America c. 43
Asia/Mideast c. 25
Australia/NZ c. 20
South America c. 25
Africa c. 10

Waldorf high schools as percentage of elementary schools
Highest percentages: Germany, with over 90% of Waldorf schools have high schools
Lowest percentages: Sweden, with about 20% of Waldorf schools have high schools

Average percentage worldwide
(excluding Germany): 25-30% of Waldorf schools have high schools.

Some countries reported having “free standing high schools” (i.e. high schools independent of any lower school). In the United States, 8 of its 39 Waldorf high schools are free-standing, in Holland 18 of 19 high schools are free-standing. In the world generally, fewer than 10% of Waldorf high schools are free-standing.

As for separate campuses, in the United States about half of the high schools are located on a different site from the lower school; in Germany the number reported is 0. Worldwide about 10% of schools reported having separate campuses for their high schools.

Class size
Class sizes for main lesson were listed as being as small as 11-15 students (Norway) and as large as 36-40 students (Britain). Most countries fell equally in the categories 16-20 students per main lesson (including the United States), 21-25 per main lesson, and 26-30 per main lesson (Germany and Holland) — each representing about a third of the responses to this question.

Percentage of students who continue from Waldorf lower school to high school
About three-quarters of responding schools reported that at least half of their Waldorf lower school pupils moved up into their high school. About a quarter said 91-100% of pupils moved into the high school (including pupils in Germany), and a further quarter said 76-90% of pupils moved into their high school.

Percentage of Waldorf high school stuents that went to a Waldorf lower school
Three quarters of responding schools reported that at last half of their high school students came, if not from their own school, then at least from a Waldorf lower school somewhere. Just under a quarter said 91-100% of high school students came from a Waldorf lower school, and a further third said 76-90% of their students came from a Waldorf lower school.

Length of students’ sojourn in Waldorf schools
Schools were asked to estimate how many of their high school students started out in a Waldorf kindergarten (so-called “Waldorf lifers”), how many joined in first grade, how many joined during the elementary school grades, and how many joined in high school.

On average a roughly estimated 40% of Waldorf high school students joined in kindergarten, and a further 20% joined in each of first grade, later in elementary school, and high school.

These percentages are significant, given the study in Europe conducted some years ago that suggested the most striking effects of Waldorf education were to be found among those students who joined a Waldorf school no later than fourth grade. After this grade, the effects of Waldorf education–for instance, changes in health and physical development such as delayed second dentition and onset of puberty–were less evident, compared to students who had not gone to a Waldorf school at all.

The highest scoring country responding in this area of research was New Zealand, which reported that 90% of its Waldorf high school students began their Waldorf career in a Waldorf kindergarten. The highest percentage of students joining Waldorf as late as high school was reported in Slovenia (60%) and the Czech Republic (50%).

If one combines the categories of kindergarten and first-grade joiners, the top country is Taiwan, which reported that a total of 95% of Taiwanese high school students started either in a Waldorf kindergarten or first grade.

Retention of high school enrollment
Waldorf high schools reported strong rates of retention. About 30% of schools said they retained 91-100% of their students in high school, and a further 40% of schools said they retained 76-90% of their students in high school.
That means that roughly three quarters of Waldorf high schools retain at least three quarters of their students until their graduation in Grade 12 or 13.

Morning Verse
Contrary to some rumors, virtually all Waldorf high schools retain the ritual of beginning the day with Rudolf Steiner’s Morning Verse. Schools in all but two countries–Finland and Hungary– responded that 100% of the Waldorf high schools in their region or country begin the day with this verse.

Electives
Of the schools that responded, about two-thirds said their high schools did offer electives, about one-third said they did not offer electives in high school. Typically, fewer electives were offered in ninth grade, a few more in tenth grade, the greatest number in eleventh grade, and fewer again in twelfth grade. Electives were pretty evenly spread across the sciences, math, humanities, and the arts.

Sports
Of those responding, half said their high schools did offer sports as part of their school program, half said they did not. Most common sports offerings were basketball and volleyball.

Computer technology
Among the schools responding, about three quarters said their high schools did offer courses in computer technology, about a quarter said they did not. Classes were either offered as main lessons or as “track” classes for a portion or for the entire year, spread across grades 9-12.

Courses in human sexuality
Of those schools responding, a strong majority (85%) said they did offer courses in human sexuality; only 15% said they did not. Courses in some schools began as early as seventh grade; the greatest number of courses was offered in tenth grade, then tapering off during the remaining years of high school.

Eurythmy and other “Waldorf” arts
Contrary to reports that eurythmy is being dropped in Waldorf schools, all schools responding to this question reported that schools in their country or region offer eurythmy as a required course all year in all grades, or at least as an elective. However, anecdotally we heard that individual high schools are not offering eurythmy for lack of trained teachers or sufficient finances. Perhaps it is telling that several schools left this question blank.
There was far less presence of Bothmer gymnastics, speech formation, and Werbeck singing: only a handful of schools reported that these arts were offered in their country or region.

Intrusion of state exams
Of the schools answering this question, about two-thirds said that state exams did interfere at some point with the high school curriculum, while about one-third said these exams did not. Of those saying that state exams did interfere, the rate of interference increased steadily from seventh (least amount of interference: 8%) through twelfth grades (greatest amount of interference: 31%). It should be remembered that in some parts of the world, governments impose no required state exams on independent schools.

Life post-high school
Schools were asked to say what their Waldorf students do after graduating from high school. On average:
55% go directly into institutions of higher learning
15% go on to trade school (this means different kinds of educational institution in different countries!)
10% directly enter the work force
10% take a “gap year”
10% enter military of civil service
In the United States 80% of Waldorf graduates go on to institutions of higher learning (a further 10% take a gap year), whereas only 5% of German graduates are reported to go directly to an institute of higher learning (with a further 30% taking a gap year); however, 30% of Germans are said to go on to what they call “trade school”, which is akin to a institute of higher learning, in American parlance. In Israel, 95% of Waldorf graduates are obliged first to undertake military or civil service before undertaking further education.

Waldorf high school teacher training
Schools were asked to estimate how many of their Waldorf high school teachers in their region or country were fully trained, including a Waldorf high school certificate; whether they were partly trained; or whether they had received no training. On average 28% of Waldorf high school teachers were characterized as having a full training, 37% as having some training, and 35% as having no training to speak of at all. The highest percentages of fully trained teachers were reported in Slovenia and Spain; the highest percentages of untrained high school teachers in Argentina and Denmark.

It should be noted that the questionnaire specifically asked whether fully trained teachers had received a Waldorf high school certificate. Since there are very few institutes that offer this specialized certificate, it is likely that some respondents counted any Waldorf teaching certificate as constituting “fully trained”. In consequence, the percentage of teachers with a Waldorf high school teaching certificate may be lower than the 28% figure cited above. With certainty one can conclude, however, that a majority of teachers in Waldorf high schools have not received a Waldorf high school teaching certificate.

In the final sections of this questionnaire, respondents were asked to give narrative answers to questions, including a list of their perceived strengths and greatest needs. Bulleted highlights of responses to these questions are listed below in descending order of frequency (from most frequent response to less frequent response):

Strengths

  • social relations between teachers and students, community relationships
  • developmental curriculum
  • experiential, hand-on learning and instruction
  • successfully meeting government educational guidelines, requirements, exam results
  • rich and varied arts curriculum
  • also: articulate students, professional teachers, beautiful campus, freedom in shaping curriculum, small size of school, low tuition!

Needs

  • teacher training (by far the greatest number of responses)
  • money
  • higher enrollment (related to money, of course)
  • greater visibility in the community
  • more, better teaching spaces
  • also: building better relationships with colleges, educating parents, retaining teachers (especially in the sciences and math), planning succession and hand-over to younger teachers, building up the science program, deepening anthroposophy, “getting to know one another”

Closing comment
A few weeks after sharing this survey in November 2016 with my colleagues at a meeting of the IF in Dornach, I had occasion to address a conference in Kassel of some 250 teenagers from Waldorf high schools across Germany on the theme of “human identity”. While these students had been carefully chosen for this conference–they had been required to write application essays for this gathering and to secure endorsements from their schools–it was heartening to realize how vividly they embodied the goals and ideals of Waldorf education. Here was a roomful of energetic, articulate, warm-hearted, respectful yet outspoken young people bursting with interest in the world and appetite to explore it.
In more than 35 years of teaching teenagers and adults in Waldorf school communities, I have rarely been so mobbed after giving a talk nor subsequently button-holed in the hallways and cafeteria by students with comments and follow-up questions as I was that weekend in Kassel. Far more than any statistical analysis could show, these students represented a ringing endorsement of their education.

Berkshire Waldorf High School

Vancouver Waldorf High School

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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 sponsored each July by the Center for Anthroposophy. This year will mark the 22nd 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 2 July and runs through Saturday 29 July–can apply on this site 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.

Images from WHiSTEP 2016

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Dateline Keene NH: New Masters Program for High School Teachers

For the first time in their long collaboration, the Center for Anthroposophy and the Waldorf Program at Antioch University New England are offering the option of a fully-accredited Masters degree for Waldorf high school teachers. Douglas Gerwin, Director of the Center for Anthroposophy, reports on this new option.

Ever since the founding more than two decades ago of the Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP), we have been lobbied to create the option of a Masters degree for Waldorf high school teachers as part of their teacher training. Now we have found a way!

Starting in the Summer of 2017, students enrolling in the high school program 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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will be 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 me at douglas at centerforanthroposophy.org for further details.

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Dateline Sullivan, NH: Words of Wisdom Arising from Self-Review

As part of their self study, faculty members from CfA and the Waldorf Program at Antioch University New England have been assessing the state of teacher training and what is needed for the future. Signe Motter, President of CfA’s Board of Trustees, is spearheading this study and offers a few vignettes.

Something – call it a yearning for anthroposophy ­­– lives in young people today.
We need to strengthen their “I forces”. The “I” lives in warmth, in enthusiasm, in the blood. Students need to feel safety of warmth so that they can unfold their capacities. There is no learning without warmth, no healing without warmth.

Inspiration arising from without is like warmth of an oven — good for baking dinner rolls; inspiration arising from within is like a volcano that changes the world!

Rudolf Steiner’s great joy in starting the Waldorf school was that his picture of the developing human being would be embedded in a practice of education. Perhaps “anthroposophy” is misleading as the term to describe the basis of our work; rather it should be this picture of the developing human being.

In lower school, arts are integrated into the lesson so that the children can “catch up with their own soul nature”, whereas, in high school arts are separate because students need to practice arts for arts sake.