Dear friends near and far,
We are pleased to send you a newsletter shortly before the summer break (in the northern hemisphere) and before the winter holidays (in the southern hemisphere). First of all, today we would like to inform you that the project of our heart "Bees & Trees" now has a "Handbook for Schools and Kindergartens", which is available in German, English and Spanish both as a PDF (link to download) and as a printed brochure (link to shop).
In addition, you will learn about our core music project "Metamorphoses" and the project of the Freie Waldorfschule Greifswald, which will contribute to the Waldorf 100 relay race from Greifswald to Berlin with a self-built dragon boat. There they want to arrive punctually for our big final festival on September 19, 2019 in the Tempodrom on the Spree River – we are already looking forward to it!
Furthermore, we wish you plenty of imagination, inspiration, and above all courage to carry Waldorf education even further into the world!
Core projects – Compositions "Metamorphoses"
The idea: students from some of the best music academies in the world send us compositions that are short, beautiful, sophisticated and playable for school orchestras. A jury headed by the President of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, Prof. Elmar Lampson, will select the best of these and make them freely available to Waldorf School orchestras around the world by the end of 2019.
The demanding piece for large orchestra "Procession-Contraction: Metamorphosis" by Haihui Zhang was selected from many wonderful submissions. Haihui Zhang comes from Shanghai and studies at the Manhatten School of Music. The second work selected by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music was "Village" for string orchestra and woodwind by Xu Weizun (English name: Franco), which is easier to play.
Both works will be available at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year on the website.
We are also happy to accept other compositions from Waldorf Schools, provided we are allowed to make them freely available on our website by the end of 2020. (HKU)
About Haihui Zhang
Haihui was born in Wuhan, China, where she studied piano and composition with her father from the age of 4. She attended the Music Middle School affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2013 and studied composition with Professor Ying Dind, and further studied piano with Professors Qing Wang, Ting Zhou and Xiangjun Yu. In 2016, she was accepted by Manhattan School of Music and studied composition with Dr. Reiko Fueting. Both as a composer and a pianist, Haihui Zhang has received numerous prizes and scholarships. Her works were performed in Shanghai, Guangxi, Nanjing and New York. She learned about this competition from friends studying in Europe, this being her first encounter with Steiner/Waldorf schools.
School projects – Waldorf moves also against the current: with the dragon boat from Greifswald to Berlin
Since 2007 the Freie Waldorfschule Greifswald (Germany) has been infected with dragon boat fever, a great team sport that requires physical effort, rhythm, and excellent interaction among all participants: on ten rows of benches two boys or girls sit next to each other, submerge their paddles evenly and pull through with all their might to move the two-ton boat through the water; in the rear of the boat, the helmsman stands and takes care of the right course; and in front, the drummer sets the pace. To master the competition course at high speed requires not only strength but also willpower, and of course good coordination of all movements, because the common rhythm makes the weight much easier to put in motion.
We already know that we are champions of the short distance, and the many cups our teams have won at the local, regional and German Dragon Boat Championships are proof of this. But now we have set ourselves a new challenge. Next year is the centenary of Steiner/Waldorf Schools. And the Freie Waldorfschule Greifswald will arrive in a dragon boat at the closing event of the celebrations held in Berlin's Tempodrom: just in time for September 19, 2019, we will arrive in the capital by water! Around 190 students and teachers in nine teams will paddle non-stop for six days. The start is at Greifswalder Ryck. Then it continues over the Bodden, the Peene River, through the Oderhaff, by way of the Oder and Havel to the Spree.
That's about 400 kilometers that will demand all our strength. The willingness to change from the accompanying steamer into the dragon boat on flowing waters, to calmly pass ship lifts and locks, not to despair in rain and wind, to overcome waves and fight against currents, to be on the water in the morning and evening at dusk... When we reach the Tempodrom on September 19, then we will know what "staying the course" means. Now the preparations have begun for the beginning of the dragon boat season!
Nita June Davanzo – Interim Waldorf 100 Director of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)
Her current role at AWSNA is as the Director of Waldorf 100. Her ask is to advance the activities and visibility of the Waldorf 100 celebration to the members, greater community and the public through marketing and publications, community outreach, media relations, and advocacy, by raising funds to support strategic initiatives, and by supporting schools in their individual and collaborative Waldorf 100 activities.
How are the Waldorf schools in your country doing?
They are doing well! The Waldorf schools in the US are gathering energy and momentum on projects and celebrations for Waldorf 100. Some of the current projects underway include:
GreenBee Wildlife Web
Across the globe students and communities will be planting trees and establishing beekeeping programs and pollination gardens. In North America, AWSNA is excited to partner with Gunther Hauk from the Spikenard Farm Honey Bee Sanctuary, Richard Louv, author of the Last Child in the Woods, The Children and Nature Network, Green Schoolyards America, and the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood to form a new ecological-green ‘continental park system’ in backyards, playgrounds, schoolyards, and public spaces - green spaces developed with birds, insects, bees, butterflies, praying mantises and biodiversity in mind; creating a food-web for native species and wildlife. Imagine the map!
Continental Alumni Network
In today’s globally connected world, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate the successes and support the needs and activities of Waldorf alumni and, also, to sustain and nourish community through a newly formed Alumni network. This network will provide opportunities for alumni to support, guide, and connect with one another, their school communities and the continental Waldorf community of all ages.
Helping Hands: Children Helping Children
In practicing kindness and service to the world we deepen our understanding of the other, the importance of community, and how our actions are intertwined with the well-being of humanity. Waldorf students and community members are pleased to engage in acts of generosity and service to children in need within their local communities and throughout the world.
Million-fold Global Postcard Exchange
Students in 1,100 Waldorf schools from over 80 countries will send a postcard to every other Waldorf school in the world. Each postcard is being individually designed by a young person, telling or showing something of his or her country, school, or self.
Does your school already have specific plans for the Waldorf 100 Anniversary?
Each school is creating a celebration unique and individual to itself and its community.
How would you describe the essence of Waldorf pedagogy in a very personal way?
To me, Waldorf pedagogy is about recognizing, nurturing and fortifying the whole being of an individual into full and radiant blossom.
Congress "Become human" @Rudolf Steiner-Schule Nürnberg, Germany
International High School Conference @Teachers' college, Kassel, Germany
World Early Childhood Conference @Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland
Waldorf: A Slow-Cooker Education
We’ve all been there – a busy day running around with hungry children. The benefits of getting them a quick bite to eat are obvious. On a surface level, the end result is the same as a home-cooked meal: full bellies. What is the polar opposite of fast-food? A slow-cooker meal. Time permitting, this is a wonderful homemade meal option for any family.
Experientially, children learn real life skills and appreciate the vegetables because of their involvement. Family values of connection, sustainability, and health are emphasized. The prep time allows the experience and values to flourish, while the cook time causes the full potential of the flavor to unfold and an appropriate texture results as opposed to something hardened and dry. The trifold core characteristics of experience, values and time within the process provides long-term benefits for the family unit.
Understanding this, how would you feel if your child’s education was like a microwaved or drive-through meal? There is a chance you may experience some indigestion surrounding this. The slow-cooker meal core characteristics of experience, values and time apply to Waldorf education, where the focus is on the learning process.
Experience: The true nature of the child is embraced by engaging their active limbs and their precious hearts in real life, sensory stimulating tasks before intellectualizing the phenomena and experiences into concepts.
Values: With the learning being experiential, teachers cannot plan everything; they have to create space for the learners to co-construct their learning experiences through relationship. The curriculum emphasizes oral storytelling and the arts, which develop the social-emotional intelligence. A classroom becomes a microcosmic model of social health.
Time: In order to encompass experience and values, the teacher carefully orchestrates rhythms emphasizing deep learning. Learning is personal and meaningful rather than hardened and dry. The full potential of learning unfolds when nurturing curiosity and discovery rather than a standards-driven agenda. Waldorf education consists of a variety of rhythms: the ebb and flow within a single lesson, an unfolding of discovery over three days, and a cross-curricular thematic approach to a single block, which is typically around one month in duration (not to mention the seasonal and annual cycles).
In opposition to the fast-paced world, there is a trending cultural response looking to ‘slow education’ for balance. Waldorf education is marking its 100th year of practicing the core characteristics of a slow-cooker meal. This is not a trending cultural response but is a response to the nature of the human child, advocating for the gifts each has to give to the world.
Cedar Bridge School is nestled between farm and forest, bringing Waldorf education to the Okanagan. In an environment of reverence and wonder, we seek to uncover the full potential of each child so they may freely carry out their lives with courage and purpose. By creating meaningful relationships with community and the environment we contribute to positive social and ecological change.
Robyn Bonnycastle (Class 4/5 Teacher at Cedar Bridge School, Canada)