Newsletter March 2019
Dear Waldorf community all over the world,
now our long awaited centennial year has actually begun and we are very happy to celebrate it together with all of you. Daily news and inquiries reach us from home and abroad, for which we are truly grateful, because it demonstrates again the worldwide solidarity that is so close to our hearts.
In today's newsletter we would like to inform you about the progress of the projects "Metamorphoses" and "Drama: Where is man?" A few weeks ago, the winning piece of the composition competition "Procession-Contraction: Metamorphosis" was premiered at the Rudolf Steiner School Hamburg-Wandsbek – a great challenge for all participants and a very special experience for the audience. And on March, 6th the jury of our drama project `Where is humankind´, announced the winners at the festive award ceremony at the Logensaal of the Hamburger Kammerspiele.
If you still want to get one of the coveted tickets for the international ceremony in Berlin's Tempodrom on September 19, 2019, you can look here.
This time we present a colorful selection of school projects from all over the world, from the international youth project for eurythmy, choir and orchestra "Connect" to the Waldorf Festival in Hamborn Castle, the "Hermes Olympic Games" and the "Beach Clean-up" project.
You can also read a portrait about the highest school in the world, the Escuela Nina Pacha in Quito (Ecuador), where the air can get quite thin for those passing through. The air conditions in Bangkok and Buenos Aires are significantly different, with international educational conferences due to take place in 2019. The online registration for the international Stuttgart congress "It all begins with being human" from 7th to 10th September starts in April – quickly secure the early bird discount for the congress with 100 working groups with many well-known speakers, discussion forums and lectures.
The second part of our Waldorf 100 film "Learn to Change the World" is now available in three languages and can be watched on our website. For additional translation requests, please contact us.
Finally, we would like to inform you that a new German-English streaming portal for teacher training and research has gone online. Students and researchers in all disciplines as well as teachers now have the opportunity to view practical examples from class teachers at the Waldorf School free of charge after registering here.
We send our warmest greetings in all directions,
Your Waldorf 100 Team
Core projects – Great prelude to the anniversary year
World premiere of the Waldorf composition "Metamorphoses"
"It only makes sense to rehearse something with pupils that reaches them emotionally," said Sonja Zimowski, one of the three-member jury and music teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School Hamburg-Wandsbek. And they did it! On this evening, the emotions were noticeable up to the very last row of the fully occupied auditorium, and the audience rewarded the young performers with enthusiastic applause. This evening was no ordinary school concert at the Waldorf School, but the world premiere of the Waldorf composition and the musical prelude of Waldorf 100 celebrations.
The complete upper school orchestra with 136 pupils played the very demanding winning piece "Procession-Contraction: Metamorphosis" splendidly. The composition competition, one of the core projects of Waldorf 100, was composed by 21-year-old Haihui Zhang, student of the Manhattan School of Music, and conforms to the spirit of Waldorf 100. The music unites the memory of the past and a view into the future. The conductor Kolja Zimowski vividly explained the structures and peculiarities of the composition to the audience in advance, and the pupils played the central themes on the various instruments so that the listener could recognize them more easily during the subsequent premiere.
This "serious" piece of contemporary music containing elements of minimal music offers only a few melodic arcs and harmony constructs, and posed an enormous challenge for the pupils because they had difficulty in getting a concrete inner idea of how such a total work of art would later sound.
After the concert, there were flowers for the orchestra and a certificate from the Waldorf 100 team for this outstanding achievement. The pupils will also be able to inspire listeners a second time around. On September 13, 2019 they will perform "Metamorphosis" at the big Hamburg Waldorf 100 Festival in the Laeiszhalle in front of an even larger audience - the composer Haihui Zhang will also attend the event.
For all those who can't wait until then, can soon listen to is a short recording of the performance here.
Different school projects for participating
International Teacher Exchange to Waldorf 100
As part of the Waldorf 100 Centenary year at the Rudolf Steiner School in Berlin-Dahlem they are organizing an international and multi-cultural teacher and co-worker exchange.
How is the Waldorf curriculum and pedagogical approach applied in other cultures? How do teachers and educators in countries with predominantly different religions deal with the religious character of Waldorf education? What new ideas can refresh and inspire our everyday school life?
On the occasion of the anniversary year, such an exchange of valuable experience can come about through numerous personal contacts giving each participant unique insight into other "Waldorf cultures". The organizers are convinced that the exchange will contribute to growing understanding and tolerance, strengthen the Waldorf vision while offering a chance to maintain a modern and vital characteristic in our educational efforts.
Just imagine the possibilities: Mrs. X from Sekem recites verses from the Koran with a 10th class of the Dahlem School, while Mr.Y from Berlin forges glowing iron with a class in Nairobi, or Mr. Z from Honolulu rehearses hula dances with an 8th class, while Mrs. Q from Berlin discusses aspects of nutritional science with students in São Paulo ... There is no limit to the possibilities and adventures on offer!
Through personal contacts and the experience of everyday life in schools around the world, new ideas can emerge and we may get inspiration for how diversely Waldorf education could develop in the course of the next 100 years!
An exchange is possible for numerous teachers and the exact timing will be organized to fit each individual case. The project is planned to run from 2019 to around 2022 with each exchange running for three to four weeks. Flight and accommodation can be financed by our school.
Interested colleagues are asked to send a written application to the school. An exchange school can also be proposed. All colleagues in the team are asked to support the organization of necessary substitutions; possible substitution solutions are to be attached to the application.
All colleagues participating in the exchange are jointly responsible for the introduction and support of the arriving colleagues who ideally will have the possibility of private accommodation within the school community.
Colleagues from other schools and other countries can also apply, they will be brought together with exchange partners.
For further information please contact the school!
CONNECT – international youth choir, eurythmy and orchestra project 2019
For the first time in 100 years the three big “Waldorf arts” are being connected in one youth project. 150 young people from all around the world can engage freely in the artistic process that is as important as the final outcome: at least two top-level stage performances. Amongst others, music pieces by Bach ("Nun ist das Heil"), by Brahms ("Schicksalslied") and by Tschaikowsky ("Ouvertüre Romeo und Julia") are scheduled in the program.
The participants can look forward to a project of exceptional artistic and pedagogical quality. At CONNECT the arts are equal amongst each other. Though, that is not all: the common work and the consequential understanding of others and of the arts results in true relationships between people. Relationships will be started that hold even beyond the project’s boundaries. The participants can get involved, they can push their boundaries, and by connecting with the others they are creating something new.
CONNECT does not only connect arts, but also people, cultures and visions. Further information and the application form are accessible on www.connect-project.art
The Waldorf Woodstock in its 100th year
Preparations for the big Waldorf Festival in Hamborn Castle (near Paderborn) are in full swing. From June 7th to June 10th 2019, exactly at Pentecost, we will be celebrating together under the motto: "Inspire. Collaborate. Create . " The Waldorf Festival welcomes people of all generations, families, friends and colleagues. A colorful and varied supporting program consisting of music, lectures, working groups, workshops, encounters, exchange and meals will be offered during these early summer days. We want to pause for a moment and, together with our cooperation partners, thoroughly examine the questions of our times and then return to our everyday lives strengthened, fulfilled and inspired.
Tickets and further information can be found here.
The world in our midst – Festival of Encounters
The Villingen-Schwenningen Waldorf School on the edge of the Black Forest is the center of the world for eleven days, and will celebrate with visitors from near and far in workshops and projects on art, music, culture, movement, crafts and culinary topics. Interested Waldorf pupils from all over the world are cordially invited to take part in this festival of encounters, and to contribute their own ideas or offer their own projects.
With the help of everybody, they will create a colorful backdrop for the event on the entire school grounds and in the centers of this double city. Experience the international Waldorf family for eleven days and be inspired by the creative potential all will shape together. We shall enjoy the evenings and nights as a community and camp directly on the school grounds.
- Artistic workshops: drawing, carving, watercolor painting, etc.
- Workshops: stone sculpting, Swedish fire
- Projects: music, dance and drama
- Courses: yoga, mindfulness exercises and meditation
- Video chatroom for worldwide exchanges
- The world as our guest: cuisine, language and culture
Beach cleaner: For a plasticfree world
The planet unfortunately suffers enormously under the flood of plastic garbage. We humans are using the world's seas as rubbish dumps. The problem is not only the direct illegal disposal of waste, a large part of the plastic waste in the sea (80 percent!) comes from inland and finds its way via rivers to the coasts and into the ocean.
Anne Mäusbacher has founded the Beachcleaner project in cooperation with the Rudolf Steiner School Nuremberg in order to make a contribution to this problem. Together, garbage is collected near the water to stop its inflow into the sea. Besides, they also want to talk about alternatives to plastic in daily life and how to avoid garbage in the first place, e.g. by changing our shopping habits, true to the Waldorf 100 motto: Learn to change the world!
Find out more about this project here.
Hermes Olympic Games
Peacemaking skills, tolerance and social balance: For 20 years, the Hermes Olympic Games have been committed to these goals as a cultural and sporting event. For Waldorf 100 we now go one step further.
Two days of culture and sport
The Hermes Olympic Games originated from the pedagogical approach of the Rudolf Steiner schools. In 2019 Waldorf Education will be 100 years young! The year 2019 is also a personal anniversary for us: for the 20th time we are organizing an unforgettable sports day for the fifth-grade classes. That is why we want to take the two anniversaries as an opportunity to go one step further. All participants are invited to spend two days together in May 2019 to experience sport and culture. On the first day, the focus is on culture. The school classes show scenes from Greek lessons on the open-air stage. And there's music and surprises. After spending the night together in large, beautiful Chapiteau tents, the second day is dedicated to the Hermes Olympic Games.
Passing on the Olympic spirit
In ancient times all weapons had to rest during the Olympic Games. The games were times of peace in which one measured oneself according to sporting rules. The Hermes Olympic Games take up this spirit and have passed it along year after year since 1999. About 1,000 fifth-grade pupils from all over Switzerland and neighboring countries take part every year. At the games they do not compete against each other, but measure themselves against each other. This is why all pupils in a class participate, no matter how strong or weak they are. Disabled children are also invited.
We want to build bridges using our common experiences, so that mutual respect can be practiced playfully. This seems enormously important to us in this day and age. That is why children from different classes and school types are mixed at our events. Friendship, overcoming language barriers, sportsmanship with fairness, the joy of playing and concern for the environment are important issues for us. In 2003 we received an award from Buwal (Swiss Federal Office for Forests and Landscape) and Swiss Olympic Prix Ecosport as an ecologically and pedagogically valuable sporting event.
Here you can find out more about the project, contact person is: Benjamin Sailer
You can find many more great projects on the world map on our website!
Three questions to ... Moises Arcos from the Nina Pacha School in Ecuador
A portrait of the highest Waldorf school in the world
Ecuador's capital Quito fascinates with many superlatives. The sloping runway at Mariscal Sucre Airport is considered one of the most difficult in the world, the historic Old Town was the first city to be awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation, and Quito, at 2,850 meters above sea level, is the highest capital and second highest city in the world. It's no wonder that the highest Waldorf school can also be found in one of the Andean valleys of Quito. But how does the faculty actually teach and the students learn at an altitude of 2,680 meters? Moises Arcos, head of the Nina Pacha Education Community (CENIP) in Quito answers to our questions.
1. What is special about your school and what are its pedagogical focuses?
An essential aspect for us is that Waldorf education goes hand in hand with the rhythms and experiences of the Andes world. Therefore our own cultural identity plays an important role and we integrate all that live in the Andean culture and in connection with "Pachamama" (Mother Earth) and with all other beings, which also shows itself in how we nourish ourselves with food.
Another important focus is the lived inclusion in which children with disabilities or learning problems are fully integrated into their classes. They are seen as great teachers for the entire community and are respectfully and lovingly accompanied in their individual processes. At present, 170 pupils attend our school: 93 boys and 77 girls, including 14 children with physical disabilities, 32 children with learning difficulties, and 18 teachers and administrative staff.
2. Isn't the air "up there" quite thin to do eurythmy every day?
As our school is located in a valley, it is situated at an altitude of 2,680 meters above sea level. If you aren't used to it, you can feel the first physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, tiredness and loss of appetite at altitudes as low as 1,500 meters. From an altitude of more than 2,100 meters above sea level, oxygen saturation in the blood begins to drop dramatically, and from 2,500 meters above sea level, other signs of altitude sickness may appear, such as vomiting and dehydration. But the human body has short- and long-term adaptability, so that those who come from lower regions generally are fine after about three days in the higher altitude. For example, we once visited a German eurythmy teacher who worked with teachers and parents for one and a half hours a day for a week: everything went smoothly for her and her participants. And for us, who live here permanently, there are no problems at all with sport, dance, eurythmy, or other physical activities.
3. How would you like to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Waldorf Education at your school?
We want to organize a hike to connect the Waldorf community in Ecuador. The focus is on the common path and respect for the individuality of each single institution. We are also planning various meetings with other initiatives and encounters with people interested in Waldorf education to discover similarities. We met for the first time in October 2018 and baked bread together and prepared "Colada morada", a typical Ecuadorian dessert with a purple color, consisting of black corn flour and fruits. Another meeting in December 2018 was about each initiative telling its story and getting to know each other better. In March 2019 we want to talk about the daily, weekly, monthly and annual rhythms that play a role in Waldorf Schools. Finally, in September 2019, we will celebrate our anniversary in Nina Pacha by planting trees and sowing native plants, thus contributing to biodiversity.
Further information about the school
School founding: August 2008
Number of students from the school year 2018/19: 170
International Student Conference
@Youth Section at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland
International Pedagogical Conference
Waldorf 100 Centenary Conference 'First Teacher Course'
@Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland
Aspiring class teachers must follow their second human being – Educational article
By Claus-Peter Röh (Source: Erziehungskunst 02/2014)
“What actually makes a good teacher?” asks Claus-Peter Röh, head of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum.
A student finished her studies in great anticipation of starting her dream job – becoming a class teacher in a Waldorf school.Six months after school had started, she said: “ There’s something you didn’t tell us about in the seminar: it really is a roller-coaster ride! No day is like the next and sometimes I just don’t know how I’m going to survive. But it is the greatest job there is.” In response to the question what impressed him most, a young teacher answered: “The high expectations of the children, that is something quite real – it supports me and at the same time constantly challenges me as a human being.”
The question “how do I become a good teacher?” was posed by young teachers in the working group of a colloquium. Two things seemed essential to them: good preparation of the subject provides the tools for a lesson. But whether or not the subject comes to life in the class, whether or not the pupils open up and can connect with the content out of inner interest, depends on how the teacher tackles the teaching situation as a human being.
Teachers must immerse themselves in what is happening as complete human beings and yet use a method with critical awareness which aims at understanding, challenging and supporting the pupils in their respective stages of development.
In each lesson inner values, attitudes and abilities are transformed into concrete outer actions. Conversely what happens in a lesson can, with the corresponding training, have a reciprocal effect on the teacher’s inner attitude.
Harmony of education and self-education
The more teachers succeed in strengthening the harmony between inner attitude and outer action through work on themselves, the more self-assured they become as they face the class: children can sense abilities which their educators have worked to obtain in their own right. An anecdote told about Mahatma Gandhi provides a good illustration of this link: he once told a mother who asked him to tell her child to stop eating so many sweets that she should come back in three months, then he would have a word with her son. And so it happened. After he had talked with the boy, the mother asked him why these simple words had taken him three months. To which he responded that he had first had to overcome his own liking for sweets.
Gandhi here points to a fundamental law of education. Adults must first have obtained by their own work what the child is to learn from them. Rudolf Steiner also spoke about his law, even if in a much more differentiated way. Because the next highest component of the human being always acts on the preceding lower one. That applies to self-education, but also to education.
The level of the child: The impact level of the educator:
Physical body Etheric or life body
Etheric or life body Astral or sentient body
Astral or sentient body I
I Spirit self
The validity of this law can be seen in many different ways of everyday teaching: Through convictions which they have obtained for themselves, kindergarten teachers work through their astral body and their etheric-rhythmic lifeforces to act down into the organization of the etheric-physical lifeforces of growth: the more there is an atmosphere of security, attentiveness and closeness, and the children feel supported by the adults, the better they can grow and thrive.
When at the time of the change of teeth the child’s etheric life forces are transformed into new abilities of memory, imagination and creativity, class and subject teachers can best reach and develop these strong etheric forces of learning through the abilities of their own astral body. Striking up a song, speaking the morning verse, grasping a movement, perception of the pupils in each teaching situation, guiding written work and the feeling for language when telling a story: each of these activities is introduced and determined in its quality by the transformative astral body penetrated by the I.
If subsequently during puberty the sentient power of the astral body is released, class and subject teachers must change their attitude: now the pupils explicitly or implicitly expect the stronger engagement of the teacher’s I, be it organizationally or in attentiveness. Adolescents notice and mirror watchfully whether and how the adults guide the ship of school and how they react to unexpected situations.
We can positively influence all these levels of activity as teachers through self-education: the pupils experience us as learners if we work as educators on our own development as human beings. That part of the growing person which wants to develop by virtue of its own strength finds orientation and encouragement through what the teacher achieves in himself or herself. In this way self-education and education harmonize in the course of the eight-years that a class teacher is in charge of a class.
The Danish Waldorf teacher Holger Mellerup said in a discussion about the self-education of the class teacher that anyone who develops with the pupils in the course of those years, and also lives through the stormy and challenging times of classes 7 and 8, acquires human forces of, for example, courage and modesty which help him or her to become a beloved authority in the next class 1.
The inner advisor
If we look at the human biography from the perspective of self-education, we can discover some impressive things. Johann Gottlieb Fichte held the view: “No person on earth has the right to leave their strengths unused and live through someone else’s strengths. Human beings acquire all their strengths through the struggle with and overcoming themselves. The will is the sole reality.”
If we read in contemporary accounts how powerfully Fichte presented his ideas at Berlin University, the outer side of this “philosopher of the will” becomes evident. But the source of that outer strength lay deep within him. He wrote about the voice of conscience: “To listen to it, to obey it without fear and sophistry in honesty and without partiality, that is my sole destiny, that is the purpose of my whole existence. My life stops being an empty act without truth and meaning.”
By turning to this inner instance “without fear and sophistry”, Fichte touched his “spirit self”. It stands as a spiritual force of the future – like a watching companion – still higher than the "I". In everyday school life, this force, which is not externally visible but has a strong inner effect, can be clearly noticed in pupils and teachers: be it in the middle of a lesson, be it directly afterwards or during the review in the evening or the next morning – frequently a factual, loving and incorruptible inner voice makes itself heard which notes what could have been done still differently and better in our own actions. If teachers practice an awareness of this voice, this wiser, higher human being in themselves and accept such knowledge of their own imperfection, they can then draw new impulses for their teaching from that. In the lectures in The Study of Man, Rudolf Steiner encourages the first Waldorf teachers to listen to this “second human being”: “But the human being who additionally lives in you, that second human being, always develops – not in the thinking now, but in the will – a clear picture of the way he would act a second time round if he were in a position to do things again. Do not underestimate this second human being who lives in you.”
The balance between inner and outer attentiveness
Teachers can try in various ways to perceive this inner human being. If, for example, the review of the lesson and our own actions becomes a good habit, new impulses and intentions for the next lesson can arise. A further enhancement is meditation: focusing completely on one thought for a short period in the day out of our own resolution and strength requires a great deal of self-control and effort. After this has been done for a while, we can increasingly experience an inner strength which supports us in our concentration. The more the meditation begins to carry itself, the greater the freedom with which we can then focus our attention on the pictorial or verbal content.
Such concentration gives rise to an initially surprising consequence for the way we encounter external everyday events: the pleasure in the perception of these outer events grows. Our interest increases in the way in which one pupil creates her own artistic piece of work, in which another pupil formulates his own question or in the atmosphere in which a class takes in a new account of something. This oscillation between inner and outer leads us – despite all the uncertainty and worry – to anticipate with increasing pleasure the next lesson and what it may bring.
The directors of such a creative balance are the teachers working on the harmony between education and self-education.
About the author: Claus-Peter Röh was a class teacher and also taught music and religion for 28 years at the Flensburg Free Waldorf School; today he leads the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach with Florian Osswald