Newsletter November 2017
Dear global Waldorf community,
"Learn to change the world" is the motto that guides us in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia and the Pacific region in our preparations for the centennial in 2019. It is also the title of our first film, which has already been viewed more than half a million times and has since received subtitles in eleven languages. We are particularly pleased about this, since it shows that Waldorf education can triumph over geographic, political, cultural, economic or ideological limits by focusing on people. This amazing success gives us courage to continue working with this medium in the future. We are especially delighted by the increasing number of innovative ideas and initiatives for own projects that Steiner/Waldorf schools are sending us from all around the world.
One of these is the KinderSinnesGarten (Children's Garden of Senses) from Wahlwies on Lake Constance, which we will describe to you below. Related to this, we want to encourage you warmly to start your own environmental project in your school or kindergarten and send us your project idea! It will apear on our Waldorf 100 world map as an "Ecological Project" and has a green pin. There you can also get an overview about all the places where Waldorf students already actively take care for their environment. Due to us, a project like this can be a wonderful possibility for students to deal with the (environmental) problems of our times in a positive way by making their own experiences.
Since 1994, WOW Day has been one of our worldwide activities, where our pupils can earn a great deal of money, now for the 23rd time. They use these funds to make it possible for other children to attend a school or a kindergarten and thus sometimes also to have a hot meal provided by the Friends of Waldorf Education. Since the 20th anniversary, the event is always an especially long "WOW-Day" that extends from Michaelmas to the 29th of November, and this time claims "do-gooders wanted!". Further information is provided here.
There is so much to report – some of it only in this Newsletter, but much more on our website, with even more to be found in your own brainstorming efforts. The countdown is running: until we cross that beautiful bridge, which we are all building together by deepening and living our educational impulse between the past and the coming century, until the day of our worldwide festival on September 19, 2019 it is still 670 days to come.
Enjoy reading and continuing to collect ideas,
your Waldorf 100-Team from Hamburg!
Core projects – Marathon around the world
(VS) The marathon around the world is the sport project of Waldorf 100, because sport inspires people while also conveying the basic idea of Waldorf 100: to connect the world. Whether we all start the big relay race on the same day, or instead conduct many different Waldorf Olympiads, is up to us. For one big goal? Or many small goals? No matter which, then the sport project can be carried out in a great diversity of ways. It's best to do such events in line with regional circumstances, thus also providing plenty of creative scope for each school. We will tell you about three variants we've come up with below. But of course you can expand these however you like, remodel them, or pursue your own separate ideas about the jubilee sport effort, since according to the Olympic principle, aside from healthy competition the main point is simply taking part.
Variant 1: Relay race
The relay race involves carrying a symbolic object from school to school, so that in the end a long race over a great distance has been covered by many runners. The actual length of the race depends on how many schools participate in the idea. It can range from one day to a whole year – everything is possible.
Variant 2: Star race
One day – one race! And each school is a star. On one day the young athletes of all schools all move towards one point in space, in the shape of a star. Whether towards water or towards land, every kind of movement is allowed. When everyone has reached the finish line, there will be a big festival showing the great diversity of Waldorf education.
Variant 3: Sport festival
Sport unites the world! And not only by running races. You can conduct a big sport festival at your school, including many disciplines. The spirit of international understanding and cohesion among peoples comes alive in this Waldorf Olympiad. Invite other schools from your neighborhood, or from anywhere else in the world, and celebrate a joint sport festival together with others.
Kindergarten projects – Children's "Garden of Senses"
(CMS) For the past three years there has been a children's "Garden of Senses" close to Lake Constance in Stockach-Wahlwies, where children can learn from and with the flora and fauna, and discover their diversity while still in early childhood. When sowing, planting onions, digging in the soil, harvesting and exploring natural processes in a child's playful way, children learn how everything is connected to each other. A main focus is the work with bumblebees and wild bees, for which the children build individual nesting aids, and then observe their colonization and the busy visits to the many different kinds of flowers in the garden, while consciously experiencing this year with the bees.
Especially for the Waldorf Jubilee celebrating the Waldorf education centennial in 2019, the honeybee is the focus for everyone involved. Children, parents, and educators will come together to plant hundreds of bee-friendly shrubs and bushes in the Children's Garden of Senses. Furthermore, the cooperation with the neighboring Waldorf School shall be intensified in horticulture classes, because some bee colonies are already settled there. In spring 2018, a highly interesting lecture will be held there with Dr. Frank Krumm within the framework of the KulturWerkstattSchule, titled "About trees and bees – what can we learn?". He is an expert in beekeeping in living trees, and in the production of log hives (human-built bee houses consisting of a hollowed tree trunk). At the beginning of 2019, before the bee year begins, an evening is also planned with the long-standing beekeeper Dr. Ulrich Miller, who will talk about ecological and appropriate beekeeping.
The Children's Garden of Senses (KinderSinnesGarten) in the Waldorfkindergarten Wahlwies
Contact persons: Susanne Kiener and Dr. Daniel Schaarschmidt-Kiener
Tel.: +49 (0)7738/938219
Three questions to… Tamara Henke
Tamara Henke was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is one of the founding teachers of Clara de Asís secondary school, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, where she still works as a literature teacher. She is also part of the organising team of the Latin-American Waldorf secondary school seminar in Buenos Aires. In 2012, together with a group of colleagues, she founded the Redes (networks) movement, which brings together Argentinian Waldorf schools.
How are the Waldorf schools in your country doing?
In Argentina, we have been working in developing a movement of Waldorf schools named Net ( Redes), which unites schools from different regions of our country and Uruguay. The spirit of the Net or Web, is to fortify the ties between impulses, generate encounters to meet and know about each other, looking for sharing different points of view, experiences and insights, and material to study or to use in the classroom.
It is the spirit of the encounter, to respect every impulse, as long as it follows the ideals of the Waldorf pedagogy. In order to do that, meetings, seminars, visits to schools, and encounters with experienced teachers, are proposed and organized, with the will to support new impulses, help in crisis, and, in general, to sustain Waldorf education.
On one hand, encounters to deepen in the subject of School readiness are taking place. A group of different professionals, teachers, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, have organized two meetings in which health and education have been dealt with, in order to debate and get deeper in the subject of the right age to enter elementary school, which determinates the whole process of the child´s development all through the school years, and sometimes, the child´s future. On the other hand, we have presented several projects and requests to the country education authorities, so that they allow exceptions to the rule that has only one criteria, the chronological age, with no regards for the biological, individual and pedagogical process of the child.
From all this movements and actions emerges the need to have a Waldorf Schools Federation, in which we are working hard.
Regarding a growing interest in getting to know Waldorf pedagogy in different areas of education, we have begun a dialogue with a variety of institutions devoted to education, explaining the bases of our pedagogy:
Speeches, class presentations and constant contributions to Inspectors, Principals and teachers from other schools or regions, have been given, whenever they were required.
We are open to show the way we work to all teacher training institutes, which are more and more interested in non-traditional forms of education.
Last but not least, this year, for the first time, we gathered high school students of four Waldorf schools in Buenos Aires, for them to benefit from lectures given from people who open new possibilities to today´s world problems: Two of them were dynamic organic farmers who work, one in urban agriculture, and the other in rural farming. The first develops a program for park-orchards on the shoulder of the roads, highways and railway areas, in Rosario City, Santa Fé, where, people in vulnerable situation can grow vegetables, organic medicinal plants and commercialize them in regional fairs. The second one, besides doing extensive organic agriculture, was an Argentine witness in the International prosecution to Monsanto, in The Hague, in 2016. He shared with the students the testimony witnesses from different countries and explained the current process of industrial agriculture. Constanza Caliks brought to the young people the subject of what forces are at work in today´s world, the origin of evil in the exclusion and rejecting of whatever is different. Joan Melé gave the students on money movement and fair banking business.
Does your school already have specific plans for the Waldorf 100 Anniversary?
In order to celebrate the 100 Anniversary of Waldorf Education in the world, we are gathering all seminars of the three septenniums, to show the development of the young children to adulthood, in the different impulses around the country.
The World Secondary School Conference will take place in Buenos Aires in February 2018. The young teenagers from all over the country will unite efforts in a Grand Orchestra and artistic shows.
Finally, as part of the Latin-American movement, all schools in Latin-America will celebrate the same day, generating a constellation that will sound at one, with every particular tone, uniting in our ideals.
How would you describe the essence of Waldorf pedagogy in a very personal way?
The essential of Waldorf Education is that, through a deep knowledge of the human being, educators can help each child to develop what is human in him/her, and his/her own individuality from within. The human image evolved from Antroposophy beats permanently in our relationship with the children and young people, through the pedagogical work in the classroom. We want to remark the plasticity of Waldorf education, which is completely valid today, in what the young generations need to develop in their future.
The essential of Waldorf pedagogy consists of its social value. Waldorf schools enhance community. Families participate actively in the school lives. At the same time, the pedagogy takes parents to their self-education. The Waldorf Education mission is to generate a new social relationship, that leads to the future social forms, which are achieved through interweaving the efforts of the adults, that is, parents and teachers.
International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education, Dornach, Switzerland
Waldorf 100@Waldorfseminar Hamburg, Germany
Waldorf 100@Freie Waldorfschule Haan-Gruiten, Germany
Waldorf 100@World School Conference in Córdoba and Buenos Aires, Argentina
Waldorf 100@Congres for young Waldorf teachers, Mannheim, Germany
The human being as seen by the spiritual science of anthroposophy
By Heinz Zimmerman (Published: Waldorf Recources, 2001)
Waldorf Education is one fruit of the spiritual science of anthroposophy as depicted by Rudolf Steiner (1861 - 1925) in very many books and lectures. This short article introduces some of the most basic parameters of Waldorf education.
Emil Molt, Director of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany, invited Steiner in 1919 to formulate ideas for a school for his workers' children based on the fundamentals of anthroposophy. As a result, the first "Waldorf" school was founded in September of the same year. In preparation Steiner gave basic seminars for the first group of teachers in which he explained the anthroposophical idea of the human being and gave suggestions as to didactic method. In subsequent years he enlarged on these seminars in various ways in lectures and courses given in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Britain. Some elements of that new school have meanwhile been adopted by mainstream education in various countries, e.g. the renunciation of marking systems for purposes of selection, the introduction of arts and crafts as educational tools, coeducation. Other elements, such as instruction in Latin, Greek and shorthand, were required subjects at the time and, as part of the curriculum, conformed with official regulations then in force in Germany. Much in the Waldorf curriculum has changed since those days. But the anthroposophical understanding of the human being remains the essential core of the education.
In the following we shall begin by giving an outline of this.
Steiner gave an aphoristic definition of what he meant by "anthroposophy" in the "leading thoughts" he formulated in 1924: "Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge which intends to lead what is spiritual in the human being to what is spiritual in the universe."
This sentence contains three core statements:
- There is a spiritual element in every human being
- The visible world around us is founded on something invisible which it is up to us to discover and research
- Anthroposophy is not a faith; it is an encouragement to tread a path of knowledge which is at the same time a path of self development, a path which energizes the individual's own spiritual powers.
Anthroposophy is thus a stimulus to follow this path of research in all the many and varied aspects of life. Education aims to help each individual develop independence step by step, so it follows that in this attitude of research Waldorf Education cannot be dogmatic since it can only arise where it is individually applied in situations of immediate encounter. In his fundamental essay "Independent Education and the Threefold Social Order" Steiner put this concisely:
"Whatever is to be taught and whatever education is to be practised must arise solely out of an understanding of the growing human being and his or her individual capacities. Genuine anthropology should provide the foundation for education and teaching." ("The Essentials of Education", 5 lectures, Stuttgart, 8-11 Apr 1924, GA 308)
As teachers it is our task above all to encourage what is hidden at the core of every human being: the individual capable of exercising independence. It is also our task to make sure that this can develop in a healthy way. To be able to do this we must be familiar with the developmental conditions which apply, since each unique individual brought to the earth from the prenatal realm manifests differently at different stages, thus necessitating different modes of approach.
© Copyright 2001 by Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e. V.