A book is now available - consolidates and updates much of the past content of this website
Available from Steiner Books or Amazon
Dear friends, about 8 years ago, I started this website as a way to collect and offer articles and resources that came to me from time to time during my teaching at Aurora Waldorf School, at the teacher development courses offered by the Association for a Healing Education, and during my independent summer intensives and workshop visits to other schools. This past year I picked back through all of this semi-organized material and put it into a more coherent format. As a result, a new book titled Educating for Balance and Resilience is now available from Steiner Books/Bell Pond Press. Because it incorporates updated/improved versions of many of the articles that have been on this website, I will be deleting some of the content you've found here in the past, leaving only items that are not in the book. But the remaining content definitely makes a good supplement to the book. Please use the contact page if you have questions or comments about this.
Jumping rope supports academic and athletic foundations
A guide to early skill development
Jumping rope is such a popular childhood pastime all around the world that it may escape attention just how beneficial this activity can be for the physiological development of growing children, as well as for a school’s academic program. During this period of social distancing it’s especially important to note that jump rope routines can still provide a great curriculum cornerstone. Classes can work in distanced stations with individual ropes, to learn and practice skills and tricks – perhaps even without masks if there is enough space outdoors. And when/where appropriate, groups of three taking turns in long-rope or double dutch skills can maintain at least six feet of separation. Distance restrictions aside, regular periods of learning and practicing in the early grades will always provide your students with a “super boost” of capacity-strengthening benefits, including increased focus and self-regulation, and deeper organization for writing, reading and math capacities. In short, vigorous activity sets the stage for quiet learning.
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Myths, Legends, Fables,
Stories and Heroes:
Keeping What’s Important
The Waldorf Literature Sequence as
Armament for the Challenges of Life
Many North American Waldorf schools are working on thoughtful reviews of their canon of literary content from early childhood through high school. A knotty task: so many important considerations and viewpoints! Based on the research outlined below, I would offer the thought that “the more things need to change, the more they need to stay the same!” By this I mean that, absolutely, the sources do need a careful 21st century look at ways to bring in greater cultural diversity than was envisioned in 1919.
However, the deepest layer of a school’s literature list, as it progresses from fairy tale, fable, myth and legend to modern biography and history, needs to maintain certain values if it is to continue to do the best possible job of helping to prepare students for life. This deepest layer could be defined as the universal motifs or archetypes, the soul-feeding qualities represented within the plots and characters.
I hope you’ll find it useful to hear about this topic of deeper meanings, of archetypes. We'll look at a comparison of the writings and lectures on this subject from two contemporaries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Rudolf Steiner, who founded Waldorf Education and many other movements; and Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. These provide a lens on the ways that oral and then written literature have always, since the beginning of time, reflected the unfolding of human consciousness and our universal attempts to find meaning in life. The Waldorf literature track reflects this historical evolution of consciousness, and also supports the way (the same way) that the consciousness of today’s children in fact continues to unfold year by year.
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Juggling - Steps to success
Distance learning environments take away many possibilities for the development of eye-hand coordination. Linked below are: a video of a juggling progression, and an instruction sheet. Since most students will not have juggling balls at home, I offer an easy homemade alternative that works very well.
Coming in October 2021:
a new course for class and remedial teachers...
Whole Class Enrichment: Rethinking the elements
of a balanced day
Offered via the Association for a Healing Education (AHE), this course will guide participants to personal mastery of a broad repertoire of methods for strengthening student capacities; to return to their schools ready to provide an innovative and effective whole-class or even whole-school approach. The ultimate goal is to prepare attendees to inspire and support a school-wide culture in which all teachers know the reasons for and practicalities of developmental activities for the whole class; to learn the activities themselves and then to help other teachers become inspired. This could be as simple as setting a personal example in one’s class, or as extensive as adding a formal position for Enrichment Classes to the school’s program. The course will focus on hands-on learning, devoting more than 20 hours to classroom activities participants can take back to their schools ready to work with and research.
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in the grades
An outline of suggested
goals & ingredients
Here is a very abbreviated outline of the fullest spectrum of student support program elements that a school may wish to build up over time. Expanded detail for this approach is in “Educating for Balance and Resilience”.
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The Pandemic & the “Pedagogical Law”
Helping each other
in times of stress
Our time on Earth may include a multitude of joys and pleasures, but the facts of life are that all sorts of individual struggles will be frequent, and then death is eventually a universal experience. The COVID pandemic has created a time when all are suffering together (some more, some less, but none unaffected). A global crisis thus unlike any other we’ve experienced is by nature especially disorienting. I guess you could say it’s “normal to think, say or do normally abnormal things under this type of pressure”. How can we help each other re-find our higher selves?
Rudolf Steiner’s “pedagogical law” – together with his description of the fourfold human being – offers a clear lens on the nature and facets of such shared disorientation, and on how we can help each other to better cope with the emotional aspects of this or any other dramatically changed life circumstances.
Feelings of stress and disorientation are the result of disruption of our “finer bodies” as described by Steiner. Our etheric body, also commonly known as our habit body or body of life forces, is under attack, with sleep problems, upsets to daily rhythms or diet, effects of increased screen time, etc. Our astral body, the body of motion and emotion, is pushed and pulled in many ways, including changes in exercise, reduced socialization, and all the pendulum swings of grieving as described by Maslow. Our ego body, our “self-image”, may be presented with great changes and challenges every single day.
Faith, Love and Hope
In various venues near the end of 1911, Steiner delivered a two-lecture presentation entitled “Faith, Love and Hope: The Third Revelation.” In the first of these, he makes a very meaningful and useful declaration about the anthroposophic terminology most often used to label the finer bodies.
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