“Interest can only come from what we gain by showing interest in the great needs and the great tasks of our time.” Rudolf Steiner
Welcome to our fortnightly newsletters sharing progress for our charity’s aims, and spanning a broad spectrum of ambition; from future schools and teacher trainings, to promoting access and inclusion for Waldorf Education, and celebrating creativity not just as a skill but a core human attribute.
As shared in our last newsletter, we are about to undertake a number of Listening Posts to hear those aspirations for how an independent Waldorf school in the Stroud area might best be founded.
Over the winter of 2021/2022 we undertook a concerted review of the immediate viability of such a school and took the hard decision to pause any immediate plans. Within that was a commitment to continue to work towards a new school locally, and these forums will be an essential part of that process.
In the first instance, we are looking forward to the first of these evenings, to be held in Stroud’s Old Town Hall on Wednesday 28th September between 7.30 and 9.00pm. By hosting this forum in Stroud town centre, we are not only acknowledging the sadness surrounding the sale of Wynstones’ school site in Whaddon, but also the geography of the local interest in Steiner Waldorf education, and how it is clearly centred around Stroud and the surrounding valleys. One of the key elements emerging from the research over the winter of 2021/2022, was that being able to walk to nursery, kindergarten and school was a key factor in parental choice. One of the other elements to this research was an expected values-led aspect to the desired culture of any future school, with the attached ‘play-kind-children-learn’ wordart showing the principal themes that emerged from prospective parents’ comments.
If you are local to Stroud (or intend to be) and have children who may be of school-age over these next few years, please do join us on Wednesday 28th September between 7.30 and 9.00pm. [Subsequent forums will provisionally be held on 30th November and 25th January, with adjustments being made / additional sessions scheduled according to levels of interest and any more specific needs.] Paul and Natasha will be accompanied at each of these evenings by one of the charity’s trustees, as well as reaching out to other local school provisions within our community in order to co-ordinate, consult, and determine the best way forward.
As we continue to expand our teaching team of Waldorf educators for the pioneering cohort on the PG Dip this coming October, the essence and extent of Waldorf education as an inclusive movement is in the process of being usefully and powerfully renewed.
With just a few years having past since the movement celebrated its centenary, new conversations are taking place which focus on the role of education amidst a cultural crisis that wrestles with inclusion, anti-racism and climate as what Steiner might now have described as the ‘tasks of our time.’
There are many beacons guiding us in how we on the programme team will be undertaking such conversations with students on the course, as well as with colleagues within and beyond our movement.
Close to home, the substantial work being undertaken by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship within the UK is providing many new opportunities for educators to embrace a culturally contemporary expression of Waldorf Education.
Further afield, organisations such as the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley are pioneering radical and real approaches to ‘transforming structural marginalization and inequality’ and influencing many approaches to social transformation, not least in global programmes of teacher education.
Within our community, Dr Constanza Kaliks, who with Philipp Reubke co-heads the Education Section at the Goetheanum in Switzerland (the headquarters for the General Anthropsophical Society), has described the personal challenge of such transformational work by asking ‘Can I make an inner active sacrifice so that the being of the other can express itself?’ This in many ways echoes the call of Reni Eddo-Lodge to antidote the ‘emotional disconnect’ that is often present when experiences of inequality are called to be witnessed, with the ‘creativity, passion and drive’ that is needed to champion these tasks of our time and their impact within classrooms.
These attributes are being brought readily to the table by our expanding teaching team for this first year of the programme and will clearly have a palpable and positive impact within the classrooms and staffrooms of the schools from which students come.
Related News Posts...
December 2023 Newsletter - Theory of Change
January 2023 Newsletter - Underlying principles embody a high quality of education that is relevant for our time
November 2022 Newsletter - Future school listening posts, what we heard in September, our plans for November: Underlying Principles & Preparing the Way
October 2022 Newsletter - Future school; cultivating the conditions for its success, and doing so in partnership with prospective parents and colleagues.