Our program prepares teachers and guide parents to foster the holistic development of our children’s new capacities of consciousness; capacities that inspire our children to stand into their own lives with courage, imagination, integrity and love; capacities that can yield solutions to the challenges presented in the world now and in the future.
Classes meet on Friday from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm and on Saturdays from 8:30am until 3:15pm. In order to complete our program, all the students must take two Summer Intensive Weeks, complete two student practicums, and one final research project prior graduation.
– We are a three year program that features different components: Foundational and Artistic classes, Curriculum classes, and Early Childhood Curriculum classes
– Foundation and Curriculum courses are provided simultaneously during the same year.
– Every term (Fall, Winter and Spring) has 10 weekends. One weekend is a festival, and another one is a focus weekend. Classes will be held during 8 weekends to provide space for these additional opportunities to deepen specific areas.
– The focus weekends are designed to address specific topics in depth and may be open to the public.
– All the students will work together in a collaborative setting and all will attend the same courses. This will encourage more interaction between students and will allow for second and third year students to exercise more leadership.
– Parallel classes will run for students in their third year who will be preparing for teaching practice, and focusing on a specific areas (Grades or Early Childhood).
FOUNDATIONAL AND ARTISTIC CLASSES
This introduction to Steiner’s art of movement is meant to awaken the student to the movements inherent in language and music. We will explore how in eurhythmy the entire human being becomes the instrument of the creative word and tone.
Music Curriculum and Singing
We will explore the Waldorf Music curriculum through joyful singing of old and new songs, some done with the flexibility of improvisation that enhances the teacher’s preparation.
Folkdance in the classroom
Just what is folkdancing? Rhythm, musicality, structure, spatial awareness, shared motion, body awareness, cultural awareness, social skills, listening, soul life, and so much more. Like plain, good, physical fun. For a Waldorf teacher, folkdance serves many purposes. It helps ground children, helps teachers assess student development, makes curriculum come alive (think Greek dances, for example), and can be a jumping off point for explorations into many subject areas. You will learn basic folkdances and how to present these in the classroom as well as how to analyse and break down a dance into simple teachable structures. Some dances demand full control of one’s feet, others focus on physical interactions with other dancers. Some odd time rhythms will be presented as well. Get ready to dance with Jutta & the Hi-Dukes ™!
Early Childhood and Lower Grades Music
The main focus of this class will be to learn how to play the pentatonic Choroi flute and to understand the “Mood of the 5th” which R. Steiner recommended as a teaching tool for children from birth to nine years old. The students will also be introduced to the pentatonic Lyre and learn how to write simple pentatonic songs.
Woodworking class offers students an opportunity to sculpt concave and convex forms and experience seeing and feeling true tangible beauty as a result of their hard work and commitment. Using hand tools like the rasp and gouge, students create functional, beautiful objects, including spoons and bowls.
Awakening the intelligence of the hand is implicit in all artistic practice. In modeling the primary focus is on exploring aspects of learning developed and integrated from a tactile perspective. Each student works on an independent sculpture in soapstone or alabaster, learning the language of form. Through a developmental series of exercises using materials and themes appropriate to each grade we explore principles of curriculum development and discuss the differentiated effects of modeling on students of different ages. Practical issues of storage, cleaning and organization of the class are also discussed. Beeswax, plasticine, clay, and stone are some of the materials used. Each student keeps a journal of the class incorporating sketches of their work as well as their own experiences and curriculum ideas.
Basic movement principles such as they relate to Steiner’s view of human development will be practiced. Posture, classroom management, movement observation and spatial configuration are elements to be explored in active participation.
Human beings are sense-beings who relate to the outer world through their sense-organism. This course seeks to explore the circle of sensory experience in its 12-fold nature, as described by Steiner. Through studying A. Soesman’s book, “Our Twelve Senses”, we will discover some of the mysteries of human development based on Steiner’s research and contribution to spiritual psychology.
An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man, Rudolf Steiner gives a precise introduction to many of the fundamental concepts that underlie his life work, Anthroposophy. Following upon a comprehensive description of the human being composed of body, soul, and spirit, Steiner develops the idea of destiny and reincarnation, reveals different ways in which human existence unfolds after life on earth, and concludes with a succinct description of the path of knowledge by which each one of us can develop for ourselves the capacities required to experience the phenomena that he describes.
Myth and Storytelling
The art of storytelling stands at the foundation of all Waldorf teaching. Through story students develop imagination, capacity and skills for learning. A Waldorf teacher leads students to a world of rich inner pictures where the archetypes of truth, beauty and goodness are met. In this course we will learn and practice the art of storytelling. We will also explore the relationship between the evolution of consciousness and the story curriculum. We will take a look at the deeper meaning behind the fairy tales and will move through the archetypal stories that shape the curriculum of a Waldorf school.
Biography and Parsifal
This compelling book shows us how Parsifal, as the archetypal hero, undertakes the challenges of initiation. He suffers through and learns from his ordeals and failures, as we all must. Initiation is an ongoing life process beginning at adolescence and re-emerging at significant turning points. This leads to greater human consciousness and transformation of the self, if we are willing to take the risks it calls for. Course work will include instructor and student presentation, creative writing and illustration.
Knowledge of Higher Worlds
In this course we will examine the path developed by Rudolf Steiner in his book How to Know Higher Worlds. In this work Steiner gives exercises and meditation techniques that are designed to deepen, strengthen and ultimately open the human soul to an objective reality beyond the physical senses. Throughout the book Steiner emphasizes how the development of inner integrity, sound judgment, and a discerning intellect are essential for reliable knowledge at this level of experience.
Philosophy of Freedom/Intuitive thinking as a Spiritual Path
This foundational text establishes the epistemological basis for all of Steiner’s subsequent work. Steiner develops a basis on which to transcend the limits to knowledge asserted for modern consciousness by Kant. In his Philosophy of Freedom, he develops a view of intuitive thinking and its far-reaching consequences from a phenomenological standpoint, that is, from the standpoint of what can be experienced first-hand.
Skills such as knitting and natural dyeing give an introduction to textiles in a hands-on way. Discussions cover development of the will, enhancing physical and mental dexterity and an understanding of how and why these skills are practiced in Waldorf schools.
The soul element of the world expresses itself in the essence of color. Personal observation and painting exercises provide experiences to enliven, develop and characterize the “movement of soul” awakened by colors. Study of the Waldorf elementary grades curriculum offers many artistic themes from fairy tales in first grade to the age of revolutions in eighth grade. Painting in the Waldorf Schools is not an isolated class, but an integrated part of the whole curriculum. Students will choose and develop a theme from the curriculum to explore through painting.
Specific drawing techniques, and work on chalkboards, develop a sense of form and movement for the prospective Waldorf teacher. This seemingly simple drawing practice establishes a deep feeling for order and harmony that balances an actively moving energy.
The new art of creative speech seeks to involve language with the poetic element that naturally belongs to it. Healthy breathing techniques and fundamentals of poetry will be included. Individual instruction and independent practice will also be required. There is an emphasis on the three speech elements in order to establish style in recitation and storytelling.
It is through the study of recorder that the adult with no prior musical training may enter not only into the world of reading notes and rhythms, but also into the beginnings of learning to master a musical instrument. This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of note reading and musical articulation and to develop the musical sensitivity of prospective teachers. The disciplines of practice at home for individual growth as well as learning to play within the group are emphasized.
We will continue to develop the skills learned in Recorder I with an emphasis on the capacity to sight-read simple tunes with confidence and to explore more complicated key signatures and time signatures. In addition to recorder materials one would use in the classroom, we also play material for adult beginners to experience the joy of playing music together in class.
An artistic understanding of the child is the basis for all teaching, no matter what age group. Childhood is the integration of physical with spiritual and soul development, and this integration process needs to be understood by the teacher. Material from several sources will be read and used for discussion, as well as actual observations of children at various stages of development.
The festival life is an important aspect of every Waldorf teacher. The four seasons not only represent times of outer change in the physical world, but the impact of the cycle of nature has a deep impact on our inner life. As we examine the festivals that are celebrated at the change of seasons, we will look beyond the physical and examine the effect of the cosmos on the inner life of the human being. In addition to studying the cycle of the year, we will also plan festivals and bring them to life for the Arcturus community.
Study of Man
This course will examine Steiner’s essential ideas about the developmental education of the child from birth through adulthood. Aspects of contemporary research will also be discussed. Course work will include student presentation, review, discussion and an independent artistic piece.
The Music Curriculum course covers the songs and music that accompanies the Morning Lesson curriculum for grades 1 – 8. In addition to this song material, music from the pentatonic flute (grades 1 and 2) and recorder curriculum (grades 3 – 8) are also included. As the materials are presented, work continues on the basic musicianship skills of reading notes and rhythms and using the singing voice in a healthy manner.
In this course we will study fundamental principles that underlie the teaching of mathematics in the grade school. As such we consider the place and importance of mathematics in unfolding the humans capacity of thinking; we will explore the use of imagination to introduce new concepts; how one understands and applies the principle of teaching from the whole to parts; how one rightly understands and applies the idea of remembering and forgetting; and how one can transform dead concept into lively gesture, movement, games, and images. We will seek to understand how all of the above must transform in accordance to the needs of the developing child and follow the interweaving and mutually supportive threads of arithmetic, geometry, measurement, and number wonder through the grades. Finally, we will explore samples of lesson content from each block, teacher preparation, lesson structure, and appropriate expectations of students.
In this course we will continue to work on developing and broadening our storytelling skills to meet the developing child throughout the grades. We will learn how the language arts curriculum stands on the foundation of storytelling and how it provides the basis for learning how to write, read, and to develop grammar skills. We will explore how language arts skills can be transformed from abstract concepts into imaginative pictures and meaningful activities. Pedagogical stories and birthday verses will also be explored.
The Waldorf School as an Organism
This course will explore aspects of working administratively in a Waldorf School. Topics will include Rudolf Steiner’s three-fold social order in society and its relationship to Waldorf education, leadership styles and decision making models, Waldorf School “self-administration,” evaluation, mentoring and supervision, communication and working with conflict. Special attention will be given to the anthroposophical and spiritual task of administration in a Waldorf School. The course will not prescribe how to manage or administer a school; rather engage participants’ thinking towards the question of how a school organization functions as a living organism.
This course is intended to help future teachers to detect and deal with possible learning difficulties in students ranging from early childhood through high school, with the concentration on the early grades and solutions that can be done for the whole class. This will be done keeping in mind the development of the child according to Rudolf Steiner, via movement, reading, drawing and painting.
In this course we will study the science blocks taught in Waldorf schools from grades 1-8, with emphasis on physics, chemistry, and the earth sciences in grades 6-8. Stress will be placed upon what is meant by “the phenomenological approach” to science, and how one practically unfolds this approach in class. Attention will be given to what is age-appropriate, and developmentally necessary. We will explore samples of lesson content from each block, teacher preparation, lesson structure, and appropriate expectations and evaluation of student work. Participants will be asked to prepare a sample three-fold lesson from one of the blocks covered in the course.
Gardening is one of the ways in which children can develop a relationship to nature. We will learn practical ways to work with gardening and the young child.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSES
Morning Circle Movement
Morning circle movement is “the heart” of the kindergarten day for many kindergarten teachers. It brings the children together as a group, teaches them to move in various ways and can even be used for therapeutic purposes. This full term course will cover a vast repertoire of songs, verses, movement games, and gestures that are essential to form the imagination of the children as well as their evolving consciousness in their relationship to the outer world.
In this course we will consider the central significance of the seasonal festivals in the Waldorf early childhood curriculum and classroom community. We will learn how the celebration of the seasons relates to the developmental picture of the young child and supports the journey of incarnation. Beginning with the archetypal picture of the gateway of birth we will explore how we can support healthy life rhythms in the lives of the young children in our care. We will experience the elements that help to create the seasonal festivals in the early childhood classroom ending with our own autumn celebration. Students will be expected to attend one of the early childhood festivals at the Chicago Waldorf School in the fall. Festival dates to be announced.
The role of imitation and play
Children develop their memory and social skills by imitating the adult world in their free play. In this course we will learn how to model and guide the children in their free play, as children “digest” their sense experiences through creative play. What is needed to create the right physical environment to make a child feel safe, encouraged in his creativity, warm and comfortable? In this class the students will also explore possibilities and necessities of creating the best spaces for the children.
Creative discipline – Painting & Drawing
We will use Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley’s text “Beyond The Rainbow Bridge” to explore creative ways to work with discipline in the Waldorf kindergarten class.The painting and drawing curriculum in the Waldorf school begins in early childhood classes. In this class we will learn how to organize and plan these activities and how to fit them into the rhythm of the day, as well as how to use the suggested materials in an appropriate way.
Lyre and working with mixed age children
Having learned about the mood of the 5th and the way we bring music to the children, kindergarten teachers have to practice how to play and how to tune the lyres more focused in order to be able to use this valuable instrument for the children in appropriate ways throughout the day in the kindergarten. You will learn how to play songs, how to improvise and how to tune the lyre. In this class will look into the question of how to work with children of mixed ages (ages 2 – 6) in the kindergarten.
Crafts with children
In this course the participants will learn how to do crafts with children such as dying silk, wet felting, crafts for festivals, special 6 year old projects, and nature crafts. The teachers will also learn to make birthday gifts for the children.
In our modern world, children rarely see their mothers and fathers working in the household. In this class we will explore the importance of domestic work done consciously, lovingly and joyfully for the children to imitate. This helps to develop a sense of rhythmic order and beauty that can guide them to a sense of morality later in life. Washing dishes, washing laundry, ironing, cleaning, cooking, baking, polishing, mending etc. will be done together to explore the possibilities of domestic arts.
Language in the kindergarten
The children’s language development is guided, supported and further enhanced through the manifold verses, hand-gesture games and stories we bring to the children. In this course we will explore the proper use of language and voice during morning circle, grace, games, and throughout the rhythm of the day; this is essential for calming the children, giving them joy in the rhythm of the language, and for encouraging their imagination.
Review of teaching practice experience
This course involves discussion surrounding the practice teaching experiences as well as working through questions that may have arisen during the practicum.
This class will teach different ways of telling a story through puppetry using table dolls, silk marionettes and finger puppets to enhance the children’s experience of the magical through their imagination. At the end of the class the group will perform a puppet play together.