Waldorf Learning Support (WLS) is a three-year, part-time intensive program designed to train Waldorf teachers and professionals from related fields in learning support theory and practice. Completion of this 9-session program, all its assignments and mentoring earns the participant a certificate from WLS and the Arcturus Program.
WLS aims to deepen the participant’s understanding of child development as foundational for learning, while offering training in practical pedagogical approaches supportive of everyday working with students of all ages in both classroom, small group and 1:1 settings. Initial courses in the WLS curriculum explore causes at the foundational level for individual learning challenges and how to address them. Important to this process is learning how the developmental situatIon of each student can be the guide in choosing pedagogically appropriate activities to address learning differences.
WLS Fall and Spring sessions generally run from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday mid-day. Summer sessions take place over two weeks, though there are sometimes exceptions to this schedule. See below for 2017 dates.
Theoretical classes include:
—Rudolf Steiner’s indications for child and human development, for Waldorf and special education.
—Audrey McAllen’s elaboration of anthroposophical research relevant to child development and its support, including using children’s drawings as indicators of developmental situations.
—Sensory and motor integration according to mainstream research.
—Medical, nutritional, neurological, therapeutic and anthroposophical perspectives on learning and behavior difficulties and how to address them.
—Career development: exploration of working in learning support for private practice and school settings, with practical applications such as work proposals, contracts, insurance information, and so on.
—Exploration of various community resources appropriate for supporting development, such as cranio-sacral therapy and various sensory integration approaches.
Practical classes include:
—Assessment and exercises of the Extra Lesson.
—Movement, form drawing and painting exercises—in support of developing each participant’s own facility in each of these areas as well as in preparation for use with learning challenged students.
—Artistic classes: eurythmy, speech, singing.
—Introductions to therapeutic approaches: Therapeutic Eurythmy, Art Therapy, Rhythmical Massage, Spacial Dynamics®, Rhythmic Movement Training.
Mentoring and independent research:
—Between each session there are extensive home assignments consisting of reading, practice of assessment and exercises including movement, drawing and painting exercises.
—In Year 2 participants complete a research project with written and oral reports on a chosen topic with a child development, pedagogical or therapeutic theme.
—Mentoring begins in Year 2 with 15 hours of observation of educational support teachers in practice. Year 3 mentoring consists of 15 hours of the participant being observed by a WLS-approved mentor while working with individual and/or small group lessons and with assessments.
—Throughout Year 3 each WLS participant completes a case study consisting of weekly lessons with a student, culminating in an oral and written presentation.
Our first cohort will begin at the San Francisco Waldorf High School in November, 2017.
Waldorf Learning Support Co-Directors
Kris Boshell, MA, discovered Rudolf Steiner’s work in 2003 through Waldorf Education. She received her Anthroposophical training as Grades and Remedial Education teacher at Rudolf Steiner College and her MA in Depth Psychology at Sonoma State University. Kris’ work as an Educational Support teacher has included independent consulting for private and chartered Waldorf schools, Rudolf Steiner College training programs, and currently full-time as Educational Support Teacher and Grade School Level Chair at the Chicago Waldorf School.
Ingun Schneider, PT, MA trained as a physical therapist in the 1960s, a childbirth educator in the 1970s, a Waldorf teacher in the 1980s, taught grades 1 through 8 into the 1990s, and has worked as an educational support teacher and consultant since then. She has taught in many Extra Lesson training programs, conferences and workshops throughout the world, and keeps working with children in second grade screenings, developmental movement groups and individual lessons.