Responsible Innovation - Waldorf at 100 (Growing Old or Growing Wise?)

We recently participated in a local meeting with members of our regional Pedagogical Section Council, Waldorf class teachers, and administrators. The topic of the evening was Waldorf at 100 - Growing Old or Growing Wise?

Many schools and teachers (and Waldorf related organizations) are still not sure how to include Waldorf homeschoolers in these larger conversations - we always appreciate being invited to the table. We consider one important part of our work to be bridging this gap. How do we help homeschooling families gain access to training resources, and, how do we help local Waldorf schools find ways to include homeschoolers in their offerings?

Art credit: Waldorfish ©2019

Art credit: Waldorfish ©2019

The evening’s conversation was rich. We touched on questions such as:

  • What does it mean for the future of Waldorf education that the students of today aren’t the students of a decade ago, let alone of 100 years ago?

  • How do we meet the children of today and stay true to the underlying essence of Waldorf education?

Clearly the answers require more than one night of discussion. However, it’s more important than ever for those of us who love Waldorf education to talk openly about these (sometimes uncomfortable) questions.

There is a real danger of things becoming stagnant - becoming “things we do in Waldorf because that’s what we’ve always done.” One part of the discussion that we personally resonated with was this question:

What happens to our thinking if we change Waldorf from a noun to a verb?

Waldorf at 100.png

Instead of saying “we do Waldorf” or “we use the Waldorf method” how different does it start to feel (and look) if we instead say “this is how we Waldorf” or asking the question “how does your family Waldorf?” Suddenly it shifts from being a stagnant Thing, to being alive and breathing!  Always changing based on the child in front of us, which was Steiner's goal all along.

Freedom in Anthroposophy means acting out of love - Acting from a place of deeply knowing the child/ren in front of you. As homeschoolers, this intimate understanding of our children allows us to take what we understand to be the essence of a particular grade or block, and then INNOVATE responsibly. Achieving the same goals, but with entirely different, child-driven means than another Waldorf family might use.

*We write more about this idea here.

Long before coloured chalk.....

It's been almost two years since Brian & I first started talking about creating chalk-drawing tutorials. We spent a lot of time searching to see what kinds of resources already exist out there for teachers. We didn't have any interest in re-inventing the wheel. Many weeks of exploring different leads led us down several rabbit holes, most of which ultimately went nowhere. Except one....

you'll feel like you won the lottery!

I remember the day I stumbled across this beauty on the internet. I distinctly remember pointing emphatically at my laptop screen and yelling "why didn't anyone tell me about this??!!" As I looked through the pages (you can download this book for FREE here) I began seeing 1,001 different applications for class teachers, homeschoolers & artists. 

Whitney was not a Waldorf teacher. He was simply a teacher with an immense appreciation for what beautiful imagery adds to the classroom. Interestingly, coloured chalk was not available for use yet. Whitney worked exclusively with the tones that exist between black & white. 

Although the original copyright is 1908, there are still copies of this gem around. Being a bibliophile, I had to be able to feel it (and smell it!). I tracked down my 1911 copy on Amazon.

Our Black & White tutorial series is dedicated to Frederick Whitney and is available in our shop. In it, Brian mixes some of Whitney's instruction with his own and leads viewers to be able to create their own stunning black & white landscape drawings.

xoxo- Robyn