Grants for professional development workshops now available for AWSNA member schools
Recently, AWSNA and the Association for a Healing Education (AHE) received grant funds from the Waldorf Education Fund for professional development workshops in schools. We are very excited that we can offer, free of charge, a Professional Development series to four or five AWSNA-affiliated schools during the 2014/2015 school year. Please note that the terms of this grant are that the school shall commit to two full-day, all-faculty professional workshops within a twelve month period.
Currently, in all educational settings, the number of children who have individual needs is growing, and classes call on broader expertise from teachers. This trend is acknowledged in both mainstream and alternative education; informal surveys have revealed that in Waldorf classrooms, the number can be as high as 30 percent of a class. Typically the range of needs includes children with dyslexia; developmental and sensory hindrances; comprehension and memory challenges; disruptive behavior; and medical situations that affect learning, such as asthma.
Waldorf schools have the unique opportunity to provide learning environments that can meet many of these needs, owing to sound principles of both a developmental approach and an inclusive view of the human being. However, many teachers, even with experience, find that they need additional assistance with training or resources. Though some exploration of learning style differences is provided in many Waldorf teacher trainings, these institutes usually do not provide comprehensive coverage of individual learning needs and relevant teaching approaches. Thus, the Waldorf Education Fund has recognized that mentoring and professional development opportunities in this area are especially important.
The vision of AHE is to provide this continuing education and expertise through specific topics related to successful teaching: teacher sustainability, learning differences, child observation, classroom developmental activities, and balanced educational environments. We have developed a core group who are prepared to visit schools and provide professional development days that can be covered by the grant (see the next pages for details). Workshops are designed for practicing teachers and school administrators. AHE, over the last 30 years, has helped schools:
Our core group of workshop presenters:
Mary Jo Oresti has found that teaching children and adults has taken her on a remarkable 30 year journey in Waldorf Education. Currently, her activities involve coordinating and instructing in five teacher development programs in the U.S. and abroad, consulting in schools about remedial programs, and some private work with children. She also serves as the president of AHE. Mary Jo has a masters degree from Marygove College, a Waldorf Teaching diploma, and has studied Chirophonetics.
Connie Helms, M.Ed. has been working with children for thirty years. She has taught as a special educator in public schools and as an Educational Support teacher at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Shelburne, VT. She graduated from the AHE Remedial Teacher Training in 2000. Currently she has a private practice in Vermont doing Extra Lesson with children, adolescents and adults, and she travels as an education consultant, workshop presenter and a teacher in adult education. Her website is www.balanceinchildhood.com.
Jeff Tunkey teaches both Extra Lesson and Physical Education at Aurora Waldorf School, near Buffalo, NY. The school’s unique movement program incorporates traditional games, life sports and team sports, weekly tumbling/gymnastics, and whole-class developmental movement based on the Extra Lesson. Jeff is a graduate of the Spacial Dynamics inservice training. His website is www.movementforchildhood.com
Workshop themes available (please contact us to discuss details, or alternatives for your school):
Admissions and Intake Processes: Waldorf schools have many possibilities to create exceptional learning environments but first we need to know some basic information about the children who come to us. In this workshop you will receive a sampling of screening methods and procedures for admissions that will help you gain insight into the children who interview for your school. You will learn basic developmental milestone assessment, overview of visual and auditory capacity and quick academic screenings. You can build your own intake process using theses efficient five minute procedures.
Nourishing the Teacher: We all know that our own strivings are reflected to the children and instruct them as we model a balanced approach to life. In this workshop we will practice various movement activities from Eurythmy, dynamic drawing and educational support work that strengthen us and support us in being more present. Simple meditative exercises to develop clearer interpersonal relationships will also be offered.
Strengthening Foundations for Middle and High School Students: Balance, painting and coordination activities designed to appeal to the older student, relating to their studies of Physiology . Activities will focus on activities that a student can do independently as well as some that are beneficial for whole class work to promote brain integration and concentration
A Watchful Eye in Early Childhood: Early identification is essential for success in school life. This workshop will help teachers observe signs that inform us of a need for early intervention. Posture, movement, behavior can all indicate individual needs. Teachers will learn activities and also become more knowledgeable concerning helpful resources
Child Study: Waldorf Education has had a history of sound practice in regards to understanding the child through observation. This workshop will help schools either begin this practice or re-enforce improved methods so that all can participate in Child Study with positive outcomes for both the child and the faculty.
Strengthening Capacities for the Whole Class: How to create/promote and support a school-wide repertoire of whole-class remedial work: Certain exercises and activities based in The Extra Lesson are highly recommended as part of a primary grades teacher’s repertoire of ways to help every child be ready to do his or her best, every day. Experience has shown that students who receive these activities are able to move ahead more solidly. Benefits of these exercises – if done regularly and with the indicated rhythm – include foundations for literacy and numeracy; readiness for deskwork, enhancing focus and attention; bodily/kinesthetic and spatial integration; strengthening the will.