I can look back on the seeds I have sown by teaching basic handwork skills to children, teachers, and parents, I can see how they have blossomed and are now sowing more seeds, blown by the winds of fate or karma into far-distant lands.
I want to share this article with you as an example of how Waldorf Education can meet the needs of children in a culture Steiner may not have envisioned. In this article you will read how the principles of Waldorf education meet Nepali Buddhist customs and practices, offering a potential growth node to each.
Many years ago, I was teaching a handwork track class to teacher trainees in Southern California. One student was exceptionally passionate and spirited, had a mass of dark, curly hair, and was filled with the drive and enthusiasm that I knew would take her far. It did! Meyrav moved away from Los Angeles, we have been in touch sporadically over the years and more frequently recently, and now I’m proud to say Waldorf Handwork Educators now includes one of her students in our handwork teacher training program.
Although I have been teaching handwork for many years, I have found equal satisfaction in academic work. This has circled around contemplative education – describing and researching how education can lead students (school age and adult) to a contemplation of the natural world, to a sense of belonging, and stimulating the desire to look beyond the material world to a greater spiritual unity.
This article is sub-titled “beyond contemplative education” (my italics). Meyrav has taken the step from contemplation to action, into true diversity, equity and inclusion, bringing the best of Waldorf education to a specific geographical and cultural location. This is not ‘missionary zeal’ but a true respect and love for the fertile ground where she finds herself, continually seeking a deeper understanding.
This is not easy work, but a valuable lesson for us all as we consider, after 100+ years of Waldorf education, how in our way, in our own place and time, we strive to keep the highest values of this educational approach relevant to here and now, and how we must work hard to take nothing for granted, but always work with a spirit of inquiry.
Teachers truly do learn from their students. Please read this amazing account of Meyrav’s work, and reach out if you are interested in supporting this labor of love.