Updated: Sep 5
Collaboration & Innovation in Waldorf Special Subjects: Hands and Voices Across the Curriculum
Our first all-subjects conference in July was a great success, judging by the active engagement and all the very positive feedback we received. Nearly 150 colleagues from around the world came together, teachers of gardening, Eurythmy, world languages, music, handwork, movement, and more. It was encouraging that so many schools sent multi-disciplinary teams of teachers.
We heard keynotes from Kevin Avison, Kim John Payne, and Sven Saar; we heard from several other colleagues; enjoyed exceptionally interesting ‘windows into’ a 4th grade music classroom, and a 1st grade German language classroom; we explored some projects which any teacher might adapt and use in their program, or when jumping in to substitute in other classes. All projects seemed to have a global, woven aspect, combining multiple strands into one multi-dimensional whole. We divided into ‘connection’ (not ‘break-out’!) groups to brainstorm ways to work across the curriculum to hold the children in our care as a cohesive team.
Each cross-curricular group came up with ways to complement each other’s work around topics such as 2nd grade Fables, 5th grade Ancient History, 8th grade Industrial Revolution, Festivals, and more. These ideas and insights have been compiled into a surprisingly extensive and thought-provoking document which you can freely access on our website here:
You will find such ideas as playing ‘space ball’ in 6th grade to tie in to the Astronomy block. In this game, you have to maintain distance around yourself, mimicking the movements of the planets.
Tying into the same block, learn poems about stars and planets in different world languages; in music, listen to Holst’s The Planets; in math, learn about celestial navigation using a sextant; in woodwork, make a sundial; and these are just a few examples!
This fascinating list on our website represents just the leaves that fall from a deciduous tree. The sapling was nourished by the interest and enthusiasm of our interactions. The leaves in turn fall to the ground and nourish the roots. There are some excellent ideas and insights, yet the fruit of the conference is more than this. It is a seed, experiencing the potential to engage with colleagues and to discover and explore correspondences, and to envision the possibility that we present the children – and ourselves – with the experience that joining “Hands and Voices Across the Curriculum” can indeed lead to the understanding that it all makes sense!
To continue this life-giving work together, join us next year for the next all-subjects conference on July 22 - 25, 2024 with a focus on observing the children from our unique subject-teacher perspectives. Together we will develop practices for clear observation - and explore effective ways to share these observations with other teachers.
Let’s keep up the good work; use the ideas in this document, and reflect on the next steps. Plan to join us and share your thoughts next July!