Saturday, April 9, 2016

Online Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate Program

Guess what?

going to do my Waldorf Teacher Training! 

I have wanted for years  (since I discovered that Waldorf Education existed... which was during my senior year at Smith College... which was in 1999) to pursue this in earnest but I never was able to do a residential program or even a semi-residential program.  I've looked many times at Antioch University, New England and the Great Lakes Waldorf Institute but, especially now with a new baby, it just seemed so far out of reach.

Then I learned through the Waldorf Today Newsletter that the Sophia Institute has a Waldorf teacher training program which is completely online and so I took advantage of my newly single status to ENROLL.  There are two tracks: Elementary/High School or Early Childhood. I picked the Grades.

I'm super-excited.


Today I went to look at the coursework for semester 1 and was happy to see that the Art topics for semester 1 are Needle Felting and Storytelling.  I feel really confident about these since I've done so much work in both with Suzanne Down at the Juniper Tree School of Puppetry Arts.  She was the person who first taught me to needle felt and I well remember it... at the Washington Waldorf School... so awed to meet Carol Petrash, who was also taking the class... and I made Little Brown Bulb, a Snowdrop, a little Ladybug, and Lady Spring.  Lady Spring is sitting on my Nature table right now, and I am the happiest girl in the world thinking back to where I began on my Waldorf journey and where I am now.

I have to be completely honest and report that I initially thought the first beginning needle felting project was too simplistic (a ball or an apple) and part of me wanted to either try to opt out by sending pictures of my advanced work (I know that sounds awfully snotty) or just whip through it and move on.  Again, snotty!  But just because it's simple doesn't mean it can't be done in a thoughtful and careful way.  So I decided to ramp down the snottiness and take it as an opportunity to do something meditative and relaxing in the evening and remember that a plain project can still be beautiful.

So I am making the golden ball from The Frog King, or Iron Henry  and the two sided apple from Little Snow-White.  These will stand me in good stead later on.  And so I am looking forward this first assignment!

For those who are interested, here are the full details of the program I'm taking:

1st Semester (7 credits)
1. What is Anthroposophy? An Introduction (1 credit)
2. Foundation Studies/Core Studies I (4 credits)
3. Art 1 (1 credit)
4. Art 2 (1 credit)

2nd Semester (7 credits)
1. Anthroposophy in Everyday Life/Practical Training in Thought (1 credit)
2. Foundation Studies/Core Studies II (4 credits)
3. Art 3 (1 credit)
4. Art 4 (1 credit)

3rd Semester (7 credits)
1. Evolving Consciousness/Cosmology 1 (1 credit)
2. Waldorf Curriculum 1 (1 credit)
3. Human Development (1 credit)
4. The Four Temperaments (1 credit)
5. Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy 1 (1 credit)
6. Art 5 (1 credit)
7. Art 6 (1 credit)

4th Semester (7 credits)
1. Evolving Consciousness/Cosmology 2 (1 credit)
2. Waldorf Curriculum 2 (1 credit)
3. Waldorf Methods/Sciences 1 (1 credit)
4. Waldorf Methods/Reading and Math 1 (1 credit)
5. Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy 2 (1 credit)
6. Art 7 (1 credit)
7. Art 8 (1 credit)

5th Semester (7 credits)
1. Life Phases (1 credit)
2. Waldorf Methods/Sciences 2 (1 credit)
3. Waldorf Methods/Reading and Math 2 (1 credit)
4. Waldorf Administration (1 credit)
5. Waldorf Remedial Methods 1 (1 credit)
6. Art 9 (1 credit)
7. Art 10 (1 credit)

6th Semester (7 credits)
1. Waldorf Methods/Sciences 3 (1 credit)
2. Waldorf Methods/Reading and Math 3 (1 credit)
3. Internship/6 weeks (1 credit)
4. Waldorf Remedial Methods 2 (1 credit)
5. Art 11 (1 credit)
6. Art 12 (1 credit)
7. Final Paper/Research Project (1 credit)


Anonymous said...

Exciting! A new beginning in this new season for you! Looking forward to your updates as you continue through your classes.

Yes, it can be good to step through those "simple" projects, even when it's attractive to skip over them.

Jennifer Byers said...

So...are you finished? Were you able to find a teaching job?

Renee said...

No I have not yet finished the certificate program... I have been getting extensions on my semesters. It is harder than I thought to find time for coursework while raising four kids and running a consulting business and teaching full-time at the homeschool co-op. Thanks for checking in. :-)

Four-Eye Mama said...

Hello. Can you tell me how is your experience with online program so far? Because I'm also thinking on diving in. Like you, I also looked at the program offered in NH. I really like the idea of more face to face interaction with teachers and other students. Unfortunately, I live in Florida. I also homeschool my kids more of a Waldorf-Inspired curriculum and started teaching Co-Op classes. Looking forward hearing from you.

Unknown said...

Hey please, share your experience with the online program. I am from India, and there are not much training options here, so I was also considering to go for the Online Program. Please help. I am a grades teacher,

Renee said...

Hello! I will freely admit that I struggled mightily with the online program. I'm happy to share why, in hopes that it is helpful.

The content itself was excellent. In fact, when I took Foundations again in person through a 9 month long study group with the Waldorf School of St. Louis, I thought that Sophia had done a much better job. The many essay questions are fatiguing, but I assure you that you end up really covering the content!

I don't mind writing... in fact, as a homeschool consultant I write for a living... and so doing essay questions wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

Yet I had a very tough time making myself do the assignments. I teach all day long (as many of us do) and I was too wiped out in the evenings. On the weekends, I was trying to spend time with my family and clean my house. In the summer, I put it off for the winter... in the winter, I put it off for the summer. It took me from 2016 - 2019 just to do the first two semesters. It is nice that they offer extensions, but knowing that extensions were a possibility just encouraged me to procrastinate more.

Ultimately I decide that with my sanguine personality, I needed an in person program. I had to have people to bounce things off of to keep my energy up (and as you can see from this initial post I was very excited to do it, so motivation was not the core issue). After doing the Foundations study in person, I could see that in person was the only way I could work. Also, I decided that I wanted to be a Handwork teacher, and not a Grades teacher, and so that meant in person training was the only possibility. I ended up applying for a low residency four year program, the Applied Arts Program at the Fiber Craft Studio on the campus of Sunbridge Institute, and was accepted. I began my first year this July. I LOVE IT!

If you live someplace with no nearby training options, like India, I would definitely recommend the Sophia Institute program. It's a good program. I would go through it with a colleague, however, so that you can be accountability partners for one another. You also need to have a good sense of your temperament so that you can be sure the hands-off somewhat strained communication (you get an email in response to submitting an assignment but beyond that nothing) is going to work for you. You also have to be willing to learn your art lessons via YouTube video.

Best of luck!

The Special K's(0: said...

I never could find online what the cost is, could you share? Thank you+0:

The Special K's(0: said...

Oops! So sorry, of course now I've asked I finally found it. Thank you, and all the best!