The Education Year
The Education Year builds on the insights gained in the Foundation Year, and guides students in developing in themselves, the skills and artistry to provide a child-centered Waldorf Curriculum in early childhood and/or grades teaching. The path of the Waldorf teacher is to continually find a healthy, creative and intuitive approach to teaching children. Full and satisfactory completion of the Foundation and Education years leads to certification as a Waldorf Teacher accepted in Waldorf Schools throughout the world.
A third year option is available to students wishing to extend, or round out their teacher education to include both early childhood and grades teaching.
Education Year Seminars
In the Education Year students may choose to attend Early Childhood seminars or Grades seminars. All students attend the arts classes together.
The Waldorf Early Childhood seminars include a study of child development from birth to seven years of age. Students are introduced to the pedagogical indications for early childhood and begin the journey into that magical world. We explore the tone, gesture, and mood that are essential in creating an environment which will protect, nurture and strengthen the developing child. Students are immersed in artistic activities in movement, living substances and nature itself. Included are puppetry, doll-making, kinderharp, song-writing, storytelling, circle games, finger plays, life and craft activities and setting up a kindergarten for the rhythms of the year. We study the importance of rhythm in caring for the child's formative forces. These rhythms include daily and weekly activities as well as seasonal and festival events during the year. Communicating and parent work take into account that pre-school and kindergarten are often a family's first encounter with Waldorf Education.
The seminars for grades teachers demonstrate the principles of Waldorf pedagogy and age appropriate methodology and imagery for each stage of a child's development through the grades. The essentials of each subject through the eight grades, are taught without necessarily teaching a totality of any given subject. Projects and practice teaching give ample experience to build confidence and enthusiasm for the task ahead. Gradually, a child centered approach to teaching becomes second nature, as a consistent evolving picture emerges lighting up the whole eight years.
In the second year the visual arts are brought into the realm of pedagogy and curriculum. With continual practice and development of one's artistic capacities, the student prepares to teach art to their students. Methodology and techniques are studied within the themes of:
Chalkboard writing and drawing
Modeling in wax and clay
An emphasis is placed upon the importance of practical organization in the classroom and in art lessons. To gain in proficiency, students practice demonstration lessons in class, and teach art lessons during practicum and volunteer hours teaching. Throughout all, the goal is to awaken artistic capacity within the students that they may teach out of themselves freely. Education Year students submit their art, and organize and hang an art exhibition as part of the graduation festivities.
The music curriculum specific to the Education Year focuses primarily upon increasing one's confidence and love of singing, and upon teaching and singing with children in Waldorf schools. Students sing pentatonic songs through adult level music, practicing reading, sight reading, and composing original songs. Students work towards an understanding of the singing curriculum from kindergarten through eighth grade. In this process they learn how to select, prepare and present songs to children. They practice singing exercises, parts singing, rounds, musical games and stories, and rhythm work. Lyres, tone flutes, and pentatonic flutes are also introduced and practiced.
Some previous study of Eurythmy is a pre-requisite for joining the Education Year Eurythmy lessons, as the exploration of basic elements from the Foundation year continues, alongside a presentation of the Eurythmy curriculum for Kindergarten through Grade Eight. This presentation includes sample lessons as well as discussion time. After Christmas, the students are guided to choose a fairy tale or story which is suitable for young children, and all the aspects of artistic performance become the focus of their work. Students are encouraged to develop their characters through what they have learned, and also to participate in costuming, lighting, speech work and music for the performance, which happens at the year's end. Eurythmy lessons are 45 minutes long and are scheduled 2-3 times weekly, depending upon the time of the year.
Second year recorder classes focus on learning and playing music appropriate to each grade. Students learn basic conducting skills and recorder pedagogy appropriate in Waldorf schools. They also practice introducing second and third voices, and preparing for celebrations. Students continue ensemble recorder playing with soprano, alto and tenor recorders. They are encouraged to participate in Eugene Waldorf School and Anthroposophical Society festival events.
Games and Spacial Dynamics®
An introduction to a Waldorf School movement curriculum is brought through various activities such as children's games, tumbling exercises, Spacial Dynamics and juggling games.
Speech and Storytelling
Speech is practiced daily, and storytelling classes are held weekly for part of the year. Students learn and share stories in class for early childhood or grades and build confidence in making up their own stories for all occasions. The classes include circle work, poem recitation, fairy tales, fables, creation stories, myths, biographies, and teaching subjects as stories.
At least once a year, WTEE students enjoy a few weeks with an Anthroposophically trained speech artist.
During the second half of the year, students learn basic skills in knitting, including three dimensional animals, spinning wool, natural dyeing and cross stitch. As time allows, crochet, embroidery, small animal making, and felting are explored. Tutorials are arranged as needed. Everyone works at their own pace, learning the methods most commonly used in the Waldorf Schools.
From the simple to the complex, students are introduced to form drawing appropriate to the grades children. The course includes lectures on form drawing as a rhythmic artistic activity, which can work upon the physical and soul spiritual aspect of the human being in a salutary manner.
For approximately nine weeks during the school year, students work on a simple wood carving project, for one and one half hours per week in class and as much as they have time for outside of class. The teacher strives to engage their will forces to experience: the particular personal qualities which differentiate one carver from the next; delicately guided movements alongside brute force; the difference between clay and wood; the taking off material versus the putting on. The metamorphosis of the project gradually affords a unique opportunity to steadily let go of fixed ideas. Students finish one to two projects during this time, and are not specifically prepared to teach wood carving as an extra subject.
WTEE shares a campus with the Eugene Waldorf School, a K through 8 school which began in 1980. The opportunity to help out and practice regularly in a classroom is readily available. All Grades and early childhood student teachers are required to complete approximately 125 hours of active volunteer time in the classroom, assisting in subjects and activities as requested by the teacher.
Second year students have two practicums during the year, typically three weeks in the fall term and four weeks in winter term. The first practicum is more introductory in nature than the second. We carefully place students with experienced teachers adept at mentoring, located throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are a few opportunities to remain in Eugene, mainly reserved for single parents who are unable to travel.