It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and mentor Dorothy Olsen on August 11, 2022.
From 1991 to 2202, Dorothy played a key role in the development of our full-time teacher education program.
I will be eternally grateful to Dorothy for mentoring me through the transition when I stepped in to fill her enormous shoes as the director of early childhood teacher education in the full-time program in 2003.
In 2010, with Dorothy’s blessing and support, I launched our part-time early childhood training based on the model she and Marjorie Thatcher had developed for the West Coast Institute. Dorothy was always generous in sharing her experience, wisdom, and resources. I still have the long list of questions I sent in preparation for our mentoring sessions. Seven cycles later in 2022, students still benefit from Dorothy’s wisdom which is deeply woven into our programs.
Dorothy and I share a passion for storytelling and the wisdom that lies behind these folktales. I was honoured when she passed on to me handwritten notes of her research as well as many books from her personal library.
We send our loving thoughts to her family, friends, and many students who together help to keep her spirit and generous heart alive in our work.
Jan Ney Patterson
From Dorothy Olsen’s Letter to Jan Patterson, 2014
As far as I can remember, it was September of 1990, that I took on the responsibility of teaching the first weeks of the RSC teacher education program.
It was a huge challenge for me. I had to create a program for, I think it was five weeks. May have been for six? The focus was the first seven years of the life of the child. At that time there was no Foundation Studies program, so I had to include some basic anthroposophy. That basic and invaluable book of Rudolf Steiner’s, The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science, became the foundation for the courses I taught.
That first year RSC operated out of Hesperus. Most of the time we had the downstairs room, which was a good size. However from time to time that room was needed by another activity and we retreated to one of the apartments.
I will never forget or cease to be grateful to that first group of students, who through their questions and unfailing support became co-creators of the courses I taught. We were a lighthearted group and had a lot of fun together, also some very serious soul searching on behalf of the students.
In addition there was the support and inspiration of my colleagues and especially Diana, Wendy and Yvonne. As the years went by the courses strengthened and developed. These years teaching at RSC were a high point in my life.