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We just wrapped up Week Two of the Summer Festival last Friday, and Week Three starts today, Monday July 24th. The big event last week was the morning course with Nettie Fabrie and Wim Gottenbos. There were about 38 students taking part in this course, which was held mostly in the music room, with everyone going outside for many of the activities sessions, and to the seminar room for the form drawing parts of the course. 

This past Saturday morning we were busy getting the TWS forum all set up with easels and mini-chalkboards in preparation for Henry Muth’s Geography and Maps course, which is on the schedule for the part-time Professional Development for Waldorf Grades Teachers program and will therefore need to accommodate twenty-some students, each with their own workspace to practice chalk-board drawing. Photo below is from Henry’s grade 7 intensive.

Attendance this year has been strong with about 100 students, including a few from such far-away places as New Zealand, Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver. Now that the Covid-related travel restrictions have been lifted, it’s once again easier for teachers from the US and other countries to come to Canada for a few weeks in the summer. 

Some students found time for extracurricular activities such as lunch-time volleyball and trips downtown to see a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game. Some took part in Sunday services and a St. John’s potluck at the local Christian Community church, which is just a few blocks north of the RSCC campus. A few students even took a road trip to Niagara Falls.

Action Research Project Presentations

There will be one more student Action Research Project presentation this week on Tuesday July 25th at 5 pm, to which everyone is invited. The next and last event in the Summer Festival which will be open to everyone will be the graduation on Thursday July 27th at 5 pm. Both events will take place in the RSCC Seminar Room, which is located on the RSCC/TWS campus at 9100 Bathurst Street.

Last week’s presentations were well-attended and much appreciated by those who came. We learned how to stay sane while balancing the demands of Waldorf teaching, gained a new perspective on music in the Waldorf curriculum, and a new appreciation of the pedagogical benefits of engaging students in various forms of age-appropriate dance.

In Partnership with Toronto Waldorf School

It’s hard to imagine how a Summer Festival on this scale would even be possible without the many classrooms and large spaces like the music room, the eurythmy room and the forum at the Toronto Waldorf School, which we have had access to through partnering with TWS over the many years the Festival has been running since it was first started by Warren Cohen when he was RSCT director. Photo below shows the TWS campus spotlit by the late afternoon sun, with the sky still dark from an earlier rain shower.

As a further bonus this year, we’ve been fortunate to also have had so many TWS faculty members teaching courses at the Summer Festival. These include Michelle Frank, Warren Cohen and Mary-lu Spinney teaching intensives for grades one, three and five respectively. Mary-lu Spinney also taught Movement and Circus Arts for grades 4-8 in Week One. Photo below is of Michelle Frank’s grade one intensive practicing a group activity that students could use with their classes. As you can see, a lot of the Summer Festival participants were preparing to teach grade one in September.

In Week Two we had Eurythmy with TWS eurythmist Jonathan Snow and Michelle Frank teaching Form Drawing. The lead photo is of a group of javelin throwers being taught safety procedures and throwing technique by Jonathan Snow. Thanks to all of these TWS teachers for taking time out of their summer to share their knowledge and experience with teachers from other schools.

Thanks also to Aramark Food Services Manager Karen Shiell and her team at TWS who have prepared all the wonderful lunches and treats to keep us fed and nourished while we learn and teach.

Thanks to all the Course Teachers

And many thanks also to the many other teachers whose participation helped make the Summer Festival the success it has been. These include: Patrice Maynard (Gr. 2) from Waldorf Publications in the US, Reka Borberly (Gr. 4) from London Waldorf School, Jessica Gladio (Gr. 6) from Trillium Waldorf School in Guelph, and Henry Muth (Gr. 7) also from Trillium WS, and Carlina Heins (Gr.8) from Mulberry Waldorf School in Kingston. Reka Borberly also taught Morning Circle for Grades 1-3 in the afternoon of Week One.

Thanks to Nettie Fabrie and Wim Gottenbos for their Week Two course, Differentiation and Individualization in Teaching, interspersed with many practical exercises, and thanks to Larry Young for his Week Two afternoon class, Art for Humanity’s Sake. Photo below is of Nettie and Wim engaged in after-class discussions with two of the students.

And thanks also to the Week Three teachers, whose courses started today: Merwin Lewis (Waldorf Essentials), Henry Muth (Geography and Maps), Dianne Goldsmith (Puppet Felting), Jef Saunders (Veil Painting), Anna Gruda (Painting for Grades 4-8), and Regine Kurek (Biography). And thanks to Clara Hilts for leading the morning singing so enthusiastically. That’s Clara in the photo below, leading singing in Week Two.

Thanks again to all these teachers for coming here to the RSCC Summer Festival to share their knowledge and experience.

Thanks to Our Many Volunteers

Volunteers have an important role in taking care of logistics and helping the program run smoothly. This year we thank these people who have volunteered their time to help the Summer Festival run as smoothly as it has: Monika Yurkovich, Michelle Beauchamp, Julia Campbell, Kasia Conway, and Marie-France Bertrand. Thank you also to Diana Hughes for her tireless efforts to raise funds for the College by selling second-hand Waldorf books. And thanks to the participants who helped us complete the daily set up and clean up.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Special thanks to Mercurius Canada, to Linda Lee of the Paper Pipit bookstore, and to Uriel and Dr. Hauschka remedies and body-care products.

Thanks to Our Staff and Contract Helpers

Student Support and Outreach Manager Marta Bak has done a huge amount of logistics work in putting this Summer Festival together. Thanks also to Richard Chomko for his video and photo work, and thanks to Pradeep Jawal, our accountant, for his devoted work helping keep us in the black. – James Brian, RSCC Executive Director

Students enjoyed the beautiful weather during morning break time outside the music room last week.