Public Waldorf is building a momentum towards education renewal and it starts with a spark of light that is in each of us.
In 2015, an agreement between AWSNA (the Association for Waldorf Schools of North America) and the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education was made that forged the way to "strengthen Waldorf Education and ensure its availability and accessibility to the next generation." The service mark of "Public Waldorf" was granted to the Alliance. It is like a heraldic flag waving proudly and freely. With over 45 charter schools in membership thus far, the banner is a call to action. The momentum of this movement was evident in the massive attendance at the Alliance Conference, co-hosted by Rudolf Steiner College.
It was wall-to-wall people in Stegmann Hall as key-note speaker Jack Petrash, Waldorf educator and founder of the Nova Institute, relayed moving stories that brought education to light. His messages were a crystal clear distillation of what everyone in the room suspected in their hearts: we need to enliven our children's education. The attendees were treated to in-depth, soul-searching, skill-building workshops and discussions that pointed in this direction. Alliance Conference facilitators included Bente Goldstein, Alice Stamm, Eva Cranstoun, Edmund Knighton, Jamie York, and Liz Beaven, along with Alliance leaders Victoria Temple and Marianne Kennedy. The Public Waldorf banner beckoned people from both Waldorf and public kingdoms!
"Light in our thinking" meant art, symphonic thinking, and connectedness, according to Jack Petrash. Art encompasses the wonder and beauty of the fine arts, handwork, drama, and story-telling, which gives meaningfulness to learning. Symphonic thinking describes the inter-disciplinary and interwoven approach to learning. Connectedness means we together account for all educational systems, cultural, historical and social impulses to strive for wholeness of learning.
Syrendell was happy to partake in the synergy of the Conference. Participants learned needle-felting and wet-on-wet watercolor painting techniques. But what seemed more important was the collective feeling that we were in it together, striving to discover our own capacities, pushing ourselves out of comfort zones to grow, finding inspiration to enliven education, and learning that we all hold the spark of light.