It was a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Torin Finser, one of Waldorf Education's most prominent and respected leaders, to visit The Playgarden in Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach on March 13th. Parents, Playgarden teachers, Spring River home school enrichment teachers and community members gathered in the Playgarden cottage surrounded by soft pastel silks and warm wooden toys to listen to Dr. Finser share information and shine his light. As a professor at Antioch University and author of several internationally recognized books, Dr. Finser shared insight into his educational experience in Waldorf education and the study of Anthroposophy.
We learned and listened to stories of the importance of nourishment, the circle of warmth and how art can read into a child’s soul. As we sipped warm tea, listened and shared, I felt the room warm. Here was a group of individuals who were all looking for ways to guide and enrich education through love. Here IS a group who is ready to learn more. Our community is eager to begin a foundational study series aptly named Explorations. These weekend workshops – which are open to the entire community - are led by seasoned Waldorf teachers and focus on artistic media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, speech, singing, as well as spacial dynamics and eurythmy, two new forms of artistic movement pioneered by Rudolf Steiner.
In the evening, The Playgarden and Spring River School hosted a second event where Dr. Finser gave a lecture on his timely book, “Education for Nonviolence: The Waldorf Way”. The cozy theater at Adele Grage in Atlantic Beach set the stage for the talk with attendees coming from near and far. As so many are asking questions and looking for answers during these turbulent times, Dr. Finser shares his insight to how many of the Waldorf principles can help protect childhood; including getting out in to nature, having consistent role models, limiting media, and protecting the innocence of childhood, just to name a few. One message that struck me was “the hands create the path to morality”. With so much time being spent in doors and on computers, when do we create anything tangible? lasting? meaningful? In fact, so many messages resonated within me that I created a graphic doodle of both events to share with you all. I find when I listen, draw and write down points that strike me as poignant I can absorb more information, revisit and reflect and in that way it is a living document. I hope it does the same for you. Print it, share it, and enjoy it.
After a day filled with compassion, I was reminded of this passage that holds a special place in my heart, a message printed out, worn with use, that hangs on the refrigerator in the Playgarden Kinderhaus and hangs on the lips of teachers who recite it in the mornings to ready themselves and welcome the day:
"Remember daily that you are continuing the work of the spiritual world with the children in your care. You are preparers of the path for these young souls who wish to form their lives in these difficult times. The spiritual world will always stand by you in this task. This is the wellspring of strength for which you stand in need."
~ Herbert Hahn ~
Head outside to play!
If anyone is interested in learning more about the upcoming Explorations courses in Jacksonville next fall, feel free to contact Carrie Zarka Dooley at (904) 434-3187 or email. The Playgarden will be sharing signup information and details shortly with the entire community.