The Foundation Year Curriculum
The Foundation Year offers a broad contemplative survey of the penetrating understanding of the human being and the world made possible through Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science. It provides the spiritual, cognitive foundation for future educators, and for many students, answers the heart's and mind's longing for a meaningful reconnection to life. The course is also open to individuals not intending to become Waldorf Teachers.
In the four weekly seminars, the various teachers endeavor to lead the students into selected subjects based on spiritual science. All the topics covered in the Foundation Year are essential steps toward building an ever-deepening understanding of the human being, humanity, and the world. Seminar discussions help the students transform mere knowledge into insight, and it is hoped that, out of themselves, the student's conscious path of self-development will be enriched. The future of Waldorf education depends on striving, insightful teachers. The seminars typically begin with singing rounds, speech exercises and poetry recitation, followed by questions from the students.
The seminars are held in blocks of one to three weeks depending on the subject, one leading over into the next naturally.
We see the visual arts existing in the spatial world, and we are aware that both creating and appreciating art can become a threshold, bridging the physical world and the divine world. An introduction to Goethe's color theory and Rudolf Steiner's teachings on color will stimulate the student's experience of the artistic process, and provide a fresh view of the world around us. By awakening ourselves to color, line and form, our inner experiences and artistic capacities are enlivened. Through the arts of sculpture, drawing and painting, as well as studies in art history, students will have the opportunity to contemplate more deeply the development of human consciousness through the ages. The art class meets weekly with specific open studio sessions available to practice outside of class time. With their accomplished work, students participate in an art exhibition to coincide with graduation festivities.
Choir is the one weekly class where students in both years meet together. Thirty some voices creates a safe space for all to sing. Singing exercises are regularly practiced at the beginning of each class. A great variety of songs, from simple to complex, from one to four parts, in various languages are learned. The atmosphere is supportive, where students of varying skill and talent are encouraged to work side by side, giving to and learning from one another, bringing each to a love of singing.
The Foundation recorder class moves at a comfortable pace which allows ample time for basic music questions. The course includes basic music theory, a varied repertoire, and opportunities to learn other voices beyond soprano. By end of first term, alto and tenor recorders play alongside the sopranos making a rich musical experience for all. We arrange tutorial classes for those who have no experience in music and need extra start-up help.
Most students arrive with no experience of the art of eurythmy, so the intensive nature of study (three lessons per week, of 45 minutes duration) is important to help them gain an active insight into the individual and social possibilities of etheric movement. Basic introductory work in this year includes:
- Gestures for the sounds of speech
- Introduction to pitch, rhythm and beat
- Work with copper rods to harmonize and enliven students' faculties
- Exploration of simple forms
By the year's end, students should feel comfortable moving both in a group and by themselves. The work culminates in a short group performance of poetry and music for the community during the graduation ceremony.
Through an introduction to Bothmer and Spacial Dynamics exercises, students experience the relationship between the human being and space. Students work with posture and experience the three planes of space: frontal, symmetrical and horizontal. They also study healthy movement habits. Spacial Dynamics is the study of the interplay between the human being and space. Through activities such as stretching, balancing, posture work, juggling, acrobatics, tumbling, and children's games, students experience the effect of movement on themselves and others and observe how these interactions affect social, pedagogical and personal situations.
In the Foundation Year, form drawing and other geometric drawing styles are taught weekly in the Saturday morning "Workshop". Students are introduced to the purpose and application of form drawing for personal development in areas of concentration, symmetry, and control.
Speech and Drama
Conscious, articulate speech is practiced throughout the year, in every aspect of the program. Seminars begin with speech exercises and/or poetry recitation and singing. We typically enjoy two to three weeks with a speech artist as visiting faculty.
After January, the foundation year class prepares to perform a play for the community. The director, whose main task is to facilitate the play and guide the students in its suitable production, encourages the students to join in the production of the play. Daniel Stokes is our play director, and he approaches it much as the Waldorf class teacher would his or her class play.
The most recent production's photos are posted on our galleries page.