Teacher Training summary from my time at Suva Flame Waldorf School
It was an honour to be invited back to the Suva Fiji Flame school to continue our good work together , begun in the teacher training course ( coaching and mentoring) 2014.
Following circle games and “embodying ourselves for the day, the teachers took a meditation study based on “Goethean Observation principles ” another step further. From object identification to a study refined through drawing, writing about and “what does this part of nature have to say to me?”. The responses were powerful as we shared these each day.
Last July we developed a “Mango Seed” story , that was written by the director of the Prescool/Kindergarten. The teachers acted it out and described, what it felt like to be the large tree, the bird pecking the flesh of the mangos, the wind blowing the leaves off the tree. What a thrill when the dramatic story was acted for the Parent “What is Waldorf Eduction” evening. THEN it became a long enjoyed Circle game and the children were thrilled also to take different “roles” each day.
This year the Lantern Festival was imminent and at my suggestion, the teachers wrote stories of what “lanterns mean to me ” from their respective village or town lives. These were powerful when spoken out on eve of the Lantern Festival when parents and children came to sing and walk in the dark with their carefully crafted lanterns. One teacher was a little flame that needed protection. One by one the teachers (and cook) came forth and spoke the story they had written: ” in my village when the nights grew dark”…. then becoming a “Post” then forming walls with coloured veils as they linked with another teacher. Soon the circle was complete and the flame was protected and could give light to the people outside the lantern without danger of the ever increasing wind blowing her out. We sang “This Little Light of Mine” (as I had taught the teachers in the previous year) and other practiced songs, as children and families went on their long walk into the night dark.
Everyday of the training we did the physical work necessary to build up the compost, clean up the yards and to make new compost and garden beds. A favourite outing was to the agricultural centre to collect manure for the compost and clay for the tree pasting and play.
We studied some children with particular needs whom I had observed in the previous week. We practiced “healthy living” techniques to better support the children and parents and teachers. We hosted a much appreciated parent evening on “The Importance of Play”.
Our last day together was a “Festival of Sports ” as it was a National Holiday for Fiji. Teachers were asked to bring traditional games as they had grown up with. We had a grand time. Even the grounds keeper, cooks and family children joining us too in a covering our bodies with clay as collected on our agricultural day, and sliding down the steep hill on a watered tarpaulin.
I was made aware upon arrival of some staff conflict. Throughout our time together we practiced consciousness raising exercises for the questions: “what do I need to do to take responsibility for myself and my colleagues and the School? This offered colleagues a chance to “tell their story”, to “hear the other” in a “held” space; to hear suggestions for self reflection and to make commitments for change to better serve self and school integrity.
It is a joy to work with these teachers and parents and children. THANK you SUVA FLAME Waldorf SCHOOL.
Above: The teachers at Flame Waldorf School acting out the ‘Mango Tree’ story
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