NEW VIDEO! A Conversation About Reading: Susan R. Johnson, M.D.
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Collaborate with teachers around the world to bring ease & joy to learning for all children.
In support of ease of learning for today's student population and functional school-wide interventions, Waldorf Learning Support strives to guide teachers in Steiner Waldorf inspired schools toward excellence by giving a solid theoretical foundation along with a variety of practical classroom strategies. Our aim is to provide anthroposophical, neuro-developmental and up-to-date pedagogical information coupled with opportunities for teacher self-development in artistic, movement, inner work and social areas.
After completing her class teaching years, Audrey McAllen was called by colleagues to give educational support to individual students from grades 3 and up who were behind in their learning. As she worked with individual students she discovered that many of them had difficulties with their fine and/or gross motor development.
At the time of her original Waldorf teacher training in the early 1940s, The Study of Man was not yet translated into English. Instead, the training included the study of Steiner’s Anthroposophy, Psychosophy and Pneumatosophy—with a focus on the first of these, "Anthroposophy," given by Steiner in October 1909. These lectures, plus insights gained from other Steiner lectures, built the foundation for McAllen to develop movement, drawing and painting exercises that would become part of the Extra Lesson approach. Her study focused on the invisible, archetypal forces that underlie all human physical development and its relationship to our Earth. McAllen gave us the specific Steiner lectures for study in order to deepen our understanding of the background to Extra Lesson. Joep Eikenboom, Steiner Waldorf Class Teacher in the Netherlands for 40 years, has made major contributions to guiding our study by synthesizing these and further anthroposophical lectures into his book The Foundations of Extra Lesson.
McAllen was asked by Else Göttgens to write down the exercises she developed. The first edition of The Extra Lesson was published in 1974. In the late 1990s, McAllen asked Ingun Schneider to expand on the latest edition; 1998 brought the first of these expanded texts. The most recent, seventh edition was published in 2013.
By the early 1980s, McAllen started traveling to teach her insights and approaches to Waldorf teachers and trainings in UK, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and USA. In 1990 she hosted a conference for teachers already introduced to her work with the goal of supporting the start of trainings for teachers to specialize in Extra Lesson. Teachers from USA, the Netherlands, and UK were present—with phone contact to a teacher in Australia. In 1991 Rudolf Steiner College (RSC), Association for a Healing Education, the Extra Lesson Association in Australia and a group in the Netherlands started educational support trainings.
Since then, trainings based on Extra Lesson were initiated in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain and Taiwan. Currently Italy and South Korea are working towards beginning sustainable Extra Lesson trainings. Several teacher training institutions are striving to include introductions to Extra Lesson in their curriculums. With support, Ingun Schneider developed the Remedial Educational Support program at RSC, directing it for over 27 years. In 2009 she was joined by Kris Boshell who trained to become her co-director. Jo-Ann Climenhage joined as an instructor.
The twelfth and last cohort at RSC celebrated its graduation in August 2017. In November 2017, Waldorf Learning Support started it first cohort in San Francisco, California. Ingun, Kris & Jo-Ann thus continued training learning support teachers in this rigorous, anthroposophical program. WLS is part of Waldorf Teacher Institute of Chicago (formerly Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program). This first WLS cohort had graduation planned for Summer 2020. The corona pandemic has brought the last, ninth session on-line with the final Case Study practicums on hold until they can be completed.
Joep Eikenboom has always been an appreciated contributor to each of the 12 cohorts of RSC's Remedial Educational Support Program. The first cycle of WLS has equally enjoyed his teachings. It is our pleasure to announce that Joep has joined WLS as a core instructor. He will be teaching in-person for summer conferences in the Three-Year Intensive training as before, and will regularly contribute to our hybrid programs in on-line lectures.
Today, WLS aims to maintain the rigor and strength of the work that came before, while reimagining new initiatives for this work in response to your increasing requests for bringing support to all the students in your everyday classrooms. Working under the auspices of WTI, an Associate Member of AWSNA, allows us to continue our commitment to working out of Anthroposophy, maintaining high standards of programming. Visit our programs pages to discover the new and exciting ways WLS is carrying this work into the future to reach your students today.
“To integrate the human being and the world as part of this developmental process, this is really the whole reason for our earth incarnation…it is only from the Earth that we can gain the forces for the future” (1989 A McAllen)