Teacher training seminar course
Our teacher training course aims to provide a foundation in the fundamentals of Steiner Waldorf education that is essential for anyone who wishes to teach in a Steiner Waldorf school.
The Seminar’s academic year runs from September to July, in three terms, with short breaks at Christmas and Easter and a week-long Summer School at the end of the first year, and a three-day conference at the end of the second year. The Summer School and Conference take place off-site.
Sessions are held from 9am to 5pm every Saturday during term time.
This course has evolved over more than 30 years to include a balance of artistic activities and curriculum study, with a view to developing the qualities and faculties every teacher needs; an awareness of the developmental needs of children at each age, and of individual children at any age, and the confidence, resources and skills to meet those needs in a creative and living way.
Because the course is part time and takes place on Saturdays, it can be fitted around work and family commitments and so attracts people from a wide range of backgrounds. Current students include people already teaching in Steiner Waldorf schools and in the state system, parents, PGCE students and professional people who are looking for a change of direction.
Graduates of the course have gone on to teach successfully in all areas of Lower and Upper School as well as in Kindergartens and Playgroups, mostly in the UK, but increasingly all over the world. Some have also chosen to stay in state education and use what they have learned on the course to enrich their work there. However, it should be noted that the London Waldorf Seminar does not offer a state recognised teaching qualification.
The three primary strands
The course is structured around ..
- Artistic development of the student (Teacher development). Steiner identified the three basic studies of Modelling, Music and Speech as essential for developing the skills and personal qualities needed. Music, in the form of singing, music theory and recorder playing, and speech in recitation, story-telling and drama are given as well as clay modelling. In addition, the course offers regular sessions in painting, drawing and handwork as well as various other artistic activities from time to time.
- Anthroposophical study - study of Steiner’s education and other lectures to support and deepen understanding of Anthroposophy as the basis of Steiner Waldorf education. Essential texts are The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy and The Study of Man (The Foundations of Human Experience) and these have been supplemented at various times by The Kingdom of Childhood, Waldorf Education for Adolescents, The Spirit of the Waldorf School, Practical Advice to Teachers and Discussions with Teachers, as well as individual lectures and passages from other books and lecture cycles, chosen by individual tutors. Study of lectures on festivals is also an important part of the study curriculum. While these are not studied directly on the course, students are encouraged to read Steiner’s basic books Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (How to Know Higher Worlds), Theosophy and Occult Science (Esoteric Science) to gain a good grounding in Anthroposophy.
- Child Development - in-depth study of the development of human consciousness in the individual and how its parallel in history is reflected in the curriculum to support the child at each stage. This includes a broad picture of the curriculum from this point of view, e.g. how the music, history, geography, maths (etc.) curriculum develops to reflect the child’s changing consciousness at each stage.
These three strands continue throughout the course with a change of emphasis from the first to the second year so that the students gain a good balance of theory and practical knowledge along with their continuing personal development.
In the first year the focus is on study of Child Development, supported by:
- classroom practice so that the students get used to presenting work and speaking.
- artistic development.
- study of some of Steiner’s education texts.
These things continue in the second year while students also work more intensively with putting the theory of Child Development into practice in preparation for school placements and embarking on life as a teacher. This is done through:
- rhythmic work for the classroom
- preparation and presentation of themes for Main Lessons
- specialist lessons (e.g. foreign languages, Science, Learning Support, Upper School)
- development of Maths and English teaching
Preparatory reading may be recommended at interview. Parallel reading during the course is also required, together with regular assignments. These, in addition to the weekly contact hours, call for the kind of commitment that is in any case an essential requisite for teaching.
Teaching Observation and Practice
Observation and teaching practice are in addition to the time specified for general seminar work. Observation can be spread out over a period and is usually undertaken during the first year of training. Teaching practice is normally in blocks of not less than three weeks during the second and third terms of the second year. Both observation and practice are mandatory with a minimum of three weeks (fifteen days) for each. However, it is our aim and responsibility to ensure that our students are properly prepared for teaching and so we often make specific recommendations to individuals with regard to the kind and amount of observation and teaching practice they need to do. Sometimes students are unable, because of work commitments, to do the required observation and teaching practice while they are taking the course. In these cases, it is possible to do it at a later date. Certification at different levels allows for this.
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More course information
LWS course description (pdf)
Apply for the course
Assessment and Certification
The London Waldorf Seminar does not offer training for Kindergarten teachers. For information about Early Years training in London, please email firstname.lastname@example.org