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The Role of Waldorf Education in Navigating the 21st Century

Updated: February 9, 2024

Registration is open! We hope you will join us for the Northern California Waldorf Teachers Conference 2024, “The Role of Waldorf Education in Navigating the 21st Century”.

We are very excited to have Ben Klocek as our keynote speaker. Ben is a web designer, teacher, and Sacramento Waldorf School alum, has worked in tech for over 20 years and has been studying how our use of screen technology affects our lives. He teaches technology and woodworking in a public Waldorf charter school. He is the father of two children, ages 12 and 14, and is an avid naturalist, artist, and gardener.

We also have many new workshop leaders joining us this year, taking up this important work and supporting the conference with their expertise and fresh perspective on the topic of digital technology’s effect on children. You can view the full list of workshops along with a short bio on each of the workshop leaders below.

If you will be traveling to the conference for the first time, please look over the “Enjoy Your Stay” document below.

Northern California Waldorf Teachers Conference

The Role of Waldorf Education in Navigating the 21st Century
With Keynote Speaker, Ben Klocek

February 21-22, 2024 | 9am-3pm PT & February 23, 2024 | 9am-1:45pm PT

The traditional values of Waldorf education were deeply challenged during the pandemic when teachers, students, and parents moved into online modes of teaching. It was an unprecedented emergency that required compromise in the interest of staying connected with our students and families. In the process, a door that Waldorf education had tried to firmly regulate for decades was thrown open and now many Waldorf teachers and schools feel uncertain about where to place themselves in the relentless rollout of digital technology.

Is this the new norm? What is developmentally appropriate? What new work needs to be done and what can we say to our students and their parents to build a common understanding of how to live with technology?
Moving forward, how do we find a contemporary and healthy relationship to being the “doorkeepers” of technology’s effects on children? We need to be both better informed and more proactive in rediscovering appropriate new thresholds that are true to the underlying intentions of Waldorf education and also true to the realities of our time.

Waldorf graduate and teacher Ben Klocek will lead us in re-finding our feet, walking our talk, and sharing an inspiring vision for a healthy relationship to technology as we navigate these developments of our time.

Ben Klocek, a web designer, teacher, and Sacramento Waldorf School alum, has worked in tech for over 20 years and has been studying how our use of screen technology affects our lives. He teaches technology and woodworking in a public Waldorf charter school. He is the father of two children, ages 12 and 14, and is an avid naturalist, artist, and gardener.

Conference Fee: $185

A discount is available for group signups. Participants may choose to attend this conference either in-person or online. Online participants will join the keynote lectures and plenums, and will be able to participate in online discussion/workshop groups.

In-person at the Marin Waldorf School, 755 Idylberry Road, San Rafael, CA 94903

For more information, please contact:
tiffany@bacwtt.org | (415) 479-4400 | www.bacwtt.org


Northern California Waldorf Teachers Conference 2024
Wednesday, February 21 – Friday, February 23

Wednesday & Thursday Conference Schedule

9:00am-10:30am: Lecture with Ben Klocek
10:30am-11am: Snack break
11:00am-12:30pm: Workshops
12:30pm-1:30pm: Lunch break
1:30pm-3:00pm: Plenum discussion
3:00pm: Closing of the day

Friday Conference Schedule

9:00am-12:30pm: Same as above
12:30pm-1:15pm: Shorter lunch break
1:15pm-1:45pm: Workshop sharing, closing thoughts, and end of conference

Northern California Waldorf Teachers Conference 2024 Workshops

Online participants may choose one online workshop.

In-person attendees may attend either the in-person only workshops or they may go into a designated room on campus to attend an online workshop.

Our hope is that each school will ensure that they have faculty representation in each workshop so that all of the information and experiences being offered may find its way back into schools.

In-Person Workshops

Nature Therapy” with Maureen Curran Turtletaub

In this workshop, we will explore the therapeutic modalities of Transformative Movement Education, a practical experiential method for developing original, creative, essential connections to the natural world, self, other, community, and world. These connections develop capacities and inspires original, relevant curriculum. In over 40 years of working with children, teens, and adults, it has become clear that those who can choose to spend time tech-free are able to remain conscious of who they are and why they are on the planet.

Maureen Curran Turtletaub Bio

Maureen Curran Turtletaub has been involved in Therapeutic Education for over thirty years. She is the founder of TME, Transformative Movement Education®, a program based in the natural world as a model for the students-first classroom. She is the co-founder of Meristem, a holistic approach to working with autistic young people, ages 18-28, who are working towards independence.

“Eurythmy to Strengthen the Will and Gather Courage into our Being” with Karen Gallagher

We will work with copper rods to take command of our own space while working with sensitivity for the spatial movement of others. Our goal is to establish practical eurythmy work that can be taken up and utilized regularly within one’s own daily routine or weekly rhythm. Taking these types of exercises into the classroom by the class teacher for work with children could be a topic of discussion and consideration. Workbooks are recommended, to draw and record what is being learned. These notes prove vital to carrying on a personal practice over time.

Karen Gallagher Bio

Karen graduated from Eurythmy Spring Valley, New York, and obtained a bachelor’s degree through the eurythmy school in Oslo, Norway. In addition to eurythmy, she has 24 years of classroom experience in a variety of subjects including: Spanish, choir, theater, and life skills. Karen currently resides in Point Richmond, California and serves on the teaching faculty at Wildcat Canyon Community School. Karen has a special relationship with the Waldorf teacher training at the Center for Anthroposophical Development and is a member of the BACWTT faculty.

“How Can Clay Sculpture Bring Balance and Grounding in the Child’s World Full of Technology?” with Lut Hermans and Ken Smith

We will explore the art of sculpture as a calming, grounding activity from three different perspectives: to observe what is happening in the threefold being, the fourfold being and the 12 senses. We will look at the why and how of sculpting, learning how to support children in this activity, so that it can become a tool that supports healthy development and offers balance to the disrupting aspects of our technology.

Lut Hermans Bio

In 1986, Lut began her career as an occupational therapist at Iona Institute in Belgium, working with adults and young people with developmental delays and challenges. Her question of how sculpture could be therapeutic started there, leading her to the sculpture training at Emerson College in England from 1993-1996. In 2005, she started training to become an Extra Lesson Practitioner, which brought her back to a deeper understanding of child development and how we can help children reach their full potential—academically, socially, and emotionally.

Ken Smith Bio

Ken Smith is the Director of BACWTT. He studied at Emerson College, England, and completed his training in sculpture and the visual arts with practices in pedagogical and therapeutic work. After working in Waldorf education, he taught  as Course Leader of the 3-year Visual Arts and Sculpture Training program at Emerson  College. He has been active internationally in Anthroposophical art and Waldorf education for over 25 years.

“Woodcarving” with Robert O’Brien

Experience the fundamental formative activity of “shaping by taking away” material. In this workshop, we will carve large boards by hand to create lively, moving, breathing surfaces. We will explore how woodcarving can provide a health building formative activity that can balance the effects of screen time through the willful engagement of the physical body, open the senses through the beauty of the wood, and support the life of the eye through the creation of a lively carved surface.

Robert O’Brien Bio

Robert has attended a wide variety of art workshops and courses at several institutions including Rudolf Steiner College, the Goetheanum, the Emerald Institute and the Tobias School of Transpersonal Arts. He is a frequent facilitator of small groups in a range of artistic media. He is currently enrolled in the BACWTT Healing Through Art program and works as a resident aide to young adults with neurodiversity.

Anthroposophic Medical Perspectives

Wednesday: “The Sensitive Child” with Dr. Daciana Iancu

Children born during these times tend to be much more sensitive and hyper aware of their environment.  Is this a gift, a problem, or a karmic consequence? Furthermore, our environment is abounding with nerve sensory stimuli that are taxing to these children.  Consequently, anxiety is prevalent among both parents and children. How can we support these sensitive children in today’s culture and environment and how can we better support their anxious parents? We will engage in a community exploration and conversation about these topics.

Dr. Daciana Iancu Bio

Dr. Iancu has been practicing medicine for 25 years and has worked in hospitals, ICUs, hospice, nursing homes, and primary care. In 2004, she was one of the first doctors to become certified in Holistic Medicine. In 2014, Dr. Iancu discovered Anthroposophic Medicine, a comprehensive medicine model that, in addition to the physical body, considers the energetic, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the human being. After 18 years of working for a large HMO, Dr. Iancu started her own private practice in 2018, where she can provide personalized care in a slow, intimate setting, using multiple modalities.  

Thursday: “Caring for the Body as Bridge for the Spiritual Being of the Child” with Teresa Ferrari

We will explore the beginnings of Anthroposophic Nursing & the nursing attitude toward activating the healing forces in each human being. Nurses consciously work with the threefold hand and various forms of touch – we will work with those that could facilitate your work with children. We will also look at some substances that are used for external applications which may have a classroom application. 

Teresa Ferrari Bio

Teresa graduated from USF School of Nursing in 1981, became certified in Waldorf Teacher Training in 2000, Oil Dispersion Bath Therapy in 2012, Rhythmical Einreibungen in 2016, and became an Anthroposophic Nurse Specialist in 2018. Her main areas of focus are Rhythmical Einreibungen or Embrocation (RE) & External Applications of compresses and oil cloths. Utilizing nursing knowledge of the human being and life processes, as well as human development, allows her to tailor the plant-based external application to the patient’s unique situation and life phase.

Friday: “Humanizing the Modern Child—The Effects of Technology on Healthy Development and What Anthroposophic Medicine Can Do” with Dr. Carmen Hering

In this workshop we will discuss common health conditions found in today’s modern child and explore ways that Anthroposophic Medicine seeks to strengthen, balance and support the child in reaching their full human potential.

Dr. Carmen Hering Bio

Dr. Hering is a California licensed physician and surgeon, board-certified in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, and certified in Anthroposophic Medicine. She is president of the Physicians Association for Anthroposophic Medicine (PAAM), co-director of PAAM Training, serves as faculty for Anthroposophic medical training and the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teaching Training (BACWTT), and as adjunct medical faculty at Touro University, College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Hering founded Live Oak Medicine, an interdisciplinary clinic that brings osteopathy, Anthroposophic medicine, nursing and artistic therapies all together under one roof. She co-founded Acorn Community Clinic, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to integrative medicine and therapies, especially for children, as well as the Foundation for Health Creation, a non-profit organization dedicated to patient education and outreach.

Online Workshops

“AI and the Digital Revolution” with Jason Yates

Experience this interactive workshop where we will discuss artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technologies shaped by the digital revolution. Gain fresh perspectives on how these innovations are changing our experience of being human in today’s world. We will also explore strategies for fostering healthy relationships with technology for ourselves and the children in our care.

Jason Yates Bio

Jason Yates was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and earned his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University before working for more than two decades as a technology consultant with a specialty in virtual reality. He completed his eurythmy training at Rudolf Steiner College and subsequently performed eurythmy on stages throughout Europe and Asia. After studying therapeutic eurythmy in Germany, Jason moved to British Columbia where he worked in a Camphill community and taught in local Waldorf Schools. Jason has a master’s degree in therapeutic eurythmy and is the foundation year director at Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene.

“Virtual Reality; Reality as Virtue” with Jaimen McMillan

Virtual Reality exerts a steady, silent, spatial tug-of-war on our attention span, memory, values, and even our free will. In these workshops we will get real. We will learn real, practical, down to earth tips to help children, youth and adults counteract the paralyzing pull of virtual reality. Using the discipline of Spacial Dynamics® we will examine the unique physical, health, psychological, and spatial challenges that virtual reality presents us with. We will experience that moving and meeting playfully and lightly, in the real world, and even in the virtual world, might just foster the real virtue that is becoming truly essential.

Jaimen McMillan Bio

Jaimen McMillan has been working in the fields of movement education, movement therapy, coaching, and world peace for over 50 years. By experimenting with this body/mind/space continuum, Jaimen developed a system of movement education, movement therapy, and coaching that incorporates the body and the contiguous space as a functional whole. This growing body of work gelled in 1985 into the discipline he calls Spacial Dynamics®. He continues to champion social change through Hands in Peace, a model he created with Thom Schaefer, which adapted the ancient Greek pentathlon events for youth. Applying this model on four different continents with children and youth from countries in conflict, they received recognition at the United Nations for their decades-long work of supporting the culture of friendship and peace around the world. Jaimen is a co-author of the book The Fourfold Path to Healing (with Dr. Tom Cowan and Sally Fallon), author of the book Still Moving, produced with photographer Karen Alexandre, and is a regular contributor to books and journals about education and health.

“An Octave of Hygienic Practices for Self Care and Social Healing” with Warren Lee Cohen and Douglas Gerwin

Based on Rudolf Steiner’s Six Basic Exercises (plus an added two), we will build together an incremental “scale” of eight hygienic practices, demonstrating their uncanny relevance to the most common social ailments of our times, including those related to an excessive use of digital media. Through collaboration, we can meet the challenges of our times and create what no single voice can achieve on its own. Newcomers and seasoned practitioners––and all in between––are welcome to engage and reflect with us on these so-called “essential” exercises.

Warren Lee Cohen Bio

Warren Lee Cohen is currently the Grade 7 class teacher, woodwork teacher, and board member at the Toronto Waldorf School. He has been the Co-Director of the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, where he founded the Summer Festival of Arts and Education. Before that, he led the Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy at Emerson College, UK.  Warren has a background in both physics and in sculpture. His dedication to scientific inquiry and his love of creating art come together harmoniously in service of the development of others. His publications include The Waldorf Book of Blessings, Raising the Soul: Practical Exercises for Personal Development, Baking Bread with Children, and Dragon Baked Bread

Douglas Gerwin Bio

Douglas Gerwin, Ph.D., a Waldorf graduate, is Executive Director of the Center for Anthroposophy (CfA). He has taught at the university and Waldorf high school levels for over 40 years and has helped prepare high school educators to teach for over a quarter-century. Editor of ten books and author of numerous articles on Waldorf education and anthroposophy, he is also Executive Director of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education (RIWE). In 1996, he founded CfA’s Waldorf High School Teacher Education Program (WHiSTEP), a graduate-level training specifically for high school teachers, which he chaired for 26 years. He is a founding member of the Leadership Council in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and also sits on the Pedagogical Section Council of the School for Spiritual Science of the Anthroposophical Society in America. In addition, for the past decade he has been a member of the Hague Circle.

“The Changing Student in Light of Technology” with Tonya Stoddard

How do we begin to understand the significant changes that have taken place in the 21st century in the physical, etheric, and astral bodies of the modern student? How do we approach the students in a way that supports their capacities for learning in the present, but that meets the needs of our future world? Participants will discuss how teachers and Waldorf education can remain relevant and inspirational in the age of technology.

Tonya Stoddard Bio

Tonya Stoddard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a master’s in social work and a certification in anthroposophical psychology. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with diverse populations and issues, including parent-child relationships. She likes to help others work toward transformation by leading them to develop the capacities of thinking, feeling, and willing through cultivating a rich inner life, making healthy environmental choices, and creating a positive path toward healing. Tonya is the Educational Support Specialist at the Waldorf School of Tampa Bay and is a faculty member of the Healing Through Art program.

The Hermmes Project—Holistic Education, Resilience and Media Maturity in Educational Settings

Parents, teachers and researchers working towards a development-oriented and age-appropriate approach to ICT and media education. The goal of the HERMMES project is that at the end of their school career, pupils are “media mature.” They should be able to use the full range of analog and digital media for their own education, participation in civil society, and the labor market. In addition, they should be able to sovereignly decide how much time to spend on digital tools, for which purpose, and always with a conscious and critical approach to the content shared or con-sumed through media. Thus age-appropriate and development-oriented media education only introduces digital technology in classrooms after children demonstrate media maturity and a high level of media literacy.
Learn more about the Hermmes Project here.

Wednesday: A Whole-Community Approach
Introduction to Hermmes Project by Márti Domokos, European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) and the European Network of Steiner Waldorf Parents (ENSWaP) and Dora Šimunović, European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education.
Why a holistic and whole-school approach?
Clara Aerts, International Association for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE)
Workshop: Julia Kernbach, Alanus University

Thursday: Indirect and Direct Media Education
Workshop: Dr. Robert Neumann, Freie Hochschule Stuttgart

Friday: Analogue or Digital?
Professor Dr. Paula Bleckmann, Alanus University
Closing Words: Christopher Clouder, The Hague Circle and the European Network of Steiner Waldorf Parents (ENSWaP)

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