NNA News for civil society

East African Waldorf conference inspires learning

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 | By Teresia Muthoni Gachiri


DAR-ES-SALAAM (NNA) – “Inspiring children to learn” was the theme of this year’s East African Conference on Waldorf Education, which was held at the Hekima Waldorf School in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this year.                  

Participants were mainly drawn from the East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. However, there were also participants from Europe, South Africa, Nigeria and America. The organisers had invited guest lecturers to talk on different topics and also to run various workshops. 

The first speaker was Susan Cook, a retired Waldorf teacher from San Francisco. Her lecture was entitled “The Art of Teaching”. She talked about the qualities of a good Waldorf teacher and also about pedagogical basic principles.

The second speaker was Truus Warrinck from Denmark. Her topic was on “The Millenial Child”. She talked about the individuality and spirituality of a child. She gave examples of extraordinary children who were in her kindergarten class and whom she has kept in touch with many years later. She emphasized the importance of learning through the arts by saying, “Living education is like a flowering plant. Teachers have to give living water to the plant.”

The next speaker was Ann Sharfman who is a teacher trainer at the Centre for Creative Education, Cape Town, South Africa. Her topic was “Story telling”.

She emphasised the importance of stories in the teaching and learning process. She stressed that stories build up the listening capacity in children. Most importantly she said that fairy tales help us to balance the masculine and feminine principles in us.

The last lecture was given by Rashid Mbuguni who is the founder of the Waldorf Trust in Tanzania. His topic was “The evolution of humanity”. In his talk, Rashid Mbuguni talked of the consciousness of the child and the influence from the child’s environment. He also talked about the evolving consciousness being collective and not just for individuals.

Besides these wonderful lectures, the hosts had also organised workshops. Eurythmy was carried out by Peter van Alphen from the Centre for Creative Education, South Africa. Painting was done by Susan Cook from San Francisco. The workshop on medicinal plants was overseen by Dr. Feleshi from Tanzania. Ann Sharfman from the Centre for Creative Education carried the workshop on kindergarten teaching and story telling.

During the closing ceremony, three teachers were awarded diplomas in Waldorf education, having completed ten modules of teacher training and mentorship.

The highlight of the closing ceremony was a social evening that brought together all the participants of the conference in a socialising event. The social evening gave participants a forum where they could have fun and enjoy each other’s company as well as get to know one another away from the serious lectures.

The next East African Pedagogical Conference will be held from 15-18 February 2012 at the Nairobi Waldorf School in Kenya.

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Item: 110915-01EN Date: 15 September

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