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Looking Towards the Future with Enthusiasm

The practical arts: developing judgement, confidence, and flexibility in the middle school student.


A winter renewal course for those who work with adolescents

February 14, 15 and 16, 2020

Friday evening to Sunday afternoon

(Friday 6pm registration, 7:30 Lecture)

Tuition:  $265 includes materials

Activities for the weekend will include felting and an up-cycled sewing project that will inspire collaboration and an opportunity to address the global textile situation – working together and connecting to the greater world. Then on Sunday morning, we will share our experiences from the weekend and the work we are already doing in the middle school.

Friday, February 14

6pm registration


7:30pm Lecture with

Jon McAlice

(Open to the public)


Saturday, February 15

8:30am – Movement with Will Crane

9:30am – Working groups first session

12 - Presentation by Jon McAlice

1pm – Lunch Break

2 – 5:30pm Working groups second session

Sunday, February 16

9am Movement with Will Crane

10am gather for sharing

12pm Closing

Embracing the Earth - The Developmental Importance of the Practical Arts in a Digital Society
Lecture with Jon McAlice


Jon McAlice will be the featured speaker. Starting Friday evening, he will share his thoughts on working with young people, engaging their imagination and will, helping them connect with nature and feel at home in the world they will inherit. 


McAlice has worked in the international Waldorf schools movement for many years as a teacher and lecturer. He has been involved in teacher training institutes throughout Europe and in the United States, focusing primarily on questions of human development and the psychology of learning. Jon is also skilled in practical work including farming, boatbuilding, and carpentry.

"When we transform natural materials with our hands...we enter into relationship with the outer world."  Renate Hiller  

Young adolescent students awaken to a world with many daunting problems that they will inherit. Can we look with them into the world and help them to embrace it? Is it possible to engage them and find a way to confirm the situation and yet build hope as we learn skills in a collaborative project? Working with natural materials brings a connection to natural world allowing a pathway for solutions to be discovered.

Waldorf education has a strong, tried and true curriculum in the realm of hands on activities. Thinking a bit out of the box, we can enliven our projects to help students feel connected to the greater world and confident to meet the future. This work would require the teacher to find her own authentic interest and concerns, and her unique skills that create her connection to the world. We will spend our time together this weekend in two different workshops exploring the possibilities.

Please bring samples or photos of projects you may already do with students to share with us.


Piecing together our hopes for the future
with Melendy Comey


There is a growing awareness of the toll that the textile/clothing industry is taking on our earth and on human beings: a toll of toxicity, human suffering and over abundance of materials. As textiles make up a large part of the Waldorf handwork curriculum, it would be appropriate to address the global issue in a project with our middle school students. We offer beautiful natural materials throughout the curriculum; A project that uses recycled materials would be an effective way to heighten awareness as well as teach new skills. Melendy will lead us in a sewing project to do just that - cutting geometric shapes and with hand sewing piecing them together to make something new.


Please bring about one half-yard of recycled/upcycled woven fabric, natural fibers preferred.


Melendy Comey is handwork teacher at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Vermont for many years. She is a graduate of the 2nd cycle of the Applied Arts program and is currently high school craft teacher and class advisor.


Seeds of Hope: Bringing new life into the Middle School curriculum with intention
with Laura Montano


In this workshop we will take up felting, a frequent middle school handwork activity, and see the possibility for connecting to nature and to the wider world. This workshop aims to guide teachers to help adolescent students voice their thoughts and concerns, and to formulate positive thoughts for the future. Laura will present her experience working with students to voice their worries and wishes regarding the world as they see it. Together through a simple felting project, we will create felted pods or seeds, which will be imbued with hopes for the future; we will try to create a collaborative felted piece with them.

All materials will be provided.


Laura Montano is a graduate of the 4th cycle of the Applied Arts Program and has been teaching for 16 years at the Rudolf Steiner School and most recently at the Brooklyn Waldorf School.

Reserve your housing with Threefold Holder House here.

Plan your meals with Threefold Cafe here.

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