Tradition &

Faculty Friday: Waldorf Faculty Lead Sunbridge Conference

“[Waldorf School of Garden City] faculty, Jeannine Davis and Erin Fitzgerald, facilitated the 2020 Subject Teachers Conference this past weekend, and forged new connections among subject teacher colleagues from around the country. Teachers from all disciplines joined together at Sunbridge Institute to talk about child development, collaboration with colleagues, and classroom management. Each returned home with new tools for teaching their students and caring for themselves, as well as new friendships forged!” shared Linda Ogden, Sunbridge Institute.

The Sunbridge Institute, North America’s oldest Waldorf teacher education institution, hosted the biennial conference last week. There, teachers gathered to explore topics ranging from Classroom Management, Child Development, and addressing the sensitive topics of gender and race. Through role-play, discussions, and presentations (led by Ms. Davis and Ms. Fitzgerald), Subject Teachers were given the opportunity to expand their toolbox of strategies and delve into the most effective grade-specific methods to work in collaboration with Class Teachers. The conference was at capacity with attendees from across the country.

Jeannine Davis opened the conference, with her keynote address, “The Task of Our Time,” in which she highlighted the importance of an arts education for child development. In her talk and slide presentation, Jeannine shared specifics about the 1st -8th-grade gardening curriculum she built at The Waldorf School of Garden City. She explained the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge required to address the overarching curricular themes, as well as the specific needs of students at each developmental stage. This talk formed a foundation for the following day’s discussions, where subject teachers shared with each other the commonalities and the specifics of their areas of teaching.

Overall, the educators left the conference reenergized, having shared techniques and perspectives that they can take back to their own classrooms. Jeannine summed it up well when she said, “It was a wonderful experience to collaborate and brainstorm with such talented teachers from all over the country. Maria Ver Ecke (Eurythmy), Erin Fitzgerald (Movement), and Jana Hawley brought such mastery to their crafts.”

All photos courtesy of the Sunbridge Institute

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