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What we are about
Course contents are inspired by the insights of Rudolf Steiner whose unbiased observations and clear concepts have introduced the World to a new direction in our understanding of child development. We wish to pass this transformative understanding on to you.
THE PARENTS COURSE presenters’ community is drawn from practicing professionals —- therapists, teachers, medical doctors and nurses.
Warwick Sandler has worked as a Waldorf teacher (mostly in New Zealand) for over 40 years. both as class teacher and as upper (secondary) school specialist in the sciences and arts and crafts. Warwick also worked in curative education for four years and held various teaching positions in state primary and secondary schools. He is now lives in Motueka with an interest in helping to establish Motueka Steiner School’s farm-based venture and from where he runs adult education courses. He is father of seven and grandfather to eleven children.
Robyn Ritchie is a paediatric Occupational Therapist. Her interest in the senses began 50 years ago with the discovery of Sensory Integrative Therapy and Steiner's 12 senses. "This lifetime's study has greatly added to my understanding of children and child development. I was a founding member of Novalis House, I am trained in Extra Lesson and continue my work in early intervention at The Champion Centre in Christchurch."
If you would like Robyn to personally give talks or workshops anywhere in New Zealand you can contact her on:
Emma Ratcliff is a paediatric Occupational Therapist . Emma brings together a combination of Steiner's picture of child development and the 12 senses and neuroscience. Emma works both in Waldorf schools and mainstream education.
Julie Frew has a degree in occupational therapy and is currently on maternity leave with her one year old, Sylvan Skye. She is also mum to Felix who attends Steiner kindergarten in Otautahi. Julie is passionate about working with the senses as conceived by Rudolf Steiner in a paediatric therapy context, together with a neurosequential approach and incorporating Nature into therapy.
Marie Palzer-Tate was a foundation pupil of Motueka Steiner School. Her fascination for human development, especially the first 7 years of life, led her to study a Bachelor of Education specialising in Waldorf education to then work as a kindergarten teacher. She is now a mum and enjoys gardening, mountains and horseback adventures.
Michael Burton has worked internationally as an actor, playwright, speech therapist and speech and drama teacher. He has written lots of books and plays including "IN THE LIGHT OF A CHILD" - a version of Steiner’s Soul Calendar, rewritten for children - and "A SPIRITUAL ROADMAP; Walking the Path in the 21st Century" - both published by SteinerBooks, NY.
René de Monchy is working as a psychiatrist in Tauranga, after many years working as a GP in an anthroposophical/holistic practice in Hawke’s Bay and Wellington. He remains actively involved in Steiner Waldorf education with his children nd now his grandchildren, and he has an active interest in the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School.
Edith van der Meer was instrumental in the start of the Waldorf Kindergarten and school in Tauranga. She has taught as a handwork teacher at Taikura Rudolf Steiner School in Hastings for 14 years then retrained as the nursery and, later, kindergarten teacher at the same school.
She is currently involved in kindergarten support (in NZ, Fiji and Indonesia), and gives parent and craft courses. Edith helps to coordinate and teaches on the three year part time Early Childhood Diploma course here in NZ.
Edith is married with four grown children (and their partners), who have all had a full Waldorf education. She has eight grandchildren. The Young Child has always been the centre of her life. To be following the development of her grandchildren has been awe-inspiring!
For information on the internationally recognized NZSTDEC diploma course (of which Edith is a coordinator and tutor) and as mentor for Waldorf EC in Indonesia and Fiji, or for talks, presentations and crafts, on anything to do with Early Childhood, you are welcome to contact Edith on
Rosie Simpson currently sits on the leadership council at Taruna College where she is course director for the Certificate in Rudolf Steiner Education. Alongside this she teaches on the Art of Well-being programme and holds weekly Art for Beginners classes.Her engagement with, and enthusiasm for, Rudolf Steiner education spans decades: as a curative educator, a house parent at Hohepa, a class teacher and more recently as principal at Taikura Rudolf Steiner School in Hastings.
Brian Tracey has been a class teacher, firstly at Hohepa homes and then at Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School where he took through three classes. Next, he was programme director at Taruna Training College, supporting the adult students both in education and biodynamics courses. He is currently in prison ................... teaching.
Lut Hermans did her Occupational Therapy training in Belgium, Sculpture at Emerson College (UK) and Extra Lesson through TELI, Australia. She now works in private practice in Lower Hutt with the Extra Lesson and Sculpture therapy. She is a founding member of the Aurora Collective --- a group of therapeutic and medical professionals who have, for many years, been meeting weekly to hold client case studies and for professional development.
You can contact Lut via: www.imagostudio.co.nz
Trisha has a deep insight into the complexity and dynamics of family and home life with a particular passion regarding the interplay between the inner life of the parent/caregiver and the growing child.She draws on her experience as a mother and grandmother, a Psychosynthesis counsellor, life story consultant and of many years working in the disability sector.Trisha has a great belief in the healing capacity of the human spirit to transform the highs and lows of life into wisdom and compassion
I have been involved with anthroposophy and Steiner school initiatives for many years, working as a remedial Steiner teacher in Germany and learning support coordinator in Australia, as well as teacher trainer and coach in different countries. I retired from teaching children and went back to university to study for myself, reviewing and deepening my understanding of child development and challenges along the way ,combining different approaches from natural and spiritual science teachers might be able to apply to help the growing children in their care. I am particularly interested in joining children to connect with nature, having worked as a gardening teacher with my remedial high school students for many years.
I am now in New Zealand to accompany the Motueka Steiner School on its way to become an integrated Steiner b-d farm school, taking this topic up as a PhD research project with Auckland University and am eager to share some of my experiences with young teachers
here who want to make a difference for their community and themselves.
Cheryl hails from Victoria Australia. She was a class teacher in Waldorf Schools in Victoria and Canberra. Throughout those years, she attained a Master of Education which included an Action Research project focusing on the 9 year old Rubicon Crossing. Cheryl taught part time at the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner school teacher training seminar and presented many workshops and training programs for teachers and parents.
When her final class graduated to high school, she moved to Spring Valley in New York State to study at The Christian Community Seminary. She was ordained in March 2019, and moved to Auckland.
She visits all Christian Communities throughout the country, works part time as a primary / middle school mentor at Titirangi Waldorf School and enjoys visiting other Waldorf schools in New Zealand whenever possible.
Julian Thomson emigrated from England in 1994 to teach Upper School Earth Sciences, Biology and Outdoor Education and a variety of other subjects, for 14 years , at the Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School and was involved in teacher training and curriculum design. In 2007 he left school teaching to work as a science communicator and educator for New Zealand's government geological research institute (GNS). In 2020 he started his own geoscience communication and education consultancy. Julian now works with geoscience researchers to inform schools and the public about their work through different media. He also works with Waldorf schools to train teachers and help with revitalising their education programmes. He is still connected with Raphael House School as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Proprietors’ Trust.
While usually a high school maths teacher he has been a class teacher for 7 of his roughly 40 years of teaching. He loves to direct plays and has directed between one and five a year in most of his years of teaching. He has also occasionally trod the boards himself. He is often surprised that despite all that time, teaching is still lots of fun.
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