15 years ago I entered The Waldorf Teacher Training Program here in Eugene, Oregon. The Training program is fundamentally transformative by a full immersion into the arts of all kinds. Sculpture, Water color, mixed media, chalk board drawing, singing, Eurythmy, Theater and Speech among much else. “Waldorf teachers believe that the human being is not just a brain – but a being with heart and limbs – a being of will and feeling, as well as of intellect. To ensure that education does not produce one-sided individuals, crippled in emotional health and volition, these less conscious aspects of our human nature must constantly be exercised, nourished, and guided. Here the arts and practical skills make their essential contribution, educating not only heart and hand but, in very real ways, the brain as well.” http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/skills.asp
Given my more athletic mainstream background I was naturally very nervous at finding myself sitting next to many Masters of Arts students on the first day of art class. I asked myself, “What does painting have to do with teaching Kindergarten?” and, “Perhaps I don’t belong here after all” . But although my fears were immense after a lifetime of firmly believing I was not remotely artistic… my art teacher, Christopher Guilfoil, lifted the first layers of a lifetime of fear the first time I was given an art lesson. He led us through a painting of two swimming swans using a wet on wet technique I now use weekly with the children. I loved it. I melted into the color that swam luxuriously across my paper and lost all track of time. To this day I find that I no longer need food or sleep for long periods of time if I am ensconced somewhere with good lighting, quality paper, a glass jar of clear water and my art supplies. That painting later was the first piece of artwork I ever published in Lillipoh Magazine (www.lillipoh.com). I now strive to make my work with the children as artistic as possible in anyway I can…. Chalkboard drawings, the Nature Table, The palette of color and textures of all that grows in our garden, the Rainbow Soup we eat on Soup Days, their cubby pictures, the lazured walls of the classroom itself as well as my house are all visual reminders of just where inspiration, imagination and intuition can blossom in even someone dedicated and determinedly set in her opinion that art was just not in her. I now believe we are all artists and it is my joy and honor to foster and share the awakening of such capacities in the children, my community and the world.