The Sophia Institute Foundation Studies and Waldorf Certificate Program are similar to the Foundation Studies and Waldorf Certificate Programs offered by other Waldorf Teacher Training Centers in the USA and Canada. Our courses prepare students to teach in Waldorf grade schools, Waldorf Kindergartens and preschools, and Waldorf high schools. Our graduates receive a certificate and have found work in Waldorf schools or other Anthroposophical organizations. Foundation Studies students have also transferred successfully into other teacher training programs and have received full credit for the courses taken at Sophia Institute. The completed Foundation Studies (or equivalent) are required for enrollment in most Waldorf Teacher Training programs.
The Foundation Studies form a complete unit. A student may elect to only complete the Foundation Studies or may progress to other programs after completion.
The Sophia Institute courses are designed to meet the needs of those individuals who want to develop their artistic abilities, and acquaint themselves with or deepen their understanding of the basic world-view of Anthroposophy brought by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). The achievements inspired by Anthroposophy can be seen throughout the modern world today. It attracts those people who wish to work out of new impulses in the fields of agriculture, the arts, education, curative education, social therapy, natural sciences, and medicine.
Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, while providing a background for those wishing to become teachers in Waldorf Schools, also offers the same opportunity to others who are interested in learning more about how they may work in the world, guided by a foundation in Anthroposophy. In the Foundation Studies broad themes of the essential nature of the human being and human development are taken up on many different levels.
1st Semester / 7 credits
1. What is Anthroposophy? An Introduction (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Definition and expression of Anthroposophy in our modern world.
Lesson 2: Rudolf Steiner's life and work (Part 1).
Lesson 3: Rudolf Steiner's life and work (Part 2).
Lesson 4: Rudolf Steiner's life and work (Part 3).
Lesson 5: Thinking, feeling and willing. The threefold human being.
Lesson 6: Physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego.
Lesson 7: The seven life processes and the seven soul types.
Lesson 8: The twelve senses.
Lesson 9: Anthroposophy at work in our modern times. The impulses of Anthroposophy in education, the arts, medicine, agriculture, and social issues.
Lesson 10: The structure of the Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science.
This course introduces students to specific themes and aspects of the Anthroposophical world-view, including an introduction to the teachings of its founder, Rudolf Steiner. The course offers an overview of Rudolf Steiner's life and work, his teachings, the philosophical and psychological foundations of Anthroposophy, and the way Anthroposophy can be seen at work in our modern world: in education (Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner Education), curative education and therapy (Camphill Communities and curative homes), the arts (Eurythmy, architecture, painting, etc.), medicine (Anthroposophical Medicine), agriculture (Bio-dynamic Agriculture), and social issues (Social Threefolding).
This course is of interest to anyone who wants to understand the basic ideas and concepts of Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education, curative education, bio-dynamic agriculture, etc., or to students who long to understand Rudolf Steiner's significance for our time.
The courses consist of 10 lessons which include presentations, videos and study materials from many sources.
2. Foundation Studies/Core Studies I (4 credits)
Lesson 1.1. Anthroposophy and Biography/Introduction to Life Phases
Lesson 1.2. Rudolf Steiner's Biography/Introduction to Rudolf Steiner's Life and Work
Lesson 1.3. Devotion and Meditation/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 1
Lesson 1.4. Meditation in Practice/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 2
Lesson 1.5. Sequence and Patterns in Life's Trials/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 3
Lesson 1.6. Education of the Soul and Spirit/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 4
Lesson 1.7. Requirements and Conditions of the Inner Path/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 5
Lesson 1.8. Anthroposophy and Buddhism/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 6
Lesson 1.9. Dream Experiences of Body, Soul and Spirit/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 7
Lesson 1.10. The Three States of Consciousness/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 8
Lesson 1.11. The Splitting of the Soul Forces/Drug Use/Problems of Our Time/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 9
Lesson 1.12. The Guardian of the Threshold/Karma/Guardians in Society/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 10
Lesson 1.13. The Greater Guardian of the Threshold/Global Consciousness/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Chapter 11
Lesson 1.14. Authentic Cognitive Striving versus Passive Visionary Dreams/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds/Epilogue
Lesson 1.15. Summary and Reflection/Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
The Foundation Studies/Core Studies / Part 1 constitute a 4 credit unit and include an in depth study of the seven Life Phases, Rudolf Steiner's biography, significance, life and work, and culminate in a step by step approach of working through the vast content given by Rudolf Steiner concerning the path to knowledge, or the path of self development as given on Anthroposophy.
“Not everyone can immediately achieve spiritual vision; but the discoveries of those who have it can be health-giving life nourishment for all. The results of supersensible knowledge, when properly employed in life, prove to be not impractical, but rather, practical in the highest sense … " - Rudolf Steiner
“The acquisition of higher knowledge is not the end, but the means to an end; the end consists in the attainment, thanks to this knowledge, of greater and truer self-confidence, a higher degree of courage, and a magnanimity and perseverance such as cannot, as a rule, be acquired in the lower world … " - Rudolf Steiner
“The student places all the higher knowledge he has acquired at the service of humanity.” - Rudolf Steiner
In this first part of our the Foundation Studies/Core Studies the focus is on studying the book "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds" by Rudolf Steiner, and the quest for gaining or deepening the understanding of the path of self development as given in Anthroposophy. Students will be guided through this via the exercises and assignments given in this course, and the feedback you will receive when submitting your work, questions and concerns.
3. Art 1: Art of Needle Felting (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Getting Ready for Felting
Lesson 2: Simple Projects for Children and Beginners 1
Lesson 3: Simple Projects for Children and Beginners 2
Lesson 4: Projects for Experienced Felters 1
Lesson 5: Projects for Experienced Felters 2
Using a single, barbed needle borrowed from commercial felting machines, wool fibers are tangled and compacted by repeatedly jabbing the needle into the fibers, forming three-dimensional felt sculptures bound only by one’s imagination. In contrast to traditional felt making methods that use water and friction, needle felting is also known as dry felting. Supplies needed and additional info can be found here.
4. Art 2: Art of Storytelling (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Getting Ready for Storytelling
Lesson 2: Practicing the Art of Storytelling 1
Lesson 3: Practicing the Art of Storytelling 2
Lesson 4: Advanced Storytelling 1
Lesson 5: Advanced Storytelling 2
Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge." Yet, in the current climate of testing and even our own desires to teach our children “well," we are missing a great opportunity to foster the growth of this vital tool, imagination, in favor of filling our children with information rather than a sense of creativity. For most of human history wisdom was passed down orally, and while the printed word is a most useful and vital invention that has contributed so much to the spread of knowledge, we are hard-wired to hear and imagine; our brains grow and our minds expand as the spoken word falls from the lips of our teachers, parents, relatives and elders, enters our consciousness and joins us to the collective unconscious. If we continue to rely almost exclusively on the book as our primary means to pass on knowledge, especially for young children, we cheat them out of their human birthright, to creatively imagine for themselves the images we describe. Noting the rapid decline of language skills over the past two generations, child psychologists and educators are now actively championing storytelling as an ideal method of influencing a child to associate listening with pleasure, of increasing a child’s attention span and retention capacity, of broadening a child’s vocabulary and introducing a child to the symbolic use of language. As children hear a story they form pictures in their minds to go along with the words, each one different. As their imaginations receive exercise, minds grow, and become more creative and flexible. Students enrolled in this course will be presented with and practice listening to classic folktales and fairy tales; then, guided by a mentor, students will learn to reflect on and analyze the stories presented, and finally practice storytelling themselves while receiving feedback and advice over the entire duration of the course. Supplies needed: notebook. Tools needed: audio recording device (computer, smartphone, etc.)
2nd Semester / 7 credits
1. (Anthroposophy in Everyday Life/Practical Training in Thought (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Introduction. Practical Thinking. Unpractical Thinking.
Lesson 2: Right Attitude and Proper Feeling for Thinking.
Lesson 3: Real Practice of Thought. Practical Exercises in Thinking I.
Lesson 4: Thinking through Observation.
Lesson 5: Practical Exercises in Thinking II.
Lesson 6: Practical Exercises in Thinking III. Example of a Practical Thinker.
Lesson 7: Practical Exercises in Thinking IV. Focused Thinking.
Lesson 8: Practical Exercises in Thinking V. Painting the Mental Picture.
Lesson 9: Practical Exercises in Thinking VI and VII. Arriving at Conclusions.
Lesson 10: Conclusions and Observations. How Thinking Changes.
This course concern itself with specific lectures given by Rudolf Steiner under the heading "Anthroposophy in Everyday Life". The course addresses how the insights of Anthroposophy can be applied to practical aspects of our lives, change our thinking and feeling, and help us with the task of self-development. This course are of interest to anyone who wants to deepen their experience of Anthroposophical research, prepare for teaching, become a better parent or simply wants to understand the world-view of Anthroposophy using a practical approach. The student will be guided through an in-depth study of original lectures by Rudolf Steiner. The lectures are given in their original form but divided into ten segments which each constitute the basis for the ten lessons of the course. Each lesson includes the study of a portion of the lectures, tasks and questions, and the necessary background material. The tasks and questions are designed in such fashion that they contribute to a deepening of the understanding of the study material and insights of Anthroposophy, relate the text to our modern time, and provide guidance to the student through the exercises detailed in Steiner's lectures. The student will not only gain a better understanding of Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education, but also experience self development and inspiration, the result of which can be applied to any task in life.
2. Foundation Studies/Core Studies II (4 credits)
Lesson 2.1. Foreword/Prefaces/Introduction/Theosophy
Lesson 2.2. The Essential Nature of the Human Being/Body, Soul and Spirit/Theosophy/Chapter 1 (I., II., III.)
Lesson 2.3. The Essential Nature of the Human Being/Physical Body, Etheric Body, Astral Body and Ego/Theosophy/Chapter 1 (IV. 31-47)
Lesson 2.4. Body, Soul and Spirit/Life Phases/Theosophy/Chapter 1 (IV. 47-62)
Lesson 2.5. Re-incarnation and Karma Part 1/Theosophy/Chapter 2
Lesson 2.6. Re-incarnation and Karma Part 2
Lesson 2.7. The Soul World/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (I.)
Lesson 2.8. The Soul World after Death/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (II.)
Lesson 2.9. The Spirit World/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (III.)
Lesson 2.10. The Spirit World after Death/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (IV.)
Lesson 2.11. The Seven Kingdoms/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (V.)
Lesson 2.12. Thought Forms and the Human Aura/Theosophy/Chapter 3 (VI.)
Lesson 2.13. The Path of Knowledge/Theosophy/Chapter 4
Lesson 2.14. Reflection and Final Paper
The Foundation Studies/Core Studies / Part 2 are a 4 credit unit and - like the rest of the second semester - will deepen and complete the Foundation Studies. While in the first semester of the Foundation Studies the focus is on biography, self development and the path of knowledge as given in Anthroposophy, the focus of the second semester and the Foundation Studies/Core Studies / Part 2 is on the reality of our experiences both in the outer world and the inner world including an exploration of the themes of karma and reincarnation. The main focus is on studying the book "Theosophy" by Rudolf Steiner, and the quest for gaining or deepening the understanding of the world-view of Anthroposophy and the psychological insights of this world-view. An in-depth study of the material will be necessary. The student will be guided through this study via the exercises and assignments given in this course, and the feedback you will receive when submitting your work or questions and concerns. The text of the book "Theosophy" will be given to you in installments as you proceed from lesson to lesson.
" ... Anthroposophy should not be considered a theory or mere science, nor as knowledge in the ordinary sense. It is rather something that grows in our souls from mere knowledge and theory into immediate life, into an elixir of life. In this way, Anthroposophy not only provides us with knowledge, but we receive forces that help us in our ordinary lives during physical existence as well as in the total life that we spend during physical existence and non-physical existence between death and a new birth. The more we experience Anthroposophy bringing us strength, support, and life-renewing energies, the more do we understand it." (Rudolf Steiner, Vienna, February 08, 1912)
3. Art 3: Art of Drawing (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Drawing Geometric Shapes
Lesson 2: Drawing Rocks, Stones and Minerals
Lesson 3: Drawing Plants and Trees
Lesson 4: Drawing Animals
Lesson 5: Drawing the Human Being
Learning or developing further the art of drawing is foremost an exercise in improving our observation skills. Drawing basic forms (like the ones pictured to the right) will help you see correctly. As you look at an object, no matter how complicated it may seem, the first step is to reduce it to its basic shape. Once this "seeing" of the shape is established, you will be able to draw the object correctly. Basic shapes, forms or "models" are cubes, cylinders, spheres, hexagons, cones, hemispheres, and pyramids. Try to observe your surroundings and identify the basic shapes on the objects you observe. In this course you will learn or develop further your drawing skills by progressing through steps of drawing objects from the mineral world, the plant world, the animal world and finally the human kingdom. Supplies needed: Pencils (black/colored/soft - good quality such as Staedtler or Lyra); sketchpad (9" x 12", medium weight/65 lb., good quality such as Canson).
4. Art 4: Art of Watercolor Painting (1 credit)
Lesson 1: Colors and Form
Lesson 2: Landscapes and Seascapes
Lesson 3: Plants and Vegetation
Lesson 4: Animals and Their Surroundings
Lesson 5: The Human Being
Mastering the fundamentals and various approaches to watercolor art is challenging and rewarding. Students enrolled in this course will learn about watercolor painting techniques for landscapes and portraits and more, through step-by-step tutorials and creative challenges. Enjoy learning how to paint with watercolors! In Waldorf education there is an emphasis on teaching wet-on-wet watercolor painting method which is an introduction to the beautiful world of color for students of any age . There are many ways to paint, but wet-on-wet watercolor is a dreamy, fluid, mostly formless painting method that allows the painter to fully experience colors. Supplies needed: Watercolor paint; brushes; watercolor paper; jar, painting board, sponge.