Craig Holdrege is the founding director of the Nature Institute in Ghent (upstate New York). A student of Nature he is part of a growing movement that is developing new ways of viewing the world. Goethe termed this approach delicate empiricism. Applying a qualitative and holistic approach seeing and understanding nature and technology, Craig is working to create a paradigm that embraces nature’s wisdom in shaping a sustainable and healthy future.
Before founding The Nature Institute, Craig was a high school biology teacher in Waldorf Schools, working in Germany for 12 years and then in the U.S. for nine years. Since the early 1990s Craig has been involved in teacher education.
Craig gives talks and workshops in the U.S. and Europe on the topics of genetics and genetic engineering, whole organism biology, mathematics science and nature education, and the methodology of “delicate empiricism.”
Craig has a Ph.D. in sustainability education from Prescott College in Arizona. He completed a Masters-level, non-degree program in phenomenological science at the Science Research Laboratory at the Goetheanum, Switzerland, and has a B.A. in philosophy from Beloit College.
A co-founder of The Nature Institute, Henrike has taught in the Institute’s adult education programs since 2002, and also gives courses and workshops locally, nationally and internationally. She has two main areas of focus: phenomenological studies of nature, and mathematics as a training of inner awareness and wakeful dynamic thinking.
Henrike is a mathematician who finds beauty, clarity, meaning, and a pathway for inner development in her subject, which is often viewed as a specialized subject with little connection to general human life. Henrike teaches mathematics (which includes projective geometry) as a practice field for concentration, forming and transforming inner images, “stretching the mind,” and gaining new and surprising insights. Mathematics can help us to realize that we are capable of genuine knowing.
Henrike has a M.Sc. in biology, mathematics, and science education from the University of Münster in Germany. She taught in German state schools (“Gymnasium”) and in Waldorf schools in Germany and the U.S. before helping to found and establish The Nature Institute.
For more comprehensive information, view their work on: natureinstitute.org
PhD (UNE), GDip. Art History (University of Adelaide), BTL (CDU) BA (UTAS)
Konrad is an educationist and education researcher. His interests include educational philosophy, place conscious education, education through the arts, painting, sculpture, history and art history.
Konrad commenced teaching at Lorien Novalis in 1973 and was the founding teacher and founding Director of Teaching at Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School.
He is currently the principal of the Yallingup Steiner School.
B.Sc (Hon) (University of Sydney) Dip Ed
Gerard grew up in Sydney and was educated at Sydney University where he studied Science, majoring in Chemistry. He went on to study education whilst working as a research assistant in the School of Chemistry. He moved to the North Coast of NSW in 1986 and has been living there since. He met his Anthroposophical mentor, Edith Hart, in Grafton in 1990 and studied with her for 2 years before taking a job as a class teacher at the Casuarina Steiner School in Coffs Harbour in 1992. Gerard has worked at Shearwater since 1995. He was initially a Class teacher but has worked in the high school since 1998. His interest in Science and his personal interest in the ocean mean that he is never very far away from it. He is a keen surfer and diver and has incorporated these activities into the Shearwater’s Marine Studies program.
Tim’s early education was characterised by a love of science, which he pursued for several decades achieving a PhD in Biochemistry and working for many years as a research scientist in cancer research and immunology. Throughout these experiences Tim maintained his love of nature, and continued to question the natural scientific approach – driving a search for deeper knowledge. Tim came to Steiner education about 9 years ago and it was like coming home.
He has found teaching and deepening his understanding of human development as challenging and wonderful, providing him with a much broader and deeper perspective on the sciences (amongst other things).
M Ed (Steiner Ed) (Uni of Can), Dip Ed, Ad Dip Graphic Design, Dip Fine Art
Deirdre is a visual artist and educator and is the Artistic Director of Shearwater’s Wearable Arts Vision in Education (WAVE), which she initiated in 2001.
As a Steiner School class teacher she worked to ‘paint and draw the curriculum’ which saw her develop a lifelong interest in stimulating the arts through science and re-enlivening science through the arts. This led her to cultivate her commitment to the ‘art of education’.
Deirdre has 40 years of experience as a Steiner teacher, having commenced teaching at Lorien Novalis in the late 1970s. She was a founding graduate in Fine Arts at the Canberra Art School and continued her art studies at East Sydney Tech in the late 60s. Deirdre is currently Head of Art at Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School where she was a founding teacher in 1993.
MEd (Steiner) MA, Grad. Dip. Ed, BA
Denis Hopking was born in Zambia, educated in South Africa. He trained as a potter in U.K. ran his own workshop in Mallorca Spain for a decade. Denis commenced his teacher learning at Emerson College (UK) and has been teaching sculpture, ceramics and the visual arts in Steiner Schools for 30 years.
Mynda studied Eurythmy in Cape Town, South Africa and holds a BA in Dance/Eurythmy. She has worked in Cape Town, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, teaching pedagogical Eurythmy in Steiner Schools and to students of Eurythmy at the Centre for Creative Education in South Africa. Mynda’s deep and constant love for Eurythmy has led her to her joining performing groups in her travels around the world and offering workshops in a variety of forums. She is currently teaching Years 1 – 12 plus staff at Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School as well as working artistically with a group of Eurythmists in the Byron area.
A graduate of Elena Zuccoli School for Speech and Eurythmy in Dornach Joshua Rushton taught at the Rudolf Steiner School Basel before returning to Australia where he developed the Eurythmy and Performing Arts program at Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School, where he teaches eurythmy and is the Stage Director of WAVE (Wearable Arts Vision in Education).
M Ed (Steiner Ed) (Uni of Can), BA (Hons) (University of Wollongong) Graduate Diploma of Adult Education (UTS)
Gillian studied literature, history and philosophy, later adding adult education, and then a Masters in Steiner Education to enhance her work as a teacher in a Steiner high school. Her work with adolescents and teacher professional learning, have encouraged the synthesis of varied aspects of her formal and informal education.
MA (University of Canberra), BA
Bronwen submitted a doctoral dissertation for examination at the end of June in which she re-imagines Steiner’s vision for Teachers’ Research and Professional Learning. In the two case studies that form the focus of the research Bronwen explores an experimental Steiner Masters’ level pathway and Contemplative Inquiry Methodology in teacher research projects in a Steiner Primary School. Other study interests include English literature, Poetry, Drama and Psychotherapy.
PhD (SCU), BA (Hon) English Literature (UNE), BA (SCU)
‘My grandmother planted words into my soul, spun story-threads, knitted their gossamer into jumpers, spooned tales into my coffee and stirred them round and round. She taught me that there is nothing life can throw at us that cannot be answered with or understood though Story.’ Iris Curteis studied Visual Art, Storytelling, Recitation and Dramatic Art in Europe and Creative Writing in Australia. Her passion for folktales carried her through a Ph.D. on Storytelling in Community Building. She encountered Anthroposophy aged 18, joined the Anthroposophical Society aged 27 and became a member of the School of Spiritual Science when she turned 33.
Before becoming a class teacher at Shearwater, harry worked in Yirrkala with young indigenous people.
As a class teacher, Harry has introduced bee-keeping as an integral part of the Shearwater’s BD Farm learning program. He is working with developing new and old hives shapes as well as including native bees as part of the School’s apiary.
Greg has lived on his biodynamic farm for over 25 years. His studies in the Industrial Arts, Construction and Agriculture have stimulated interest in the environment, technology, design, construction and traditional crafts. Greg is currently the Head of School at Shearwater, The Mullumbimby Steiner School.
Hamish Mackay has been involved with biodynamics for over 40 years and holds introductory workshops for farmers and gardeners around the country. Hamish is Executive Director of Biodynamics2024 and his passion is to have biodynamics the farming method of choice in Australia by 2024.
A former pupil of Glenaeon, Celia has worked as a class teacher at Lorien Novalis, Daystar and Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School. She is a gifted writer of songs and stories and an engaging storyteller. She has evolved the art of creating therapeutic stories for children.
After and attending the Teacher Education course at Lorien Novalis School in the late 1970s and working with Susan Whitehead in Early Childhood, Jane pioneered a place Early Childhood learning – Dawnsong – in Bellingen. She later became the Kindergarten Teacher at Chrysalis Steiner School.
In the mid 1990s she joined the Early Learning staff Shearwater before completing a successful Class Teacher cycle in the Primary School. She returned to work in Early Childhood and is currently the Co-ordinator at Shearwater.
Jane is known for creative story telling which is deeply embedded in her knowledge and applied teaching practice of Childhood and Human development.