by Heather Tiszai, Gardening Teacher at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School
This past summer, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a Workshop for Waldorf educators about honey bees. Encouraging beekeeping is one of the many Waldorf100 core projects, which aim to create awareness and interconnection within the network of our global communities. In response to this Waldorf100 initiative, AWSNA sponsored the beekeeping workshop and granted scholarships for Waldorf educators across the country to participate. The workshop was held at Spikenard Farm, a honey bee sanctuary full to the brim of flowers and incredibly beautiful habitat for a diverse array of pollinators. As I sat through the workshop, I began to realize a few parallels between the work of honey bees and "Waldorfians."
Honey bees and Waldorfians both create beauty. Honey bees work incredibly hard to pollinate our crops and to make the sweet syrup that we treasure. But the work of the honey bee extends beyond basic pollination and honey. The mere presence of honey bees encourages more flowers to bloom. More flowers produce more seeds, which means more plants, which means more life and more beauty, and on and on.
I remember the first time I stepped foot on the grounds of the Whatcom Hills Waldorf School. I was instantly enthralled with the aesthetic play structures and beautiful landscape. And then I went inside. I was blown away by the incredible chalk drawings, nature tables, watercolor paintings, and wooden furnishings that contribute to a warm, inspiring atmosphere. The work of Waldorfians, like that of the Honey Bee, is not only beautiful in itself. The work of Waldorfians creates beauty exponentially as knowledge of how to create a beautiful life is gained and shared.
A unified community is the natural result of a beauty filled life. Honey bees work together as a colony to make their honey and to encourage more flowers to bloom. The benefits of this work extend beyond the hive. Habitat is created for a diverse array of insects and other organisms, while humans and other animals are provided with food. By observing how the honey bees build unity, it becomes clear how every living being depends on the other.
When my daughter became a student at WHWS, I quickly became immersed in the duties of a Waldorf parent- helping with work parties, festivals, handwork classes, and field trips. Waldorf parents, teachers, and other staff work tirelessly to provide incredible life experiences for our children. We do it together. We depend on each other as a unified force to create a beautiful life for our families and our community.
When a landscape becomes a place of beauty and a community is unified, there is more than enough for everyone and the circle of life sustains itself. Honey bees produce more honey than they need for themselves. They inspire more flowers to grow than necessary for their own colony. Likewise, as our children grow and prosper in our Waldorf community, they will have the capacity to create beauty and build the unity that has permeated their existence. They will know how to share their abundant resources within the circle of life, so that every being is cared for.
It only makes sense that the GreenBee Wildlife Web initiative is part of the Waldorf100 celebration. Honey bees and Waldorfians make perfect allies in a quest to create beauty, build unity, and share resources on this Earth. I feel immense gratitude to be a part of this movement and look forward to witnessing how a partnership with honey bees supports a healthy circle of life for all beings.
- Waldorf Education