Short Courses

Short Courses 2016-12-16T13:01:49+00:00

Taruna offers a range of short courses and workshops throughout the year.

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORD SCHOOL is a tertiary Professional Training Course in the Performing Arts, for acting, poetry speaking and storytelling, based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and the origins of drama in the Mystery Schools, particularly of ancient Greece, which guided people on an inner path of spiritual development. Through this work, a new way of using our voice and breath and the sounds of language can be discovered, for a powerful narrative, effective dramatic and sensitive lyrical style of speaking and acting.

This School for Creative Speech and the Art of Drama also offers the opportunity for Professional Development for actors, teachers, storytellers and others who use speech as a tool in their profession.  A Certificate of Attendance is provided.

A third aspect of the Spirit of the Word School is Personal Development, using the transformative power of speech to realise our creative potential. Through working with the ‘Creative Word’, we can develop from ‘who we are now’ to ‘who we can become’.

There are different formats of courses offered, depending on which aspect of the course we are following.

THE 5-DAY INTRODUCTORY COURSE is intended as a General Introduction, giving insight into the various aspects of the course; showing the way of approach, which involves Body Soul and Spirit in a holistic form of expression of our humanity.

The four elements in nature, which also form our four ‘humours’ or temperaments of character, and which can be traced in the consonants of language, will be explored in various artistic forms and through movement.

The course will start at 5 pm on Friday, 20th January with registration and the Opening, including a shared dinner, which will be provided. Course ending will be lunch time 25th January.

Each day will go from 8.30 am until 5 pm, with a generous lunch break for recreation and processing. Please keep the evenings open for possible events to be decided, and perhaps arising spontaneously.

Please wear loose clothing and bring a notebook for journaling, your drinking water for the day and some lunch to share if you wish. Morning and afternoon tea will be provided.

THE TUTORS ON THE COURSE have had many years of experience teaching, performing and directing internationally. Tutors will also include Michael Chekhov’s theatre Techniques and will be taking you on an ‘Alchemical Journey’ of Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition with the Four Elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

Optional recommended reading:

Creative Speech – R. Steiner

Speech and Drama – R. Steiner

To the Actor – Michael Chekhov

The Art of Acting – Dawn Langman

Workshop Fee:  $450.00 Early bird Registration:  By 31 December $420.00

For further information on courses offered, background and content of the training, see:

To register for this course click on the ENROL NOW button below and complete the short course registration form, or contact the Taruna Office on 06 877 7174/

Rudolf Steiner described the aim of schooling as “Education of the Will”.  The Outdoor Classroom is one effective approach for achieving this aim, while at the same time meeting the changing needs of children.  Taruna is proud to host the Outdoor Classroom Immersion Course where John Lawry will lead workshops which involve:

  • how to integrate Outdoor Classroom activities with the broader school curriculum
  • setting-up processes (site survey) and basic equipment
  • selecting craft-based outdoor environment programmes which deal with the constitutional and learning needs of children
  • hands-on experiential learning of basic craft activities which are based on the four kingdoms and the three and four-fold picture of the human being


2017 DATES

April 18th – 22nd


In terms of my whakapapa, I am a fifth generation South Pacific Celt (Cornish, Scottish and Irish).  My life experience, working as a full-time artist/ craftsman and as an educator (mainly as a Steiner Class teacher) is about equal: circa 20 years apiece.

Five years ago a confluence of my life-long interest and engagement in craft and education occurred when, inspired by Bernard Graves, I began the process of establishing and developing the Outdoor Classroom program at Michael Park.  This journey has included establishing comprehensive curriculum gardens, delivering and developing a craft / experiential skills-based curriculum for classes 1-7 (and their integration into high school technology programs), an intensive week-long, end of year Masterclass Craft programme for the junior high school, establishing OC and Bush Craft teacher training courses at AUT (Auckland University of Technology) and Taruna, and consulting and developing programmes with various interest groups and schools nationally and internationally.



An Old Maori proverb states, “As the sapling is bent, so grows the tree”.  What we do as educators and parents, sets into play forces that continue to manifest in the lives of our young people, as they grow and develop as adults.  Theirs is an uncertain and probably turbulent future.  How do we best prepare them for the journey ahead?

In response to this need the Outdoor classroom has been developed as integrated practical skills based learning initiative.  It employs Gardening and Traditional crafts to invigorate learning, enhance connection with the natural environment and instil rhythms of healthy learning.  It builds resilience.

It challenges conventional, post-modernist, behaviourist practice models that have learning as a highly contained and structured event with predetermined outcomes which students are managed to achieve and where their “success” is so rated: what Paulo Friere (in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”) refers to as “…the banking concept of education”.

It fills the vacuum in an increasing number of students’ lives once commonly filled with imaginative, exploratory play, now commonly experiences as a virtual reality, as the ghost of the world; or it having no space in over-managed lives crammed full with well-intentioned “extra-curricular” activities.

A conceptual image of the Outdoor Classroom is as follows; imagine a circle: a symbol of the unity of life, form and formlessness all in one.  At the base of this circle, on the ground of experience we have GARDENING, set in the seasonal round and rhythms of the year.  Above, in the human realm, TRADITIONAL CRAFTS; core skills embedded deep as muscular memory, awakened by means of the activity each craft tradition enables.  To the left, where crafts and gardening meet around campfire or hearth, we have COOKING; chants, songs and stories fit naturally here.  To the right, BUSH CRAFT WILDERNESS CAMPS, where all the above skills find relevant and vital context.

Be it an urban or rural school site, each is a “genius loci”, a unique context where Outdoor Classroom learning programs can be scoped and developed.  Ideally suited for students aged 7 to 14 years, these programs acknowledge the connection between the phases of human development and the generic development of each subject.  To date the Sciences (especially Botany, the Earth Sciences and Chemistry) and Experimental and Experiential Archaeology have provided best contexts for the development of learning programs in the High School.  But having said that it is important to grasp that the Outdoor Classroom is not a subject but rather a learning strategy and as such is applicable in all subject areas.

It is predicated upon the idea that “making” is a fundamental literacy; the necessary companion to language literacy and numeracy.  The programs developed (experiences made possible) engender intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivational capacities.  The student’s experience of this relationship is made evident as their skills develop.  Intellectual rigor, emotional maturity, cohesive social skills and physical nimbleness are mutually developed.

Those students injured by schooling focused on disability gain tremendous confidence when their skill development is objectified.  Not only is the physical evidence of skill improvement before them, in their hands, but also the “inner” experience of previously unknown capacities waking up:  encountering  “problems” associated with making, especially in a traditional craft context, or experimental archaeology inquiry, are not new problems.  Knowing this they can come to trust their instincts and develop confidences which are subjectively and objectively “right and true”.

Accordingly their high school years have a foundation, both wide and deep for them to draw upon as they enter, the workshops, studios, laboratories, theatres and halls of higher learning.  Not only are they prepared to do well in formal study and examination, but also, and perhaps more importantly, (in a student’s own words), the skills they have learned this way are “life skills”.  Like riding a bike, it is something they will never forget… a life bespoke.


The cost of this course will be $690 incl GST. All materials, lunches, morning and afternoon teas will be included in this fee.

There is a special deal for schools sending more than one teacher. A second or third teacher from the same school can attend for a reduced fee of $550 each incl. GST