Novalis Institute today
Novalis Institute is an anthroposophically oriented educational hub that connects adult students with independent instructors who strive to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Novalis Institute is an educational organization incorporated to provide adult education that honors the nature of the whole human being as described by Rudolf Steiner, Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis), and similarly-inspired philosophers. The organization provides opportunities for acquiring a strong foundation in adult development through inner work and personal biography studies. These form the basis for training in the arts, the development of Waldorf school teachers, and other practical endeavors that nurture the individual; the cultural, social, and economic life of the community; and the earth. This work includes the study of new economic paradigms and collaborative techniques for organization development and administration of groups and schools.
- Classes have been attended by local Waldorf school parents, teachers and administrators, as well as other adults who have had interest in the wide variety of subject areas offered over the years.
- Novalis Institute classes provided a bridge and meeting place for individuals from the separate school communities.
- Novalis Institute classes have contributed toward the goals of certification for individuals in Waldorf teacher training or administration.
- Periodic festival gatherings have contributed an enriched sense of belonging within the larger community.
- Shared interest – In late 1998, individuals interested in pursuing a greater understanding and adult experience of Waldorf education and the principles and philosophy that serve as its foundation were gathered for a meeting.
- A program was proposed – A journey of learning and experience was offered for adults to enrich their personal growth and inner life. These classes could also contribute to anthroposophical educational pursuits (Waldorf teacher training, biodynamic farming, etc.).
- An enthusiastic beginning – In Fall 1999, Minnesota Foundation Studies enrolled a core group of 19 students in a year long course of Biography, and offered public attendance to 16 visiting/local teacher lectures, workshops and classes.
- In the early years, the program included a core group of students who studied Biography once a month on Saturday mornings. Additionally, there were visiting teacher workshops scheduled for Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, on either side of the Biography class. The workshops and classes offered by local teachers were open to all interested individuals, often drawing a large and enthusiastic response from the wider community.
- As class groups completed the initial year of Biography class and workshop enrichments, other year-long as well as shorter periodic courses were offered by local instructors on subjects including study of Steiner’s basic texts, painting, meditation, and Spacial Dynamics. Courses qualifying for Foundation Year teacher certification were offered on a rotating basis.
- Periodically, Minnesota Foundation Studies/Novalis Institute sponsored festival gatherings bringing the larger community together in celebration.
- Local teacher certification needs increased when local Waldorf schools pursued accreditation. Novalis Institute responded by offering courses specifically designed to meet the schools’ need
- Evolution of name, status and administration – In 2003 & 2004, responding to growth and development of programming, Minnesota Foundation Studies chose a new name: Novalis Institute. Additionally, the administration changed from a volunteer steering committee to that of a board of directors, and an administrator was hired. In 2004, non-profit 501(c)(3) status was obtained.
- Contraction – Over the years, many individuals enrolled in courses through MN Foundation Studies/Novalis Institute. In time, attendance for courses offered through Novalis Institute waned. It appeared that the initial needs, appetite and availability of the community had changed. Eventually, expenses were exceeding revenue and it was time to consider the next step.
- Response – In spring of 2012, the Novalis Institute Board of Directors decided to pause programming and enter a period of dormancy to allow for community discussions on whether and in what form Novalis Institute might continue to serve the community. The dormancy process revealed there was a unique quality associated with Novalis Institute classes experienced by instructors as well as adult students.
- Today – Consistent with it’s history of flexibility and responsiveness, Novalis Institute today is operating in a manner designed to offer classes consistent with our mission through the initiative of independent instructors. The current operating structure is designed to maintain long-term financial sustainability.