Mikey Argy (alumni) ITV this morning on Thalidomide storyline

One of the biggest dramas on TV, Call The Midwife has decided to tackle one of the biggest medical injustices ever, as the side effects of the drug Thalidomide make themselves known to the sisters and midwives of Poplar.

One of our alumni, Mikey Argy, whose arms are affected as a result of her mother taking Thalidomide while she was pregnant, joins Lorraine to talk about meeting the cast of the hit show and advising the production.

See news clip here


Public Talk - The 5 Golden Keys with Helle Heckmann

Helle Heckmann Talk March 2016

Talent Show 29th January - SOLD OUT



Tim Peake's treasured family pictures taken by Alumni, Michael Cockerham


Click here for full story




Mansion Music - Sunday 31st January

A4 Poster Spring 2016

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally


Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Hobby Lifestyle by Robert Locke

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” – Elizabeth Zimmermann

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” – Elizabeth Zimmermann

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

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Visit our new Teacher Training website...

Michael Hall offers a 'A pioneering In-House Teacher Training Programme' giving student teachers the opportunity of undergoing a substantial part of their Steiner Waldorf Teacher Training at the very heart of the school, in the classroom with teachers and their pupils.

Visit our 'Heart of Teaching' website here.

Please see the news-blog by one of our students!


MA in Steiner’s Educational Philosophy

At Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK.

Hosted by Michael Hall School for the new entry of 2016.

By Dr Robert Rose

The MA at Canterbury Christchurch University (CCCU) is in Partnership with the Steiner / Waldorf Schools Fellowship.  For the new entry of 2016, the MA will be hosted by Michael Hall School.

The MA began in June 2013 with students from many different backgrounds. All of whom have varying degrees of experience in both Steiner and Mainstream education giving them unique insights into the workings of both. This has lead to some very lively conversations over the last academic year.

The MA is not a teacher training course as such, but for those who are interested in research-based teaching it may be a key ingredient to the future of Waldorf Education. It is a research-based course which aims to compare and evaluate Steiner’s essential educational philosophy with contemporary thought. It is intended that this would have a fruitful impact on teaching practice as well as on education research.

The MA is co-taught, with the main tutors being present at all sessions. Teaching with others is a very engaging experience which gives participants insights into the connectedness of Steiner / Waldorf education to the rich variety of educational thought today and shows how all educationalists have similar concerns in common. This is an important part of the MA as it demonstrates how education is not defined by the National Curriculum and that Steiner education has many “kindred spirits” in the World. There is also an excellent working relationship with the tutors from CCCU, something which the participants appreciate and shows that all educationalists are attempting to help humanity.

The MA is designed to be very manageable, with one weekend per module every term plus reading and an assignment of about 4000 words. The modules can be seen in the brochure located at the Steiner / Waldorf Schools Fellowship website, which can also be attained form me at robertrose1@hotmail.co.uk.

The course begins with the module on “criticality and research” (not as foreboding as it sounds). Different tutors introduced different aspects of research methods. There is a brief introduction to Waldorf Education as a global phenomenon which includes a power point presentation of the rich variety of Steiner / Waldorf schools around the World. This gave rise to a consideration of the relevance of contemporary research methods to Steiner Education and a brief introduction to Steiner’s own research methods.

The second module is on the importance of the teacher Self in education. There are talks and practical exercises on the question of “moral leadership”, together with an introduction to Steiner’s idea of the Self in connection with “ethical individualism” and “self-development” and the significance for teachers. All of this was done in connection with modern research.

The third module is on “theories of child development” in modern research and in connection with Steiner’s ideas of the different human phases. This module contrasts Steiner’s views on child development with other thinkers such as Vygotsky, Bruner and Donaldson.

The fourth module is on the topic of Spiritual and Moral Education. This looks at the Government’s directive in this area and Steiner’s contribution to it. The lectures consider Steiner’s idea that this aspect of education is the “most important” and most “central part” of all forms of education and how it is vital in a healthy functioning society.

The fifth module is about Education Policy. In relation to Steiner / Waldorf Curriculum, this considers the questionable criticisms that it is a form of indoctrination. The module provides balanced evidence that Steiner was against indoctrination / pseudoscience and that if anything Steiner / Waldorf Education attempts to expand the nature of education and science.

The sixth module is the topic: Education, Culture and Society. The module takes a broad view in attempting to understand Steiner’s contribution to culture and society – considering how it meshes in with the historical changes since the Enlightenment and what it has to contribute to the further evolution of society.

The seventh module is a research based dissertation and is the culmination of the MA. Participants engage in formulating a research question which is of deepest significance and relevance to them personally. The module begins with a research methods weekend where modern methods are introduced and compared with Steiner’s own methods. These are then individualised in relation to the participant’s personal research question.

The MA could play an important role in the future of Steiner Teacher education. On the one hand it implicitly addresses many of the criticisms of Steiner / Waldorf education that are currently circulating, but without making them the focus of the study. It affirms the academic credibility of Steiner / Waldorf education as well as the serious way in which academics can understand Steiner (rather than the way of the pseudo-academics who just want to criticise rather than understand). On the other hand, the MA also gives teachers and others the opportunity to get to grips with the core ideas in Steiner and compare them with others, showing similarities as well as differences. This could make an important contribution to Steiner / Waldorf schools movement generally as well as deepen the academic credentials of Steiner Education and Anthroposophy in the World.

The MA could be of value to teachers from Steiner / Waldorf or Mainstream education as well as administrators or simply those interested in the subject. It may also be a good stepping stone for those aspiring to leadership positions in the Steiner / Waldorf Schools movement.

The MA is now recruiting for the next year, so if you would like further information or wish to express an interest in this course please contact:


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Oh what fun we had this morning!

At the Parent and Child Woodland Group this morning, we discovered huge pumpkins and marrows and tiny gourds, apples, tomatoes, flowers and seed heads. We stopped at a pond with a fish in it and watched the waterfall. The children helped to pick Echinacea and Lemon Balm to make tea.  They then had a feast of blackberries and songs were sung whilst chopping and sawing wood.


Ring time was held under the shelter of a beech tree, where traditional songs were sung followed by tea and a porridge. The children helped to add the raisins and chopped apples and stir the yummy feast.

Most importantly there was a lot of splashing around in puddles!

Our Blackboard drawings go viral on facebook!