NEW! Online Mini Courses offered by SDGI

mini courses SDGIEach mini-course includes three 90-minute, online classes with the faculty mentor. Classes are small, with 3-9 participants. 

Mini-course fee: $275, due prior to the first class. 

Your mini-course will be scheduled when 3 participants enroll and will be organized to best fit YOUR schedule.

Mini-courses do not earn credit toward graduation at SDGI. However, if a mini-course participant enrolls in an SDGI M.A. or Certificate Program, the $275 may be deducted from tuition for her/his first course in the program.

  • Life Rhythms: Biography Work, Poetry, Story and Art as Tools for Self Knowledge—Barbarah Nicoll
  • Development, Consciousness, and Self Knowledge—Ba Luvmour
  • Subtle Energy—Mali Burgess
  • Rites of Passage—Josette Luvmour
  • Prescription for a Healthy Learning Environment—Peter Berg
  • Language as a Field of Energy and Pedagogy—Anna Soter
  • Engaging in Embodied Cognition through Social Play—Fleurette Sweeney and Abigail Larrison
  • Evolutionary Parenting—David Marshak

To enroll, email: [email protected]


Development, Consciousness, and Self Knowledge—Ba Luvmour

This course is for everybody. Understanding how consciousness unfolds in us awakens self-knowledge. We engage our world free from objectification. We see our own childhood clearly, as well as that of the children in our life. We learn that interacting with children is mutually beneficial. We heal left over wounds; we grow in all spiritual dimensions.  Appreciation of the adults in our life—relatives, co-workers—deepens. We come to see that behavior is an arrow pointed at motivation and intention, and so our acceptance of self and other matures.

Ba Luvmour, a pioneer in the field of holistic human development with his wife Josette, for more than 30 years, is the Headmaster of Summa Academy ( ).  His life as mentor in the field of Self-Knowledge includes many retreats dedicated to inquiry, meditation, group dialogue, and insight into spiritual philosophy, human development, and the evolution of consciousness. An author of five books, he nevertheless prefers engaging people directly. Personal contact and relationship bring forth trust, the essential foundation for all learning.                ********************************************************************************************

Life Rhythms: Biography Work, Poetry, Story and Art as Tools for Self Knowledge—Barbarah Nicoll

The first time that I offered an experience of this type to others was in high school when my teacher and I co-created a weekend retreat for the grade 11 & 12 religious studies class. I really can’t remember where the ideas came from, but we did silent nature walks, holding a question and coming back to the group to share. We painted, read poetry, told stories and collaged. We did clay work with the theme of “me now.” This class was full of Italian soccer players, usually guys who mocked everyone except other soccer players. One of these young men created a clay clock, and when it was his turn to talk about his piece, he said that he knew that he was younger in his realizations than most of the group—pointing at the clock hand which was at 9:00 AM. He asked the group to be patient with him, that he would keep growing up. This was a rich, surprising and inspiring moment, one that has stayed with me over the many years.

Since this event, some 40 years ago, I have continued to study, research, practice and offer biography work as a tool for self-awareness. In these three sessions we will lean into the work of Rudolf Steiner, Bernard Lievegoed, Natalie Rogers and my years of practical experience to gently touch into our life story using art, journaling and poetry with the purpose of deepening self-knowledge.

Barbarah Nicoll has 20 years’ experience in Waldorf education; past School Coordinator for the Nelson Waldorf School; created foundation and vision for the development of the International School of the Kootenays. She served as vice-principal of the SelfDesign Learning Community for many years.            ********************************************************************************************

Rites of Passage—Josette Luvmour

Rites of Passage (ROP) offer a sacred opportunity for our children to connect with deeper parts of self: physically, emotionally, intellectually, psychologically and spiritually. Historically, ROP have offered a way to encourage and mark change. It is a way of marking and celebrating the new as children grow. In many ROP, children express a new understanding of the meaning and purpose of their lives.

Learners in this mini-course will be introduced to the value and purpose of Rites of Passage with children in our times. Done well, ROP create opportunity to touch the very depths of human possibility including the emergence of greater self-knowledge and inner essence nature.

Josette is a developmentalist, consultant, and educator in human development. Co-founder of Summa Institute; Director of Professional Development and Family Development at Summa; Adjunct Faculty at National College of Natural Medicine. Co-creator of Natural Learning Relationships whole-child development and whole-family experiential educational programs. Co-founder of three holistic education schools; author of six books and numerous journal articles. Extensive independent school experience from all vantage points: parent, program director, facilitator/teacher, parent-educator, founder, board vice-president and board secretary.            ********************************************************************************************

Prescription for a Healthy Learning Environment—Peter Berg

We often assume that the environments we learn in are healthy, or rarely consider the impact a learning environment can have on our health and ability and desire to learn.  In this mini-course we will explore principles that can be adapted to make any learning environment healthier.  We will consider aspects of health that range from the physical to the aesthetic, from the conventional to the traditional, and from western to eastern philosophies. Each participant will gain specific self-designed techniques to create a healthy learning environment. 

Peter is the founder of Education Transformation; a holistic coach for adolescents and families, leadership coach and educational consultant. He co-founded non-profit organizations in New York City; educational leadership and teaching in public and private schools throughout the country; program startup and management of an environmental education program in New England; AERO representative for New Hampshire and community organizer. ********************************************************************************************

Subtle Energy Systems—Mali Burgess

This mini-course is an exploration of subtle energy systems, including subtle body dynamics, the subtle senses, the subtle world, the subtle world of nature, and subtle energy ethics. Explorations will include the complex yet fundamental way subtle systems illuminate the forms and functions of life, communicating with nature, health and healing, dreams, near-death, afterlife, transcendent experiences, and evolutionary dynamics. The mini-course includes reading selections, journaling, and experiential explorations.

Mali is a faculty member at Energy Medicine University, California Institute For Human Science; adjunct at California Institute for Integral Studies; founder of Iris Institute, an educational and research nonprofit; personal educator and lifelong learning guide; early childhood educator; researcher of participatory processes, self-healing, and geometric dynamics, and the psychophysiological effects of the architecture of space; visual artist of environmental sculptures in galleries and public spaces; developer of The Tetrahedron, a Pacific Rim architectural project; director and producer of internationally awarded and televised short film; assistant director of nonprofit art gallery; and integral, intuitive and healing arts practitioner.               ********************************************************************************************
Language as a Field of Energy and Pedagogy—Anna Soter

We know that our words have impact beyond the regular semantics of them.  We use mantras to improve our states of mind, to change our current and often long-standing states of being to shift the way we actually feel when we’re with our own thoughts.  How long does it take to replace our habitual inner discourses? What happens when there are slippages?  How do we track those changes and see their impact in our daily lives?   How do we know that our outer world is a reflection of inner states of being? What are indicators to look for?   

In this course, we will be exploring how to identify ways in which language is energy, what indicators we can point to that move this concept from an assertion to providing evidence. We will explore the force of language as a field of energy through examples found in the most compact and dense language of poetry, as well as in propaganda, general media, advertising, and social media. In examining impact, we will take into account both emotional states of being and physical states of being.  We will explore one common idiomatically expressed (self-perceived) limiting value, belief, or attitude that is current in each of our own lives, trace its source as we are able to, explore its relationship to the lives we have lived and are living, and if desired, replace it with its positive converse and trace and document shifts in ourselves as we focus on making it an avenue of a new way of being.  

Anna was born in the Austrian Alps, grew up in the northwest Australian outback, is Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University. Prior to recent retirement, was Professor in English Education at OSU from 1986-2012. From 2006-2012, created and ran the Holistic Education Focus Area for the M.A. in the College of Education & Human Ecology at OSU; founder (2010) of The Hospital Poets Program for The Ohio State University Medicine and the Arts Program; monthly Poetry & Writing Workshops for the James Care for Life Program at the Stephanie Spielman Breast Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio (2010-2012); workshops and presentations on language, writing, literary response, poetry (1994-2012); created graduate and professional development courses on Experiencing Poetry for the Human Resource Professional, and Language as a Field of Energy in Education and Social Sciences. ********************************************************************************************

Engaging in Embodied Cognition through Social Play—Fleurette Sweeney and Abigail Larrison

Are you a person who loves to play with children? A parent or grandparent?  A classroom, music, or ECE teacher? This online mini-course is designed with you in mind.

The sessions will be organized in the following manner: Fleurette will share several folk song-games that are especially appropriate for either parents and/or grandparents to play with their children, or an adult to play with a small group of children.  Following each game Fleurette will reflect on the pedagogical implications of this form of social play. Abigail will share insights about how each game, through movement and social play, influences the subtle connections in the brain.  Principles behind the formation of neural networks, the development of attention and emotional systems, and the relationship between core cognitive capacities and social play are all highlighted in the investigation of children’s interactions through guided song-games. The songs shared during each session will be made available to all participants.

Fleurette Sweeney, Ph.D., has been teaching folk song-games to teachers, parents and children for more than 50 years.  The title of her doctoral dissertation says it all: From Sound to Symbol:  The Whole Song As Curriculum; The Whole Child As Pedagogue; Observation As Methodology (University of British Columbia 2002). Fleurette offers directed studies and/or courses entitled From Sound to Symbol Praxis for the Self Design Graduate Institute.

Abigail Larrison, Ph.D., Ed.D. transitioned from neuroscience into education in order to move us towards a holistic brain-based pedagogy.  She believes that everyone from educational leaders to teachers and parents can greatly benefit from understanding the universal principles guiding brain development.  Abigail offers directed studies/courses on the Neurobiology of Learning, and Practical Research Methods for the Self Design Graduate Institute. ********************************************************************************************

Evolutionary Parenting—David Marshak

In this course we will explore the ways in which parenting can nurture the evolution of the child’s consciousness so that the late adolescent/emerging adult achieves a centering in post-modern or integral consciousness by the conclusion of her/his teens. We will explore the common vision of Rudolf Steiner, Sri Aurobindo Ghose, and Hazrat Inayat Khan as they described the unfoldment of the whole person from birth to age 21 and consider the relationship between this holistic common vision and the description of the evolution of human consciousness provided by Spiral Dynamics. Participants will be invited to apply these insights to their own lives as parents and/or educators.

Participants will receive copies of David’s books, The Common Vision: Parenting and Educating for Wholeness and Evolutionary Parenting.

David Marshak is the founding president of the SelfDesign Graduate Institute. ********************************************************************************************

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