The Work of Nova Institute

Teacher Training

…has always been two-fold, focusing on the education of both teachers and parents.

Knowing the essential role that parents play in the social and educational success of their children, Nova has made its parenting work a top priority.

Through conferences, workshops, and publications, the Institute has endeavored to offer parents a network of support and guidance.

Panel of Speakers
Nova panel at Alliance for Public Waldorf Education conference, January 2017.
Left to Right: Linda Williams, Jack Petrash, Orland Bishop, and Liz Bevins.

Finding ways to team up with organizations working with educational reform is a primary goal of the Nova Institute.

Courage to Teach

Courage & Renewal Spring 2019

Courage and Renewal 2019 poster

Our spring 2019 retreat was held in early April 2019

See our 2019 event page for details and updates.

See our 2018 retreat poster

Claggett Retreat Center
Frederick, MD

Many programs are trying to effect educational reform from the outside in, but the greatest immediate power we have is to work to reform from the inside out. Ultimately, human wholeness does not come from changes in our institutions; it comes from the reformation of our hearts.

—Parker Palmer
The Courage to Teach

One of the great joys derived from the work of the Nova Institute is the discovery of extraordinary work being done in mainstream education today, work that recognizes that there is an inner dimension to education that must be addressed.

Courage To Teach

One such undertaking is the work with The Courage to Teach. This approach to teacher renewal, created by Parker Palmer, currently involves over one hundred facilitators nationwide. Through the Center for Courage & Renewal, a group of educators from Maryland and Virginia have formed the Chesapeake Courage Collaborative. As part of this effort a five session Courage to Teach retreat series is being offered beginning in September, 2012 in Frederick, Maryland.

This retreat series is funded through a grant from the Kalliopeia Foundation and support from the Fetzer Institute. This retreat is open to public and independent school educators and administrators.

Heart of the Matter

Parent Education

The Changing Face of Parenting Conference Series

Shortly after its inception, the institute organized the first annual Changing Face of Parenting Conference in the Washington D.C. area.

This highly successful conference served as a parenting resource for mothers, fathers, foster parents, childcare professionals, and other educators for seven years.

Our conference attracted participants from as far away as Chapel Hill, N.C.; Princeton, N.J.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Father and Daughter
2018's Challenges of Fathering event

Fathering Workshops

The Nova Institute continues to offer fathering workshops around the country. These workshops allow dads to gather and speak openly about the challenges of being a father in contemporary society. This valuable time together is spent reflecting on the experiences that shape our parenting - what it means to be a father, what it means to be a man, and also what it means to be a son.

Teacher Preparation

Teaching is like thermodynamics. It involves the movement of  light and warmth from within the teacher out into the classroom. These intangible aspects—human warmth and enthusiasm and the light of insight and understanding—cannot be measured by our standard assessment tools but are essential to the health of children and the schools they attend. Children know this innately, and on some level, so do their parents. It is our hope that despite the current educational climate, teachers still know this as well.

Teacher With Hand Puppet
A weekend workshop with an inspiring puppetry artist, Suzanne Down.

In the fall of 2005, the Nova Institute began a Waldorf Teacher Preparation Program. This three-year, part-time program attracted teachers and future teachers from Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Virginia. Many of our students had graduate degrees and a significant amount of teaching experience.

The discussions in our seminar sessions were stimulating and thought provoking. Helping teachers to bring their full complement of gifts to the children they teach—enthusiasm, insight, artistry, and dedication, in a practical and professional manner is an important part of our work at the Nova Institute.

Arts-Based Instruction

Nova's work in educational reform began in the city of Baltimore. In collaboration with the Network for Enlivening Academics, and through a grant from the Fund for Change, the Institute designed a program to promote arts-based instruction in elementary and middle schools.

Utilizing the same  arts-based approach, similar programs were developed and implemented in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Triad Health Management and in New Jersey through the auspices of Relearning by Design and the Princeton Waldorf School.

Development, Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta

Pastel of Pyramids

The Nova Institute also offered a three-year teacher development program at the Calgary Waldorf School. "Imbue Thyself" was a supplemental summer training designed to promote a deeper understanding of Waldorf Education while exploring the challenges of educating healthy children amidst the pressures of contemporary society.

This program offered rich experiences in the arts, the reflective practices from the Courage to Teach, as well as active and practical explorations into the Anthroposophical understandings that are fundamental to the Waldorf approach to teaching. The Nova Institute is currently involved in training and mentoring teachers at the Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton.

Curriculum Design

The Enlivened Literacy Project


The Nova Institute worked in collaboration with the Safe and Sound Organization and the Network for Enlivening Academics to design and implement a language enrichment program for under-served children in the City of Baltimore.

The Enlivened Literacy Project, began in six after-school centers in the fall of 2002, and employed a storytelling-based curriculum with folk tales from around the world and a full complement of related art, drama, and language arts activities for children in kindergarten through grade three.

This program was designed to create effective and enjoyable ways for children to receive an enriched language-arts instructional program in an after-school setting.

Sacred America

Sacred America image

It is a new thinking that is called for, originating in awakened higher consciousness, individual responsibility and passionate commitment to joining with others to create the common good.

We stand at a critical juncture in this nation’s and humanity’s future.

We invite those who wish explore these ideas to come together to share and strengthen each other in doing the good the world needs now. Visit Sacred America.