Pyrites - Living & Learning with Nature

Practical Skills Teacher Development Course (PSTDC)

PSTDC JAN 2018 - Now Recruiting

Invite to sign up for Pyrites PSTDC 2018 Course

Now Accepting Applications for this course

as of 1st March 2017

Venue: Sheiling Schools - Thornbury South Glos

Starting in Jan > June 2018 

See below for Details

Please contact Bernard Graves if interested for more details  

Hosted by:
Sheiling Schools

Thornbury Park

Park Road


South Gloucestershire

BS35 1HP



  • Applications welcomed from teachers , Craft tutors & Parents from across the UK
  • 7 Weekends spread over the year - Jan > July 
  • Starting Saturdays 8.30am & concluding Sundays 5pm
  • All meals provided : Included
  • Accommodation can be arranged at the school

Dates for PSTDC starting Jan 2018 - see below:


Sheiling School, Thornbury Park.

Park Road Thornbury

South Gloucestershire

BS35 1HP

7 WEEKEND PROGRAMME– Saturdays & Sundays –Starting Sat 8.30am & finishing 5pm Sundays


NB: Due to popular demand we have added a sevenths workshop

Leaded Stained Glass - with Johannes Steuck

  • From Fleece to Felt: 27th/28th Jan 2018
  • From Skin to Leather: 24th/25th Feb
  • Willow Basketry: 25th/26th  March
  • Green wood work: 28th/29th April
  • Clay & Ceramics: 26th/27th May
  • Blacksmithing:23rd/24th June
  • Leaded Stained Glass: 7th/8th July  New workshop activity now added as formal part of the PSTDC



COST For PSTDC 2018:

The cost of the PSTDC: £1020/person. Inclusive of all materials, food/meals for the weekend.

A deposit of £200 is required following submission of your PSTDC Application Form - you will be notified when to pay this.NB your deposit secures your reservation but is non-refundable; however under certain circumstances, where attendance is not possible, your deposit maybe deferred to your attending the following year's course.

Missed workshops: In the event of you missing a workshop weekend you have the option of attending in the following year.


All teas/coffee & hot meals provided - using mostly organic produce. Dietary needs can be accommodated - see Application Form. 


 I am sorry to say that we no longer have use of accommodation at the school as in previous years However there are reasonably priced local B&B in in the locality. Address list of B&B etc can be provided on request.


The PSTDC, started this Jan 2017 & currently running, concluding in July 2017  - hopefully there will be sufficient interest to start a new course run in Jan 2018

Down loadable Flyers/Brochure will be available soon.

We aim to  have 12 participants 15 max, decided on a first come first serve basis.  - but could run with 10 min.

If you are interested in taking up this opportunity, starting in Jan 2018 then please confirm by return email also with any questions you may have. You will of course be sent full programme details /seminars & Talks etc later.


In order to start a new course JAN 2018; I would need to receive applications throughout 2017. 

If you require more information please email/write or phone - thanks:

Bernard Graves. Pyrites. Mayfield, 11 Bisley Road Stroud. Glos. GL5 1HE 
Email: Bernard(at)
Tel: 01453 767208

NOTE: Please replace (at) with the @ symbol.

 click here for the Online Application form. 

With Kind regards

Bernard Graves  1st  March 2017


PSTDC - Course Content & Overview

Practical Skills Teacher Development Course 

The PSTDC is aimed at all teachers, craft tutors, parents & individuals wishing to bring new elements of practical ‘experiential learning’ to their work. 

Practical work & Skills provide many opportunities for cross-curricular learning as well as staff development. This course has been designed to support both areas in ways that promote resourcefulness in the context of a school’s grounds and landscape. 


  • To offer an opportunity for re-development and re-deployment of skills already acquired.
  • To offer skills training in practical work and traditional crafts.
  • To show how craft gesture as an example of refined movement and practical skills supports the development and education of the child and young person.
  • Learning through making - Will Developed Intelligence & The Craft Gestures.
  • To demonstrate when and how experience can become effective learning.
  • To provide a new context for understanding school’s grounds and their use in developing a ‘practical skills’ curriculum relevant to the existing handwork/craft and related science and art domains; with special reference to Steiner Waldorf education.
  • To offer opportunities for curriculum development and the creation of an Outdoor Classroom & Practical Skills Curriculum.



The programme can be modified to suit the needs of individual orginisions; for instance therapeutic or Special Educational Needs providers. 

 The main objectives of the course are for a participant to:

  • Demonstrate competency in areas of Practical Education. 
  • Have a general knowledge of materials and practical skills related to a schools Practical Skills curriculum.
  • Show how an activity can be sustainably developed in a specific locality.
  • Carry out a practical project with a group of children.


1) From Fleece to Felt

Practical: Felting: From raw wool to dying to Felting: Frances Graves 
Practical & Introductions, Course Induction & expectations of participants. 
Saturday: Theme: Education of the Senses out of the Environment. The hand as conveyor of experience & learning. 
Sunday: Review of w/k with focus on Animal world. Induction to Log books & recording practical work. 

2) From Skin to Leather

Practical: From Skin to Leather: Jeannie Ireland
Saturday:Workshop - Meeting & Blessing of the Deer followed by Leather work.

Theme: Movement Learning (Nimble Fingers begets Nimble Minds - Will Developed Intelligence) 
Sunday: Review with focus on Animal world and experience. Cross-curricular opportunities. 

3) Hedgerow/ Willow Basketry

Practical: Hedgerow & Willow Basketry: Bernard Graves 
Saturday: Theme: The Temperaments & Craft 
Sunday : Review with focus on The Plant kingdom. Introduction to unit ’Adolescence a Descent Into matter’ Research Project. 

4) Greenwood work 

Practical: Green wood work: Richard Turley 
Saturday: Theme: Adolescents a Descent Into Matter- human development or Helpers in work 
Sunday: Review of w/k with focus on The Plant Kingdom and cross-curricular opportunities. 

5) Clay work & Ceramics

Practical:From Clay to Pots & Kiln building: Sam Makumba
Saturday: Theme: The Educational Landscape
Sunday: Review of w/k. Individual presentations of ideas & progress with craft related research. 

6) Pit Forge & Blacksmithing

Practical: Iron Age Pit Forge & Blacksmithing: Arian Leljak 
Saturday: Theme: Craft Gestures 
Sunday: Review of w/k with focus on The Mineral Kingdom. 

New workshop activity now added as formal part of the PSTDC

7) Leaded Stained Glass: Johannes Steuck

Practical: Design & cut coloured glass to fit around a semi precious stone/s - mount using  Leaded bead.


Seminars & Lectures

Wrapped around each of the weekend’s practical work are seminars, which assist with ‘reflection’ and ‘Understanding’ of personal experiences and the value of Crafts in support of human development. Lecture contributions will introduce fundamental aspects of the Study of Man arising out of Anthroposophy. Practical skills & the Waldorf Curriculum.

NB  The PSTDC is no longer accreditted  

Participants are however encouraged to submit work by way of compiling a portfolio accreditation; of their work.This can go towards Personal & Professional Development. 

Handouts will be provided so that participants do not need to take copies notes during the practical work.

A camera is recommended and is a useful way of documenting the practical activities. 

NB. Weekend themes for discussion & Lecture on Sat evenings may evolve during the Course, please make suggestions, as the course is to serve your requirements and personal needs.