Photo showing (left - right) Christine, Dennis & Greta in 2014
Greta Weekes (Crum)
Teacher at RWS from 1976 - 1984
We were very sad to hear of the sudden death of Greta Weekes, on Thursday 17th January, in her home in Maarssen, Holland. Greta joined the school as a kindergarten teacher in September 1976*, when the school was just two years old.
She came with her young son, Sylvian, and they moved into the lovely, forsythia-clad Dell Cottage. They had the use of the two tiny rooms upstairs, the very tiny kitchen with a laundry extension at the back (in which stood the school’s one and only washing machine – used, with the help of a fairly strict time-table, by the many teachers living in the lane over the next years!); they also had the use, in the evenings and weekends, of any part of the two downstairs rooms which were not set up for Kindergarten. And in these quaint conditions Greta and Sylvian lived for the next 6 years – until the cottage was reclaimed by the Sheiling as part of the new Sheiling College, and Greta moved into a mobile home on the school site which she, typically, made into a cosy home.
Greta’s task was to set up the Kindergarten – which quickly grew to be two, then three groups. She took in parents as class helpers, but always considered them to be trainees, running study-groups on Steiner’s lectures and child development with them. In later years, when the school needed it, – and having trained several Kindergarten teachers to take on the work – she became the Administrator and was also very active in the Development Group, which, at that time, was looking for new premises for the school.
Her 8 years with us were hugely important for the school’s growth and development. She had a tremendous spiritual strength and conviction, and gave herself fully to her work. She came from an anthroposophical (Steiner) family which meant that she was well grounded in the theory and practice of Steiner education; she brought form and structure to all aspects of her work and was nothing if not thorough. Also pretty stubborn! In the life of our teaching community outside school hours, she was always hospitable and generous.
When she left, Greta was drawn back to her roots in Holland and was soon involved in the founding of a new Steiner school where she taught for some years, eventually becoming mentor and advisor for a number of Steiner Kindergartens. With her partner, Jaap de Boer, Greta enjoyed sailing in their trimaran and, in her retirement, she took up water-colour painting, trying with typical persistence to capture the different moods of the sea. In recent years she had some paintings in exhibitions. Greta came from a large family and took a great interest in all members - most recently in her beloved nieces. There are many who mourn her passing.
*(at the same time as Dennis Demanett). Where there had been one there were now three of us.