October 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,
Perhaps you may find inspiration and courage for your work on behalf of the young child in the reports about surprises, initiatives and ideas from colleagues working for Early Childhood Education in Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.

With the articles in the section "current pedagogical issues," you may not agree with everything you read. But this seems to be the point of the authors: we don't need to agree on everything, but can still have an excellent collaboration in Steiner/Waldorf education. And if you would like to share your point of view about these questions with us, we would warmly welcome your thoughts (and may even publish some the responses and ideas we receive). 
With warm wishes on behalf of the IAS WECE Coordinating Group, 
Philipp Reubke  

Waldorf Early Childhood Education Worldwide
Surprises and a Wealth of Improvisational Capacity - Ingredients of the Waldorf Movement in Zimbabwe
Some years ago, Dr. Florence Hibbeler came to Zimbabwe to establish a medical facility for a private agency helping small farmers in rural areas.  There she encountered many women who cared for children in the villages, more or less on a voluntary basis. Since she was acquainted with Waldorf Education in Europe, she made it possible for these women to do practicums in South African Waldorf kindergartens, and she invited Waldorf early childhood educators from South Africa, Europe, and the USA to come and give introductory courses.  
Kyrgysztan: "Now we know, what Waldorf education is"

One great difficulty of training in a country like Kyrgyzstan is that the participants have no opportunity to experience a real Waldorf kindergarten. The seven Waldorf kindergartens in the country are all just at the beginning and need support for their own development. In the past year, it was possible for two participants to do a practicum in a Waldorf kindergarten in Moscow; they returned satisfied and enthusiastic and reported in their training classes about their experiences. 
Good News from Turkey

Waldorf education has to face certain typical difficulties in many countries. Here some examples from Turkey describing how those responsible for the Waldorf movement in Turkey have approached these difficulties in their country.     

Current Pedagogical Issues 
Twenty-two Myths about Waldorf Education

This is the title of an article by Steve Sagarin that appeared in the September 2017 issue of the English-language online newsletter "Waldorf Today". Through 22 examples, he indicates how Waldorf educators and parent tend to connect the identity of Waldorf education to specific external traits, habits and behaviors, and to forget the open quality of Rudolf Steiner's indications as well as his extensive description of the development of the child.  
The essence of his article could be characterized as follows: let us not lose or harden our identity through outer appearances! Let us focus on the essentials and create ever new appropriate outer forms according to our own situations! 
What Children Need: The Essentials of Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education

Is there a Waldorf early childhood curriculum? Are there specific activities - puppet plays, circle
games, watercolor painting, for example - that are essential to a Waldorf program? Are there certain materials and furnishings - lazured, soft-colored walls, handmade dolls, beeswax crayons, silk and other natural materials - that are necessary ingredients in a Waldorf setting?
Creating New Waldorf Festivals Based on Local Conditions

"As a multiculturally interested Waldorf class teacher, it was my wish to contribute with a master's thesis at the RSUC Oslo to the interculturalism of the Waldorf movement. The latter is now firmly established on every continent, in various cultures and in more than three major world religions. 
The idea for an appropriate research focus was developed in consultation with the Pedagogical Section in Dornach. Possible transformations of typical Waldorf annual festivals, based on local conditions, would have to be investigated.
News from IASWECE
Conferences on the Theme of Sleep
Creating a Network of International Mentors 
Training centers, kindergartens and country associations often ask IASWECE for advice in finding a trainer, mentor or lecturer. Some IASWECE Council members are available for such activities, and in addition to this we have started to create a list of international mentors. 
If you have a solid experience as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, and/or experience as an adult educator, if you speak at least one other language in addition to your mother tongue, if you are open to other cultures and have some gifts in improvisation... then please fill out and send us the form you can find here. (Note: This activity takes place on a voluntary basis or offers only a very modest honorarium.) 

Collaboration with Other Organizations
ELIANT, ECSWE and IASWECE - Advocating age-appropriate media education 
In its preliminary draft, the European Parliament welcomed the proposal by the European Commission to develop "comprehensive national strategies for digital competencies" at the Member State level. What was missing however was an age-appropriate approach to media education. 
The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE), campaigned strongly to bring about changes to this draft. For to us, the ever earlier, and ever more pervasive use of digital media is not the right route to take.
If you are wondering what the suggestions are for kindergartens and early childhood programs to celebrate 100 years of Waldorf education, please

ELIANT Conference, Belgium: "Towards A Healthy Digital Ecosystem: Values, Comptencies and Responsibilities" ,
with Michaela Gloeckler and others,  28 November, 2 pm - 7 pm, Royal Library of Belgium, Boulevard de l'Empereur 4, Brussels.

"Truth, Beauty and Goodness: The Future of Education, Healing Arts and Health Care" February 17 - 20, 2018, Honolulu Waldorf School, Hawaii. Kolisko Conference with Michaela Glöckler and others.
  Please contact us at info@iaswece.org if you would like to announce a conference in our Newsletter or on our website.
How You Can Help
I ASWECE provides financial and pedagogical support to projects in order to develop and foster the quality of Waldorf early childhood education all over the world. 

"Transitions in Childhood from Birth to 14 Years" - New Publication!

The lectures by Clara Aerts, Ursula Flatters, Elizabeth Hall, Florian Osswald, Claus-Peter Röh and Susan Weber from the 2015 Transitions conference in Dornach are now available in print. 

Mercurius International
The IASWECE Newsletter is published on behalf of the IASWECE Council by Philipp Reubke, with support from Clara Aerts, Susan Howard and Lara Radysh. 

Country Projects, Partnerships and Support:
Clara Aerts, Belgium 
Tel 0032 498 223 281

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Susan Howard, USA 
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Philipp Reubke, France
Tel 0033 977 197 137