Late Winter News Update 2023

Dear colleagues and friends,

After our successful February conferences and online parent evenings during the winter season, we are looking forward to the arrival of spring and the culmination of the school year. We hope you will take a few moments to read the inspiring reports of the collaborative work of your WECAN colleagues and previews of upcoming activities.

With warm wishes to all,

Susan Howard, WECAN Coordinator


Holly Koteen-Soule, WECAN Early Childhood Research Group 

Resilience is a prized quality in our dynamic times. It allows us to deal with unpredictability without being thrown off our center. It allows us to stay present to the situation we find ourselves in, even if it is unexpected, and to respond flexibly. It is related to the ability to improvise, creating something not out of a pre-formed plan, but out of intuition.


Child development researchers define resilience as the ability to cope positively with disruptions and attribute a child’s capacity to become resilient to two primary factors. The first and most critical one is a stable, committed relationship with a parent or caregiver and, the second is consistent rhythms in everyday life. Not surprisingly, these elements are central aspects of Waldorf education. 

There is a third element that may also contribute to the development of resilience. Artistic practices of all kinds are woven into Waldorf education. Music, movement, handwork, visual arts, poetry and storytelling are a part of a student’s daily experience in early childhood, grades and high school. One of the unique aspects of Waldorf education is that the arts are not brought as separate subjects but, are ideally, woven into the whole fabric of the curriculum. While the various arts offer many benefits in themselves, they also serve as a means of digesting, processing and integrating the entirety of a student’s classroom experiences.

Click here for full article.


Louise deForest, WECAN Board Chair and Secretary

The WECAN Board has had a busy winter starting with the wonderful opportunity for almost all the Board members to meet in November for our first in-person meeting since the pandemic. In that meeting, we finished our self-audit work with Alma Partners and identified our next steps forward as an organization. We revised our Shared Principles in keeping with our intentions to make the D.E.I.J. work a priority. After receiving input from our Full Member Schools, our I.D.E.A. Committee, and our Full Member Teacher Education Institutes, the Board unanimously accepted the Shared Principles. 

Click here for full article.


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator, and Susan Howard, WECAN Coordinator

As you know, WECAN is deeply committed to actively working to support inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) as a pathway to a healthy social life in our association, in North America and globally.

Some of our recent activities include: 

• Updating our Shared Principles to better demonstrate the commitment of our members to IDEA 

• Renewal of our website, including providing more IDEA resources (see the new version here)

• Working with a marketing consultant to help us grow support for WECAN, strengthen engagement with our community, and boost awareness of our publications – all with an eye toward inclusion 

• Focus on IDEA in our Gateways newsletters and publications, including Toward a Kinder, More Compassionate Society: Working Together Towards Change, available through the WECAN Online Book Store. 

• The third annual WECAN February Conference on IDEA, this year in person and online, with the theme of Finding our Ways.

• An IDEA zoom work-alike event, Weaving Threads of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Into Daily Classroom Rhythms, on January 10th 

Click here for the full article.


Lynn Turner and Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Coordinators

As we continue our work together committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, Lynn and I want to share news, progress, and the next steps we have been involved with over the past few months. We certainly have had an exciting start to the New Year! Being able to connect again with our colleagues in person this February was inspiring and transformative. Our time together remains a beacon for so much more work to follow. 

A wonderful resource, Toward A Kinder More Compassionate Society - Working Together Towards Change, from the 2022 WECAN Early Childhood Educators Conference with contributions from Meggan Gill, Keelah Helwig, Joaquin Muñoz, and others, edited by Susan Howard, moved us forward bringing a much-needed IDEA Waldorf Resource to our schools, classrooms, and communities. Diving into this resource in January, the IDEA Committee hosted a WECAN community zoom event in which many colleagues participated in working together with concepts from the book. Upon reflection, it is clear that our diversity work in Waldorf Early Childhood remains community-based and personal, as conversations are happening with more openness and trust which strengthens our will forces to learn, unlearn, grow, and transform together.

Click here for full article.


Lisa Bechmann

WECAN Southeast Region Representative, and WECAN representative on the Screen Time Action Network Early Childhood Work Group

Since the beginning of the pandemic, new questions have come from both teachers and parents about screen use and young children. The decision to temporarily bring more screens into the lives of our young children was not an easy one, and each community responded in the best way they could.  Now as we experience life after the pandemic, the question for all of us working with and raising children remains: How do we support healthy childhood, while navigating the reality of an increasingly technological world? There is clearly a need for supportive resources in our communities.

This report describes the newly released Screen Aware Early Childhood Action Kit and the forming of a new WECAN Digital Media Working Group

Click here to read the full report.


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator

Many thanks to our organizational members for your continued collaboration with the association by attending and hosting regional gatherings, sharing WECAN information with your community, attending webinar events and conferences, purchasing WECAN books, participating in WECAN self-study and peer review through your membership processes, and more. We continue to learn so much from one another through our work together!


We have been working actively with over 50 schools, centers and home programs on membership applications and renewals this school year and have one new member to announce.


Golden Bridges School in San Francisco, California, founded in 2013, is a new Associate Member with an admirable commitment to social justice. Please join us in welcoming them as new members of WECAN. I invite you to take a look at the Golden Bridges School Website to learn more about our newest member. 

Click here to read full report.

Golden Bridges School in San Francisco, CA


Heather Church, Magdalena Toran, and Anjum Mir

Happy Spring to all! This year has been full of activity in the realm of Birth to Three. Anjum Mir has joined us this year and it has been so wonderful to have her on our team to strengthen our new work with parents.

The Birth to Three Focus groups, including Parent and Child, Child Care, and Home Child Care, met several times through the fall, ending with a session on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in the Life and Family of Children from Birth to Three. We were honored to have three wonderful guests share leading thoughts on DEIJ and the Young Child: Chinyelu Kunz, Leslie Wetzonis Woolverton, and Lynn Turner. We have plans to take this work further in the fall of 2024 - stay tuned.

This year we also launched our new Parent Evenings Series focusing on supporting both parents and caregivers to deepen their understanding of the young child. We also created these offerings as a way to support new teachers in their work with parents, with the goal of building bridges between parents and teachers.  We were honored and blessed to have Dr. Blanning M.D. offer to present two talks this year, covering two important topics of childhood: anxiety and warmth. Then the opportunity arose to offer a third session, which took place in mid-March, in which Dr. Blanning focused on sleep and the child from birth to seven. These events have been very well received. Keep your eyes open to hear what topics will be covered next year!  

Click here to read the full report.


Ruth Ker, Teacher Education Coordinator

Teacher Training Institute Zoom Meetings

This January and February we began our monthly Teacher Training Institutes zoom calls with presentations and conversations about the differences in learning styles of the modern student. This is a research topic internationally and Susan Howard presented some contemplations that are being discussed worldwide with colleagues from ITEP (the International Teacher Education Preparation Group) and the IASWECE International Early Childhood Trainers Network. 

After Susan’s January offering, Heather Church presented in February, showing us some ways that she incorporates the arts and social development into her classes, and Holly Koteen-Soulé presented on March 15th. Holly took us on a comprehensive journey, showing us how students can individualize and collaborate in their learning. We all benefit greatly from the shared experiences and wisdom of each other. At the next meeting on Tuesday, April 18th at 1 pm, Leslie Burchell Fox and Monika Sutherland will present how they orient new students to the essentials. 

Click here to read full report


Toward a Kinder More Compassionate Society, Finding our Ways

Three hundred Waldorf early childhood educators attended the in-person WECAN Conference in Spring Valley, New York, and another 150 attended the online conference. Many thanks to the keynote presenters, workshop leaders, artists, discussion group leaders, and everyone who made the conference such an inspiring and heartwarming experience.

Our colleagues in Mexico will gather together soon to view the conference recordings in Spanish and participate in Spanish language discussion groups, thanks to the work of Gabriela Nuñez Plata and her colleagues.

We would like to offer special thanks to our VIP Sponsors: Mercurius, Sophia's Hearth, Sunbridge Institute, and Waldorf Publications, for their generous support of the conference!

Mark your calendars! The dates for the 2024 conference are February 9 - 11.


Thank you to all the conference participants who made contributions to our fundraiser this year! We are very excited to announce that we have raised $6880 so far in support of the children, families, and educators in Ukrainian Waldorf early childhood communities. We are pleased to hear that some schools are continuing this fundraising through events this spring and we are very grateful for the support that continues to arrive.

If you would like to participate, you can send a check to WECAN, 285 Hungry Hollow Road, Spring Valley, NY, 10977 with "Ukraine" in the memo line. We plan to send the support to our Ukrainian colleagues in June.

Click here for more information on the fundraiser.



Covid-19 Pandemic: Responses and Consequences in Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens and Early Childhood Settings

by Dr. Neil Boland

In 2022 IASWECE commissioned a research study by Neil Boland of the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand to explore how Waldorf educators around the world have experienced the pandemic and its effects on the children, the families, and themselves. The report raises questions for further study about what we are learning from these experiences and the implications for our work in the future.

$12 Available soon!


Raising Sound Sleepers - Helping Children Use their Senses to Rest and Self-Soothe

By Dr. Adam Blanning

Raising Sound Sleepers is an invaluable resource that will empower parents and carers to guide children towards rest, sleep, and feeling calm – skills that will last a lifetime.

$19 Available next week!

Toward a Kinder, More Compassionate Society: Working Together Toward Change

Editor Susan Howard

This collection of keynote presentations by Meggan Gill, Keelah Helwig, and Joaquin Muñoz, as well as a wide variety of workshops from the February 2022 online WECAN Conference, is a timely and stimulating resource for working on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in Waldorf early childhood programs and schools.

$19 Order Now

Birth to Three in Education and Care: Rudolf Steiner, Emmi Pikler and the Very Young Child

Editor Heather Church

Birth to Three in Education and Care: Rudolf Steiner, Emmi Pikler, and the Very Young Child shares its title with the theme of the first conference of its kind hosted at Sophia’s Hearth Family Center in Keene, New Hampshire. The keynote speakers have devoted their life’s work to understanding the young child, to what the child’s needs might be, and how we, as conscious adults, can welcome them most warmly into their physical bodies and onto their paths as human beings. They explored how Emmi Pikler and Rudolf Steiner inform educators’ work with very young children. In Waldorf early childhood education, we are so very fortunate that these two deeply sensitive, insight-filled streams have found each other, and that these four wise teachers, and those who take up their indications, continue to work with and for young children so that developing humans might be as free as possible to choose a path in life, to be who they came here to be, with the least hindrances and the greatest resources.

$15 Order Now

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Loving care for the child under three

By Helle Heckmann

Taking the child’s need as her point of departure, Helle Heckmann sets aside mainstream expectations. Twenty-first century pressures on families, imposing long working days on parents and much absence from the family and home, create the classic problem of our times: while creating economic safety and security for their families, how can we give the best we can to the children we love, while also satisfying personal needs as well as the demands of society? This book offers perspectives from several adults who care for young children in diverse ways.

$35 Order Now



April 10-15, 2023, Dornach, Switzerland

The 11th World Teachers’ Conference of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum starts on April 10th. «Affirming – Nurturing – Trusting, an Education for Today and Tomorrow» is the theme of the conference, which will be attended by Waldorf teachers and educators from all over the world.

May the conference be a celebration of meeting one another!

For more information click here.

SCREEN FREE WEEK - May 1-7, 2023

During the first week of May, thousands of families, schools, and communities step away from their digital devices to rediscover the joy of life away from screens. Not only is  Screen-Free Week a great way for children to enjoy life without entertainment screens, but it offers the chance for participants to create healthier screen-free habits year-round.

WECAN is a proud endorser of this event, and we encourage you to participate. We will post messages and planning resources on the Community Hub or you can contact us at communications@waldorfearlychildhood.org for more information.


February 9 – 11, 2024 in Spring Valley, NY

The conference is open to those who are active in Waldorf early childhood education, as well as educational support teachers, care group members, eurythmists, specialty teachers, and class teachers. Details will follow on the WECAN website.

If you have questions, contact us at conference@waldorfearlychildhood.org.

We hope that you will join us! 


A listing of summer early childhood training courses and professional development opportunities will be sent out later this month!


Our newly redesigned WECAN website has a new look and new resources for educators and parents, as well as a more user-friendly online book store. Please visit and have a look around!

Visit our website!


Your contribution will help us continue to support our members with additional resources, more ways to connect with colleagues, and inspiration for their ongoing professional development. Your support will also help us collaborate with other organizations to keep a light shining on the ever more critical and precious treasure of the first seven years and protect the young child’s joyful devotion to everyday life and unmitigated hope for the future. We are grateful for any contribution you are able to make!

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Membership benefits include:

  • A subscription to the Gateways Journal (includes the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 issues)
  • WECAN News Updates
  • A 10% discount on WECAN book sales
  • Discounts on registration fees at WECAN conferences
  • Regular email messages that include reports on activities, conferences, and events within WECAN and IASWECE (the International Association of Waldorf/Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education).

Click here for more information

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