Fall 2020
From Susan Howard, WECAN Coordinator
Dear Members and Friends,

Warm greetings in this season of great change! It is very heartening to hear of the delight the children are experiencing as they come together again, and although your challenges as teachers and caregivers are enormous, many of you are expressing gratitude and joy for being able to take up your work with children again in person. Your creativity, innovation, and herculean efforts are profoundly impressive and we wish you well on this new adventure!

In this News Update, we would like to share with you some of WECAN's recent activities and plans, and look forward to our work together in this new year.

with warm regards,
Report from the WECAN Board
Louise deForest, Board Chair

The WECAN Board has not met all together since this past June but has remained very active throughout the summer through our committee work and our working groups. Zoom calls fill many hours of the day, keeping us in touch with one another and our sister organizations and providing the opportunity to participate in panel discussions and classes.

Collaboration continues to grow and there have been very frequent zoom calls between WECAN and AWSNA and many conversations with the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. Together we strive to provide our members with the practical information and resources they may need and to offer consistent leadership at a time of confusion and anxiety.

Click here for full report.
Back Row: Leticia Gutierrez (Mexico liaison), Ruth Ker, Heather Church, Adr ienne Doucette, Laura Mason (Membership Coordinator) Front Row: Louise deForest ,Nancy Blanning, Magdalena Toran, Sarah Arnold, Sarah Arnold, Holly Koteen-Soulé and Susan Howard. (Photo from 2019 - the board has not met in person since November 2019)
From the Membership Office
Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator
Most of the regular activity of the membership office involves shepherding organizational members through membership application and renewal processes. This spring, most of that activity came to a screeching halt as campuses suddenly closed down. The WECAN Membership Committee was faced with the question of how to manage membership while in the midst of a pandemic. I’m pleased to share that our meetings resulted in a clear sense that what programs need is support and flexibility at this time. 

We quickly made a decision to extend all membership deadlines by a full year and to eliminate all site visits for the 2020-21 school year. While no renewals will be taking place, we are still taking applications for new Associate Members. In fact, several programs were motivated to become members as they saw how collaborating with others at this time could be very beneficial. We look forward to learning more about these programs through their Self-Studies and in remote meetings this year. 

Teacher Education Update
Ruth Ker, Teacher Education Coordinator

In these unusual times there have been necessary adaptations made to the way WECAN’s Teacher Education Committee has done outreach and consulting. 

Dare I mention one of the benefits of navigating the COVID waters? The Teacher Education Committee has experienced the benefit of getting to know the WECAN member institutes better by scheduling regular zoom meetings. In each of these meetings attended by 9 to 25 Program Directors and teacher trainers, we could finally all be in the same place at the same time. I have been very grateful to see the faces, hear the voices and learn from the contributions of colleagues that I may not have otherwise met. Many others have also expressed their gratitude for this. Our zoom calls were used first to check in with each other about how we were going to go forward with our individual trainings, then to share some techniques and strategies for on-line teaching and finally to complete a three-session deepening on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion with Dr. Debbie Laurin.

Click here for full update.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access
Susan Howard and Laura Mason
The WECAN Board has made an on-going commitment to work consciously and intentionally with the themes of inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) in Waldorf Early Childhood Education. Below is an overview of recent events and information on some of the activities taking place during this school year:

Summer DEI Update:
Through our collaboration with AWSNA, the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations, the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education and other organizations, many members of our WECAN Community had opportunities this summer to work toward a better understanding of the effects of racism and to commit to anti-racist thinking and activity.

Click here for full report
Birth to Three: An Update from the Working Group
Heather Church, WECAN Birth to Three Coordinator
Fall is finally arriving here in the north; a few leaves have slowly changed in colour to yellow, orange, and red. Slowly seems to be the year’s theme, go slowly forward and sense into the new. Life is not the same as it was, and may never be quite the same. Are we, as those here in this time of life, able to embrace this and move forward into a new way of being with each other? Time will tell.

This feeling of moving forward into a new way certainly pertains to our work with Birth to Three as well. The beautiful plans we had in place for the second Birth to Three Conference at Sophia’s Hearth has been cancelled for this year with the intention of rescheduling for next fall. We will be bringing Birth to Three offerings to the February Conference. Watch for the conference announcement to learn more.

Click here for the full report.
Contributions from the WECAN EC Research Group

A Potent Tool for Waldorf Schools in Challenging Times
Laurie Clark, WECAN Early Childhood Research Group

COVID-19 has brought challenges on every level to Waldorf communities. Here in North America schools are struggling to cope with major pedagogical, social, and financial questions. While solving everyday problems is a necessary priority, in order to move beyond reacting, we may need to remind ourselves to take time to listen and speak with one another. Sharing our stories helps us to realize that we are not alone and that we can find soul strength with one another.

We also have a potent pedagogical practice of Child Contemplation, also called Child Study, that teachers use to support a child going through a developmental challenge. Sometimes a faculty will also undertake a Class Contemplation. This process involves observation, imagination and meditation and helps us deepen our understanding of a child or a class. 

Click here for full report and suggestions for how to approach a school contemplation process.
Hearts Coalescing in Courage: What is Truly Needed at This Time?
Stephanie Hoelscher, Member, WECAN Early Childhood Research Group

Schools across the country have prepared for months for the return of students. Plans upon plans, policies, protocols, and power point presentations have been filed in folders on our Waldorf resource hubs. We have accumulated so much helpful information! Is this all that is needed? As we live through the life cycle of this crisis, I cannot help but question the effects of our quest to keep up with information that is moving, changing, and contested. How does our information habit hinder us from seeing other possibilities? Moreover, after so many days of being tethered to the screen for both information and connection, what experiences have we had that help us perceive the limits of virtual connections and what else we need to care for one another?  

Click here for full article
Join the WECAN Community Hub

The WECAN Community Hub in Groups.io was established last spring to offer Waldorf early childhood educators opportunities to engage in conversation and share resources, especially in these times of the pandemic. Its membership has grown to 900 over the course of recent months.

The Hub offers resources and conversations on Activities for Children, Reopening our Programs, Health and Coronavirus, DEI, Inner Development, Courses and Webinars, and WECAN News. The Hub also has subgroups for Parent Child, Birth to Three, Home Programs, Early Childhood Teacher Educators, and WECAN Organizational Members. Several of our WECAN Regions also have subgroups.

We are very grateful for the opportunities the Community Hub offers for us all to stay in touch. We encourage you to join and share your questions and insights!

To subscribe, please go to WECANCommunity+subscribe@wecan.groups.io
Free brochures on Waldorf Early Childhood Education available to WECAN Member schools and institutes
Dear Waldorf Friends,

Letting the Children Be Children: Waldorf Early Childhood Education is a sixteen-page, full-color, illustrated booklet designed to be an effective educational and outreach resource for Waldorf schools and Waldorf early childhood centers. It is meant mainly to help current and prospective school parents understand the distinctive Waldorf approach to early childhood education.

Published in 2018, the booklet has been used by a number of schools and centers. I am retiring from the business of selling these booklets and would like to make the remaining inventory available, for free, to schools and centers that can make use of them.

If you would like to receive free copies of the booklet, please contact me. The booklet is available in batches of 40, 100, and 150 copies.

Thank you all for your service to children and to Waldorf Education.

Warm regards,
Ronald E. Koetzsch, PhD
Editor Emeritus
Renewal — A Journal for Waldorf Education
International Association for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education Update:
Times of Change

Beginning in October, IASWECE Coordinating Group Member Philipp Reubke will be connected to the worldwide movement of Steiner/Waldorf early childhood education in a new way. Philipp will leave his role in IASWECE to take up a co-leadership role in the Pedagogical Section in Dornach. This is an important moment not only for Philipp but also for the whole early childhood movement. For the first time, we will have someone in the Pedagogical Section from our own early childhood field of expertise.

Click here to read more.
New From WECAN Books

Originally published in German, this volume clearly and succinctly outlines the anthroposophical view of child development from birth through age three, and makes concrete suggestions of how to support children's physical, emotional, and spiritual growth in an out-of-home care setting. This English-language edition is intended to inform birth-to-three programs, as well as being a resource for parents, therapists, and anyone with an interest in this special period of human life. The second edition includes a new introduction by editor Susan Howard, new material from author Claudia Grah-Wittich, and an updated list of resources available in English. 
By Helle Heckmann

Five Golden Keys celebrates families embracing life with the child under 7 years. Sleep, movement, mealtimes, rhythm, and care: with these five golden keys, Helle Heckmann offers a simple and practical approach that addresses the young child’s needs in the best possible way.

Helle Heckmann, founder and director of Nøkken Kindergarten in Denmark, has worked with parents and children in over 50 countries.
By Angelika Wiehl and Wolfgang-M. Auer

Understanding Child Development is the result of the editors’ many years of experience as Waldorf educators and leaders in teacher training. Translated from Angelika Wiehl and Wolfgang-M. Auer’s Kindheit, this is a selection of Rudolf Steiner’s source texts on childhood, scholarly commentary, supplemental essays on sensory development and imitation, suggestions for studying the texts, and a discussion of the future of childhood. Steiner’s selected source texts on early childhood are here collected in English for the first time.

Originally published in both German and English, 
Transitions in Childhood from Birth to 14 Years collects lectures given from May 30 to April 3, 2015 at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, where 550 people from 46 countries, including Waldorf educators, scholars, and professionals in a wide range of fields, came together to work on the title theme. A main intention was to work together on current educational questions and thus deepen our understanding of child and human development.

Claus-Peter Röh of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum summarized the mood at the end of the conference: "We have tried, with great intensity and candor, to create a community of awareness around various areas of education. The desire to always keep the idea of a whole in mind while discerning the individual was clearly apparent . . . Now we stand before the challenge of further developing our collective work and newly gained insights into the future."

We hope that these texts can serve as a basis for further study activity and can contribute to a greater collaborative activity in the Waldorf kindergarten and school movement.
Editor Louise deForest

A second collection of stories gathered from Waldorf early childhood teachers all over the country longing to share what they love with those who love children. Because it is in the sharing—the telling—that a story comes alive, the more you tell stories, the more you will hear, “Tell me another story.”
By Sherrie Gionet

Created by Sherri Gionet to support the Waldorf early childhood curriculum, these art prints offer new visions of the traditional mother-child tableau. Rich images celebrate inclusiveness and reverence to complement the mood of the Waldorf early childhood classroom or the home.

Offered in a standard 11 x 17 inch format, full-color and suitable for framing.
"Mother and Child" features gold and earthen tones that suggest a dry climate, the autumn season, or the seasonal festivals celebrating light.

"In the Garden" features a vibrant palette that suggests a warmer climate or the growing seasons. 

$10 each or purchase a set of 2 prints for $18
Child of Nature
Rikke Rosengren

This book evolves around the importance of nature as a healthy and stimulating environment for children’s development. Nature has a unique potential as a platform for children to grow and experiment. The book emphasizes the curiosity of the child, the natural need for movement, and how we can optimize the conditions for children’s development outdoors. This book is relevant for parents and professionals as well as others with an interest in outdoor education. 
$29. This book will be available mid October 2020
Upcoming Waldorf Conferences and Professional Development Events
February 5 - 7, 2021


The East Coast and Northwest WECAN Conferences are joining forces this year and are planning an online conference, with keynotes, panels, discussion groups and workshops largely focused on the question of Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism in Waldorf Early Childhood Education. This is an exciting opportunity for colleagues from throughout North America and perhaps beyond to come together virtually for an interactive exploration of our work as educators.   

Further details will be announced soon. Watch the WECAN website for updates.

Are you a Waldorf Early Childhood educator, trainer or student in training? Or a Waldorf parent wanting to be more informed about Waldorf early childhood education?

Become a WECAN Member (or Renew) Today!
We are pleased to invite you to start or renew your WECAN membership on-line. Individual memberships are $50/year; student memberships are $40.

Join with your colleagues - If you join WECAN in a group of three or more, you pay only $40/year per person - a 20% discount!

Benefits of membership include discounts at the WECAN Store, discounted registration for the online WECAN February Conference, a subscription to Gateways, and more.

If you have questions about individual membership or group discounts, please email Melissa Lyons or call 845-352-1690.

The new membership year begins October 1. Don't miss a thing -- join or renew your membership today!