Fall 2023
From Susan Howard and Heather Church, WECAN Co-Directors
Dear colleagues,

As we enter into the growing intensity and beauty of autumn, we can experience the richness of this harvest season - so much that has grown and developed from seeds planted earlier is coming to fruition now. And so it is with our WECAN work together. This issue of our News Update is filled with the harvest of individual and collaborative efforts of our WECAN community: research results, conferences, online offerings for educators and parents, steps in membership and teacher education, as well as publications and other resources. We invite you to celebrate this rich harvest, benefit from the nourishment it offers, and join us in planting new seeds for the future.

With warm wishes to all,
Susan and Heather
Engendering Hope in the Early Childhood Classroom 
Laurie Clark

Excerpts from a chapter called “Hope, a Tonic for the Future” in a forthcoming WECAN book of essays from members of the WECAN Early Childhood Research Group

As we find our way into the future, what is it that is really needed? What are the healing gestures that teachers can provide so that the children in our care can feel safe, secure, and full of trust as they navigate their way through life? How can we engender hope in their lives? The teacher can become a kind of sensing organ to see what is needed to bring assurance to the children.

Hope is something that we need to cultivate. It involves the ability to live with the uncertainty of the future while still holding the confidence that whatever it brings, we will find a way to meet it. The cultural biographical destiny that we all find ourselves in is calling for us to awaken and meet each unprecedented situation with strengthened inner capacities.    

Sometimes it feels impossible to find the way and yet navigating through the unknown is the only choice. We live with uncertainties all of the time that are not under our control. How can we learn to live with so many uncertainties? 

Hope counteracts uncertainties, it provides a powerful antidote to despondency. It enlivens us to take steps towards the future knowing that our plans might need to completely change before we get to where we thought we were going. Flexibility and adaptability at every turn now is what is needed. To bathe one’s soul with ‘spiritual hope’ provides an inner gesture of healing and will be a gift to the children in our care. Permeation with hopefulness enkindles warmth and vitality within us. This precious inner soul warmth brings comfort to others, even in the most difficult of situations. It gives us the potential to courageously face the circumstances that the unknown future might hold at any given time. 

Birth to Three
Magdalena Toran and Heather Church

The Birth to Three working group met often over the summer, planning and considering how best to support our community of colleagues and parents. We continue to seek ways to unite and connect the 0-3 caregivers in their various program types. Those working in 0-3 often feel disconnected from the larger early childhood community. Reasons for this include having a program that is not embedded in a school, like a childcare or home program, working at a different rate of pay than other early childhood professionals, and not being included in lead teacher or regional meetings related to Waldorf early childhood education. The first three years of the child’s life are unique in the first seven years period. Perhaps this uniqueness also contributes to the sense of being involved with something different. 
The WECAN Birth to Three working group encourages all Waldorf early childhood educators to take responsibility for your specific role in making connections.  If you are not a birth to three caregiver, but have a program in your school or community, show your interest in your colleagues by reaching out and inviting in or asking to visit. If you have a birth to three program, please feel very welcome to contact us with ideas and suggestions for how we can support you. You can contact  mtoran@waldorfearlychildhood.org 

The Power of Play
November 10-11, 2023, Sophia's Hearth, Keene, NH

To register and for more information click here. 
Click here for the conference schedule.
For more information contact Katherine Scharff at katherine@sophiashearth.org
New WECAN Staff Members
We are delighted that Heather Church from Gores Landing, Ontario, has joined Susan Howard as a Co-Director of WECAN. We are excited about the possibilities for WECAN's growth and development that Heather brings through her social and artistic gifts and her experience in a wide array of Waldorf early childhood activities, especially in Birth to Three, Parent and Community work, and New Adult Learning. If you don't know Heather already, you can get to know her as a keynote presenter at our February Conference. You can reach her at hchurch@waldorfearlychildhood.org. Welcome, Heather!
Mia Radysh, from Shelburne Falls, MA, and sister of our WECAN Communications Coordinator, Lara Radysh, joined WECAN last year as our February Conference Administrator. We appreciated working with her so much that we have asked her to take on an expanded role in administrative support for WECAN, and especially for Laura Mason in our Membership Office. Mia is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and a mother of two. You can reach her at adminsupport@waldorfearlychildhood.org. Welcome, Mia!
Teacher Education Update
Ruth Ker, Teacher Education Coordinator
This summer was a busy time for our Teacher Education Institutes, as many of them continued with their in-person studies. Congratulations to all of those who began with new cohorts and those who are completing with students who weathered the COVID waters.

Congratulations to Alkion for the renewal of their WECAN Associate Membership and to Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene as a renewed WECAN Full Member. IRSQ, Institut Rudolf Steiner Québec, was affirmed as a WECAN Association Member Institute. Our site visitor was impressed with the quality of education she witnessed at each of these institutes.
We continue to hone our joint site visit process with AWSNA, as we work together to visit the Full Member Institutes.

In September, we began our monthly Teacher Training Institutes Zoom calls, with updates from the institutes and a meeting with Rev. Patrick Kennedy. I look forward to the rich discussions that will happen at these monthly Zoom calls. In this mutually supportive environment, goodwill thrives.

The Teacher Education Committee will be meeting regularly, taking up questions about institute membership processes. Updates to the Teacher Education Handbook are now complete and a document review is underway as we strive to align our documents with our new Teacher Education Shared Principles.

I am full of gratitude and admiration for the creativity and perseverance of our Member Institute early childhood teacher educators. They have risen to the challenge of many obstacles over the past few years to give their students the best possible training they can provide. 
From the Membership Office
Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator
WECAN currently has 189 active member and affiliate schools, early childhood centers, and home programs! Of those, 132 are Full Members, 35 are Associate Members, and 22 are Registered Initiative Affiliates in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and on Tribal Lands. 

The WECAN Path to Membership is a process of self-study and peer review that is intended to help programs better recognize their strengths and areas of growth, and guide them in their future development. The membership office is currently preparing to support 41 member programs in completing their membership renewal processes this school year, and 5 prospective members in obtaining membership for the first time. We look forward to reading about all of these programs in their Self-Studies and Site Visit Reports later in the school year.

Regional Reps: Who are they and what do they do? 

The WECAN Board has invited experienced Waldorf early childhood educators and caregivers in each region to act as WECAN regional representatives. Regional reps are our on-the-ground connection to each region, and their collaborative efforts strengthen the movement. In some regions, there are teams of WECAN reps. We currently have 20 reps serving 15 regions and sub-regions. For a full list of current reps, see the Contact Us Page of the WECAN website. 
The primary responsibilities of the WECAN reps in relation to member programs are listed below. Each volunteer rep works to meet the following responsibilities in the manner that best supports the needs of their particular region or sub-region. 
  • Introduce new initiatives to WECAN and invite them into colleagueship within the region.
  • Assist programs with the membership path, including reviewing self-studies and site visit reports, and making recommendations to the WECAN membership committee regarding applications for membership and membership renewals.
  • Facilitate collaboration within the region, including initiating regional gatherings of early childhood colleagues.
  • Share regional trends with the WECAN Board.

While Regional Reps do not solve problems for member programs or get involved in their decision-making, they may be able to provide a listening ear for members to discuss activities and issues of concern. Feel free to contact your rep if you have questions, would like to support the planning of a regional gathering, or want to discuss regional issues. 

And finally, special thanks to Kim Raymond who stepped back from her role as a regional rep in the Hawaii region this summer after many years of service. We are so grateful to Kim for her support of the region and wish her much joy as she experiences a little more free time! We also send Kim our best as a resident of Maui, where recovery from the devastating fires last month is ongoing.
We’re happy to announce that Allyson Anthony will be stepping in as our new rep in Hawaii this year. Allyson completed her Waldorf Teacher training at Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene and taught at Eugene Waldorf School for 10 years before moving to Hawaii in 2011. She’s been teaching at Mālamalama Waldorf School on the big island ever since. Please join us in welcoming Allyson as a rep! 
Update on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Activity
Lynn Turner and Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton, IDEA Coordinators

What is new this year is our IDEA Advisory Circle which includes Hellene Brodsky, Amber Chavez, Andrea Daney, Chinyelu Kunz, Laura Mason, Melissa McPartland, Aimee de Ney, Otistokwi:yo, and Kate May Price.  A focus on our continued inner striving and deepening within inclusion, diversity, equity, and access will center the ongoing questions regarding relationships. 
How do we create space for a more kind and just society that nurtures a sense of communal belonging, kinship, and individual respect and dignity? How are we working in “right” relationships with ourselves, each other, the lands, and all children and their families? What exactly does “right relationship” mean? How can we sense and know when our relationships are unbalanced and/or causing harm and pain? We know we must cultivate mindful attention, curiosity, and warmth of heart to penetrate our words, thoughts, and deeds.

New Digital Media Working Group
Susan Howard

The impact of digital media on the lives of children, families, and teachers is growing. How do we as educators talk with parents about this? How can we support children’s well-being in the digital age? 
WECAN has formed a Digital Media Group - Lisa Pitillo Bechmann, Tammy Caldwell, Janene Ping, and Susan Howard – to explore how WECAN can raise consciousness and offer resources and support to educators and parents around issues of screen time, big tech, and artificial intelligence. Group members are participating in the Early Childhood Work Group of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, gathering research on the effects of media on young children and Waldorf school media policies, and exploring whether a WECAN Statement on Media would be helpful. 
You will be hearing from us soon! If you have suggestions or are interested in engaging in this important work, please let us know!
February 9-11, 2024, Spring Valley, NY, In Person
Online conference begins February 23, 2024
Creating Spaces for the Children Coming Toward Us ~ Awakening Our Fire

Our speakers will include Otsistohkwy:io and Wahsonti:io from Skaronhyase’kó:was, the Everlasting Tree School in Ontario, and Heather Church from New Adult Learning (NAL). NAL colleagues have supported the Everlasting Tree community in going through a process that many schools are longing for and have not been able to find. Join us to learn and engage in processes that can breathe new life into Waldorf education for the children coming towards us.

More details to come soon on the WECAN website and Community Hub!
Other Upcoming Conferences and Events

Visit our News and Events page for more listings.
WECAN Southern California Regional Gathering
with Anna Rainville
October 21, 2023
In person at the Waldorf School of Orange County, CA.
Click here for more information.
Please RSVP by 10/10/23 @ wecan.heike@gmail.com
WECAN/BACWTT Northern California and Nevada Regional Conference for Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers
with Nancy Blanning
November 10 & 11, 2023, Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, San Rafael, CA.
Click here for more information.
WECAN Birth to Three Conference
November 10-11, 2023
In person at Sophia’s Hearth, Keene, NH. 
Discounts for WECAN Members.
Click here to register and for more information.
For further information contact Katherine Scharff at katherine@sophiashearth.org.
WECAN Pacific Northwest Early Childhood Educators Conference
February 16 - 18, 2024
In person at the Cedarwood Waldorf School, Portland, Oregon.
More details to come via the WECAN News and Events page.
WECAN/AWSNA Southeast Regional Conference
with Laurie Clark
March 22 - 23, 2024
In person at the Waldorf School of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Click here for more information.
with Adam Blanning
October 25, 2023 at 2:30 pm HT, 5:30 pm PT, 6:30 pm MT, 7:30 pm CT, 8:30 pm ET
For more information and to register click here.
with Adam Blanning, MD, and Nancy Blanning
January 17, 2024 at 3:30 pm HT, 5:30 pm PT, 6:30 pm MT, 7:30 pm CT, 8:30 pm ET
For more information and to register click here.
with Jane Swain
March 6, 2024 at 3:30 pm HT, 5:30 pm PT, 6:30 pm MT, 7:30 pm CT, 8:30 pm ET
For more information and to register click here.
with Keelah Helwig
April 3, 2024 at 2:30 pm HT, 5:30 pm PT, 6:30 pm MT, 7:30 pm CT, 8:30 pm ET
For more information and to register click here.
October 18, 2023 from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm ET
Click here for more information.
Suggested donation $5-100
To register contact lturner@waldorfearlychildhood.org
January, 24, 2024 from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm ET
Click here for more information.
Suggested donation $5-100
To register contact lturner@waldorfearlychildhood.org
May 8, 2024, from 7:00–8:30 pm ET 
Click here for more information.
Suggested donation $5-100
To register contact lturner@waldorfearlychildhood.org
Raising Sound Sleepers
By Dr. Adam Blanning

In Raising Sound Sleepers, Dr. Adam Blanning offers observations, research, insight, and practical advice for helping children from infants to teenagers learn skills and habits to assist healthy sleep. The discussion ranges from how parents can avoid bedtime meltdowns to the simple, natural steps caregivers can take to help children feel calm and to encourage them to fall asleep more consistently. Detailed insights will help parents and caregivers to support children in using an anthroposophic understanding of the senses—from taste, smell, and touch to balance and movement—to self-soothe, sleep, and ultimately build resilience for life. 

 $19 Order Now
Covid-19 Pandemic: Responses and Consequences in Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens and Early Childhood Settings
By Dr. Niel Boland

This report on a study commissioned by the International Association of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) summarizes the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on those who work in Waldorf early childhood education around the world. It raises questions about well-being, resilience, relationships, and modified practice. We hope it will provide valuable material for study, both individually and in groups
$12 Order Now
Toward a Kinder, More Compassionate Society: Working Together Toward Change
Edited by Susan Howard

This collection of keynote presentations by Meggan Gill, Keelah Helwig, and Joaquin Muñoz, as well as a wide variety of workshop summaries from the February 2022 online WECAN conference, is a timely and stimulating resource for working on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in Waldorf early childhood programs and schools.

$19 Order Now
Walking with Our Children
By Nancy Blanning

Walking with Our Children compiles seven years of essays on parenting wisdom by early childhood educator Nancy Blanning. In this series of simply stated articles, she offers practical and enjoyable ways to approach parenthood with courage and a sense of freedom. The author’s insights, built on experiences with her students, children, and grandchildren, offer profound reassurance. If we seek out moments to step aside and guide, rather than lead, we can rediscover joy in parenting and reclaim the beauty of the journey for ourselves and our children. Beautifully illustrated by Sheila Harrington.

Transitions in Childhood from Birth to 14 Years
The Pedagogical Section and IASWECE

Transitions in Childhood from Birth to 14 Years collects lectures given in 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. The conference was organized by the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum and IASWECE (the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education). A main intention was to work together on current educational questions and thus deepen our understanding of child and human development.

$15 Order Now
Join WECAN by becoming an Individual Member!

Membership benefits include:
  • A subscription to the Gateways Journal (includes the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 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