Weekly News from WECAN - June 5, 2020
Dear WECAN Members and Friends,
 
Greetings! This is our fifth issue of the new  Weekly News from WECAN  that we send out each Friday. The Weekly News includes a variety of resources and listings of opportunities for collaboration during these challenging times.

Please visit the  WECAN Community Hub for engaging in conversation and sharing resources, with subgroups for Parent Child, Birth to Three, Home Programs, Early Childhood Teacher Educators, California Programs, Great Lakes-Ontario, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast Regions. There is also a closed group for WECAN Organizational Members. We now have more than 780 members and would like to invite you to join as well.  To subscribe, please go to   WECANCommunity+subscribe@wecan.groups.io .

We are also offering a variety of  zoom calls for early childhood educators.  Some calls take place on a weekly basis and others are scheduled as needed. We also list other webinars and events that might be of special interest to you. Please see the listings below for the coming week.

The Weekly News also includes thoughts to ponder . This week we share thoughts on cultivating a healing mood for ourselves and our children from Holly Koteen-Soule and the newly formed WECAN Early Childhood Research Group, In the Resources section,you can find offerings from members of the group as well as a statement from WECAN on the current situation.

In our Looking Ahead - Reopening section , you can find a short report from Janni Nicol, who will be a presenter on our Wednesday Zoom Call this coming week. She and Sam Greshoff, early years coordinator and part of the Executive Group of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship with and overview of Birth-7 Education and Care, will describe what the Steiner Waldorf early years teachers in the UK are learning as they reopen. 

We are so grateful to so many of you who have offered such generous gifts of support for our work during our Sprin g Appeal! Thank you!

We also pleased to welcome more than twenty participants in our WECAN Community Groups io. who have joined WECAN this past week as new Individual WECAN Members for the upcoming school year. New Members receive copies of our spring Gateways newsletters in addition to other membership benefits. See link below. We are also grateful to those of you who are existing members and have renewed your Individual Membership early for the coming year. Our activity in association with one another during these challenging times is growing day by day, and we are so grateful for the many ways in which you contribute to this work!

And finally: Our Spring Book Sale ends today ! W e were delighted to add a new book by Helle Heckmann, Five Golden Keys, just a few days before her zoom talk last weekend, which will continue this Sunday, listed below.


With warm wishes,
Susan Howard
WECAN Coordinator  
 
A Healing Mood for Us All

A WECAN Early Childhood Research Group has formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic with the goal of serving as an organ that can observe and help distill what early childhood educators are learning as we try to navigate the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves. Members of the group include Stephanie Hoelscher, Rihana Rutledge, Rachel Turner, Nancy Blanning, Laurie Clark and Holly Koteen-Soule.

In our recent conversation, we recognized that as the crisis continues and schools began to plan for a likely resurgence in the late fall or winter, we are all - children, parents and teachers - suffering to some degree from the effects of the ongoing uncertainty in our lives. We naturally began to focus on how to support the children and their families in their healing and quickly realized that we also need to check in with ourselves. We realized that we need to acknowledge the spectrum of feelings that we have experienced and to rebuild our inner forces, in order to be able to be fully present for the children and their families when we meet them again in the fall.

The situation that we are facing now and will be facing in the coming school year is full of challenges. Some of them are technical and logistical, while others are questions of priorities, values and integrity. How much can we stretch ourselves? How much should we stretch ourselves?

One of the members of our research group characterized the situation as a “Yes, and…” situation. Yes, this is incredibly difficult , AND we need to find a way to find our serenity in the storm. Accepting where we are, what is happening and affirming our capacity to be present, even in discomfort and danger, is strengthening. Acknowledging this is a good place to start healing.

Healing comes from many sources. We are all well aware that everything we do in Waldorf early childhood education has a healing element. Our WECAN hub is a rich treasure trove of examples. Our emphasis on predictable rhythms and a breathing balance between polarities can be as helpful to us as it is to the children. Especially potent are the healing images and stories that have been offered. We teachers need these as well.  

If we were to look for a common thread in the conversation, perhaps it is the quest to find a dynamic balancing point between polarities: between stretching and standing firm, between the self and the other, between surrender and action, between past and future, between listening and acting, between knowing and not knowing. We do not know what is coming towards us, but we do know that our inner life is a place where we can build up a sense of certainty and trust. We are grateful our work together and these imaginations and perspectives that can, hopefully, strengthen us for our chosen tasks.

Holly Koteen-Soule, Langley, WA
WECAN Board Member, Sound Circle Teacher Training, and member of the WECAN Early Childhood Research Group
Looking Ahead: Thoughts on Reopening - from our colleagues in the UK

Whitsun Greetings to you all!

This festival seems more meaningful than ever this year, thinking about the sense of connection between human beings around the world whilst maintaining social distancing.  At the same time, we have all been experiencing the same fears, inconvenience and loss whether in the UK, Italy, South Africa or China, and this has brought a sense of togetherness in the midst of the crisis. We acknowledge the fear that some of you are feeling about the return, but to reassure you, the message coming back from countries that have reopened their programs is that the rhythm settles most of the children quickly and they are so pleased to be back with friends they play and play and play. It is the unknown which whips up this fear, so we need equanimity and to trust that all will be well.
Jill Taplin reminds us all that after many weeks away the children returning will not be the same children that we said goodbye to just before lock down. This has become even more evident over the past few weeks. The social aspects of returning are going to be particularly important, especially time, space and resources for play – despite the challenges.

Here are a few thoughts from the recent Zoom conversation with Helle Heckmann and a call with members of the IASWECE Council:
  • We have had to develop a tolerance for uncertainty! 
  • We need to find a space to develop new thoughts, inspirations and insights. 
  • We need to make sure the child can experience the world as a good and beautiful place. 
  • We have to differentiate the adults’ fear from that we assume the child has – are we fearful, or cautious - the child will only be afraid if we give them a reason to. 
  • Positivity – this is so important at the moment, and common sense!  
  • We have to face our fears and to do that, we should turn it around – how do I work with trust so that I am capable of overcoming or approaching my fears in a positive way?

We need to be balanced and calm for the children, and for the parents, but to be honest – we can only make our environment as safe as we can, and we know you will do your best to make the space for the children the best that it can be – filled with HOPE and JOY!

Janni Nicol, Early Years Coordinator, Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and member of the IASWECE Council


Join WECAN as an Individual Member! Click here for more information.


Resources from WECAN and the Community Hub

Please also visit the Community Hub to join the conversations about speaking with young children about race and to find and share resources on undoing racism in ourselves, in work with children and in our Waldorf communities. For resources, look for the Files section f on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access.

New Resources to Support Early Childhood Educators
Here are the first three articles in a series from the WECAN Early Childhood Research Group:
            
Job Postings
Please check the Community Hub Files for a growing number of Job Postings - you are welcome to post position openings there or send them to us to post.
New from WECAN Books

Five Golden Keys - 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, founder and director of Nøkken Kindergarten in Denmark, has worked with parents and children in over 50 countries.  

BOOK SALE ENDS TODAY!
Click Here for store website. Use discount code SPRING2020

Click Here for Updated information on Summer 2020
Teacher Education, Courses, and Workshops
for Waldorf Early Childhood Educators


Upcoming Zoom Calls and Events
 
TODAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 3

Great Lakes Region I  - Ontario and Northern New York
Hosted by WECAN
With Laurie Harper Burgess and Heather Church, WECAN Great Lakes/Ontario Sub-Regional Reps
Weekly at 1 pm ET
Meeting ID: 893 0974 2662
Password: GreatLakes

Questions and ideas around school reopening in California
Hosted by WECAN
With Stephen Spitalny
4 pm PT
Meeting ID: 871 1514 1558
Password: 046000

SUNDAY, JUNE 7

I n The Company of Black Women: A conversation about Race and the Young Child on Instagram Live
Hosted by So Well Tots
with Bessie Jones and Mikaela Simms
9 am HT, 12 pm PT, 1 pm MT, 2 pm CT, 3 pm ET
SowWellTots on Instagram  - see the Community Hub for further information.


MONDAY, JUNE 8

Massachusetts Waldorf Parent Child Educators Regional Meeting
Sharing possibilities for reopening in the Fall in Parent Child Classes, following Massachusetts
CDC Guidelines.
Hosted by Kirsten Carr
2 pm ET
Meeting ID: 948 0127 3024
Password: 8qJaNT

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10

Reopening – Sharing Recent Experiences of Reopening in the UK
Hosted by WECAN
with Susan Howard, Magdalena Toran, and panelists Janni Nicol and Samantha Greshoff from
the Early Years Group of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK
9 am HT, 12 pm PT, 1 pm MT, 2 pm CT, 3 pm ET
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/2600022348
Meeting ID: 260 002 2348
Password: 20205155

THURSDAY, JUNE 11

WECAN Southeast Region Meeting
with Lisa Bechmann, WECAN Regional Rep
11 am ET
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/3331936471
Meeting ID: 333 193 6471

FRIDAY, JUNE 12

Great Lakes Region I  - Ontario and Northern New York  (Weekly at 1 pm ET)
with Laurie Harper Burgess and Heather Church
1 pm ET
Meeting ID: 893 0974 2662
Password: GreatLakes

LOOKING AHEAD
Links and details for these calls will be posted next week.


SUNDAY, JUNE 14

What Does the Young Child of Today Truly Need?
A Conversation with Helle Heckmann And Stephen Spitalny
8 am PT, 9 am MT, 10 am CT, 11 am ET, 5 pm Denmark
Meeting ID: 860 6018 1272
Password: 8UpZt7

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17th

What Have we Learned? What Do We Leave Behind? What Do We Keep as We Go Forward?
with Susan Howard, Magdalena Toran, Holly Koteen-Soule and members of the WECAN EC Research Group
9 am HI, 12 pm PT, 1 pm MT, 2 pm CT, 3 pm ET