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The mission of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America is to foster a new cultural impulse for the work with the young child from pre-birth to age seven. WECAN is committed to nurturing childhood as a foundation for renewing human culture.

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WECAN 2021 Early Childhood Educators Conference

TOWARD A KINDER, MORE COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY:
Black Lives Matter in Waldorf Early Childhood Classrooms and Communities
Keynote Speaker Laleña Garcia

February 5-7, 2021

This conference is open to those working in Steiner/ Waldorf Early Childhood programs in North America and IASWECE Member countries.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Please note there will be no refunds for cancellations
Conferenece Registration closes on January 29th, 2021 or earlier if we sell out.

Conference fees:
$150 - Non-WECAN-Affiliated Participant
$130 - WECAN Organizational Member (Participants who work in WECAN member schools and institutes and students currently enrolled in WECAN Member Institutes) 
$100 - WECAN individual member

Be sure your Individual Membership is up-to-date to benefit from the significant conference fee discount. Click here for more information.

We are very excited to be combining the WECAN East Coast and Northwest conferences into one virtual event! This online approach will allow Waldorf early childhood educators from throughout North America and beyond to come together.

This upcoming February WECAN Conference is unique in many ways. Our annual conferences on the East Coast and in the Northwest have joined forces and our expanded conference planning group has worked hard to prepare a dynamic conference during this uniquely challenging year. The conference will be held virtually, and our community of participants will grow as Waldorf early childhood educators and colleagues from throughout North America and around the world come together.

This year, the WECAN Board and many of our members are actively engaged in a wide range of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access activities and study, and we have chosen to make this work the focus of the conference. Our conference theme is Toward a Kinder, More Compassionate Society: Black Lives Matter in Waldorf Early Childhood Classrooms and Communities.

We have invited Laleña Garcia to be our keynote speaker. Laleña is a graduate of Yale University and Bank Street College of Education and has worked for twenty years as a teacher of 3- to 6-year-olds. She currently teaches kindergarten at a progressive independent school in Manhattan and also helps teachers to gain confidence in talking to young children about expansive approaches to gender, family structure and relationships. Laleña will speak on Saturday and Sunday.

We are centering our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Waldorf early childhood colleagues at this conference. Sondi Eugene from the Waldorf School of Atlanta, Meggan Gill from the City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis, MN, Bessie P. Jones from Sow Well Tots in Bernardston, MA, and Leimomi Apoliona-Brown and Teresa Price from Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten in Silver Spring, MD will open the conference by sharing their experiences as BIPOC Waldorf early childhood educators, in a session called “Liberating the Black Crayon”.

On Saturday, Keelah Helwig, WECAN Board Member from the Waldorf School of Garden City, Long Island, NY, and Juliana Pinto McKeen of Honeybirds Playschool in Brooklyn, NY, will participate in an interview/conversation with Laleña Garcia after her keynote.

Three kinds of workshops will take place on Saturday:

  • Collaborative sharing workshops, where co-facilitators will openly share the work they have undertaken together toward undoing implicit bias and expanding the paradigm for a more diverse world in their early childhood settings and personal lives. They will come as they are, bringing their questions and experiences. Participants are invited to do the same.
  • Affinity Groups for deepening the content, geared towards providing safe space for participants to gather after the keynote lectures, recognizing that the content covered in the conference can challenge participants in ways that might do well with extra support. These workshops will be offered either as BIPOC Affinity Spaces or as White Affinity Spaces for authentic sharing and listening while reducing the chances of unintended harm.
  • A wide array of artistic, practical, and/or nourishing workshops on a wide array of themes, led by experienced Waldorf/anthroposophical educators, artists, doctors, counselors, therapists, health practitioners, parents, authors and adult educators.

Keynote lectures, panels and some workshops will be recorded for the purposes of providing access to participants in a variety of international time zones. Keynote lectures and panel recordings will be recorded in webinar format. Workshops which will be recorded are clearly indicated before the workshop description. These workshops will be recorded in live group format. If you do not wish to be recorded, please be sure to choose a non-recorded workshop. Keynotes, panels, and the workshop for which you registered (if it is recorded) will be made available for a short time after the conference is completed.

On Sunday there will be a closing panel, ‘Sounding Notes from the Conference’, with Nancy Blanning, WECAN Board Member from the Denver Waldorf School and Sunbridge Institute, Jessica Oswald from the Green Meadow School in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and Magdalena Toran, WECAN Board Member from the Hartsbrook School in Hadley, MA.

The conference will also include mixed media puppetry by Aimee DeNey from Bird Song Children’s Garden in Olympia, WA, a movement performance by Oxana Chi from New York, and a virtual Exhibitor Hall where you can visit our sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors, including WECAN Books. Many items will be on sale, some with special conference discounts.

Rudolf Steiner exhorted us as Waldorf educators to “strengthen our capacity for imagination, have courage for the truth, and sharpen our sense of responsibility of soul.” This conference will launch us into a challenging individual and collective exploration of our work, our underlying assumptions, deeply held ideals, and ways of being with children and with others. Together we will form a “Brave Space” and participate in what we hope will be a deepening and an expansion of our work. We also anticipate that this conference will not be a single event, but one part of a much larger developmental process. We plan to offer post-conference opportunities to continue this work through courses, zoom conversations, and further study.

For list of workshops click here. To view conference schedule click here.

Please join us!


"Becoming..." Early Childhood Around the World

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Waldorf Education, Waldorf 100 and the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) are pleased to present a film about early childhood today in the mirror of different cultures worldwide.

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