Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education:
WECAN Expectations

For Educators Working with Children Ages Birth to Three

Lead Educators and Caregivers
For early childhood educators responsible for the care and education of the child from birth to three, completion of a Waldorf birth to three teacher education program recognized by WECAN is expected.

This is the expectation for lead early childhood educators working with children from birth to three, including childcare providers in center or home-based care, childcare supervisors/directors and educators who facilitate parent-child classes or classes for expectant parents.

Recognized Waldorf early childhood birth to three teacher education programs offer a minimum of 300 class contact hours, plus mentored teaching and extensive practicum or internship experiences. This coursework can be in a WECAN recognized birth to three training program or can be part of a birth to seven training if it contains sufficient birth to three coursework. The Shared Principles for Early Childhood Teacher Education describe the course content, fieldwork component and curriculum guidelines for recognized Waldorf early childhood teacher education programs.

Assistants and Support Caregivers
For beginning caregivers working with a trained lead educator in any of the above-listed classes or programs, introductory coursework of at least one week (or its equivalent) and two weeks of observation in Waldorf birth to three early childhood education is expected. This would be followed by a minimum of one year of mentoring in their place of employment. For those who intend to continue in this position, further coursework and a full WECAN-recognized birth to three training is expected.

Ongoing yearly participation for at least one week in early childhood mentoring, evaluation, conferences, deepening courses, and workshops is an essential part of the continuing professional development for both lead and assistant Waldorf birth to three educators.

Note: Early childhood educators already trained in birth to seven who take responsibility for a Waldorf program serving children from birth to three are expected to complete a WECAN recognized birth to three training or its equivalent.

Early childhood educators who have completed a birth to three training who take responsibility for a program serving children from three to seven are expected to complete a WECAN recognized birth to seven training or its equivalent.

For Educators Working with Children Ages Three to Seven

Lead Educators and Caregivers
For early childhood educators who carry responsibility for the care and education of the child from three to school entrance, completion of a Waldorf birth to seven early childhood teacher education program recognized by WECAN is expected.

This is the expectation for lead early childhood educators working with children from three to seven, including nursery, pre-school and kindergarten teachers and lead extended care providers in Waldorf schools, home programs and other early childhood settings.

Recognized Waldorf birth to seven early childhood teacher education programs offer a minimum of 450 class contact hours, plus mentored teaching or extensive practicum or internship experiences. The Shared Principles for Early Childhood Teacher Education describe the course content, fieldwork component and curriculum guidelines for recognized Waldorf early childhood teacher education programs.

Assistants and Support Caregivers
For assistant teachers, in the above programs, introductory coursework of at least one week (or its equivalent) in Waldorf birth to seven early childhood education is expected. For those who intend to continue in this position, further coursework is expected, and a full WECAN-recognized birth to seven training is recommended.

Ongoing yearly participation for at least one week in early childhood mentoring, evaluation, conferences, deepening courses, and workshops is an essential part of the continuing professional development for both lead and assistant Waldorf early childhood educators.

This expectation is consistent with the guidelines of the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (see www.iaswece.org).

Note: Early childhood educators already trained in birth to seven who take responsibility for a Waldorf program serving children from birth to three are expected to complete a WECAN recognized birth to three training or its equivalent.

Early childhood educators who have completed a birth to three training who take responsibility for a program serving children from three to seven are expected to complete a WECAN recognized birth to seven training or its equivalent.

For a copy of the WECAN Statement on Waldorf Early Childhood Education, Teacher Education and Credential Recognition click here.

For further information on teacher education, please contact the WECAN Teacher Education Coordinator, Ruth Ker, at teachered@waldorfearlychildhood.org. For questions about how teacher education expectations relate to the membership process for early childhood programs and schools, please contact the WECAN Membership Coordinator at membership@waldorfearlychildhood.org.


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