Early Childhood Program
"What matters in a kindergarten is that children should have a harmonious relation to those who are in charge of them and that these people should behave quite naturally, so that the children are naturally led to imitate them."
R. Steiner (from notes by Albert Steffen)
The Task of the Waldorf Early Childhood Educator
Young children before the age of seven live strongly in their surroundings, not only in the outer world, but also in the inner world of the human beings who are a part of their lives. What this requires of Waldorf Early Childhood educators is to become as worthy as possible of imitation and to develop the understanding and sensitivity needed to accompany each child in the journey of coming into the physical body, in achieving the significant developmental milestones of the first seven years, and building a strong foundation for further stages of development.
Our tasks include creating a safe, life-enhancing space in which the child can learn the joy of creative, transformative play, and a warm supportive space for their parents and families. We are building a bridge for the child between home and school.
Rudolf Steiner spoke to the teachers of the first Waldorf school about the importance of goodness, beauty and truth belonging to the first three stages of life, with the feeling that the “world is good” being the most important for the young child. In these times, it is increasingly important that the early childhood educator feels a deep trust in the goodness of life that allows the child to feel affirmed in his or her spiritual intentions and feel invited into the fullness of life on earth.
Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education at Sound Circle
Sound Circle Center's Early Childhood Teacher Education Program is designed for teachers who are already working in an early childhood classroom as a lead teacher, assistant teacher or afternoon teacher and also for students who are not yet working in a classroom and wish to become Waldorf Early Childhood teachers. Sound Circle Center is a Full Member of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) and IASWECE ( International Association of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education).
The SCC Early Childhood Program of 25 months combines foundation studies in Anthroposophy, child and human development, the inner life of the teacher, and practical aspects of Waldorf Early Childhood education. One of the benefits of the SCC program design is that EC students participate with their Grades colleagues in certain courses, (for example, Anthroposophical studies, self-development, and the arts) and at other times work exclusively with their EC cohort in order to focus on specific aspects of early childhood education. In this way, Sound Circle graduates have both a broad view of Waldorf education and a deep understanding of the needs of the young child from birth to seven years of age.
The EC In-service Option is for students already working as assistant teachers, afternoon teachers or lead teachers working in a Waldorf early childhood classroom. The program is comprised of 9 summer intensive weeks over 3 summers and in the intervening two years, in-person seminars in October (4 days) and February (5 days). There are also monthly online group advising sessions. This course represents more than 500 contact hours, with additional hours for interviews, orientation and conference time with mentor teachers. In addition to the course content, the In-service Option requires a minimum of three weeks of observation and practicum during the course of the training (of which at least two weeks must be in classrooms other than the student’s own classroom). In-service students will receive a Mentor Visit in their own classrooms.
The Pre-service Option is designed for students who are not yet working in an early childhood classroom. The structure and course work is the same as for the In-service Program. The main difference between the In-service and Pre-service Programs is that students enrolled in the Pre-service Program are required to complete a minimum of six weeks of observation and practicum with experienced Waldorf early childhood teachers and each student will be visited at least once during one of their Practicums by an institute approved adviser.
Holly Koteen-Soule is the EC Program Director. Somer Serpe is the EC Faculty Assistant. Holly and Somer are the primary instructors for early childhood course work, although most sessions also include guest instructors for artistic work or specific areas of specialization. During the February sessions, EC students will attend some classes with SCC students and Grades Program faculty. During the Summer Intensives students will experience a rich and varied faculty, comprised of SCC Core faculty members and guest instructors. See a full list of Sound Circle Core and Guest faculty HERE.
Tuition for the the twenty-five month program is split into three academic periods: the first summer (Tuition Period A), the first year and second summer (Tuition Period B), and the second year and third summer (Tuition Period C). The tuition for students joining the program for the first time in the summer of 2024 will be $17,500 for Early Childhood. Tuition includes one day of mentoring during each school year. Enrollment agreements must be signed in order for students to participate in coursework.
Tuition assistance loans are available through the Association of Waldorf Schools of North American (AWSNA). Grants are also available from AWSNA for those working in Waldorf accredited schools when the schools provide matching funds. Please see the Financial Aid page for further information on loans and grants.
Tuition Payment Schedule:
Period A June 2023 - August 2023 $3900 1 or 3 payments
Period B Sept 2023 - August 2024 $6600 1 or 10 payments
Period C Sept 2024 - August 2025 $7000 1 or 10 payments
Travel and housing for out-of-town students
Mentor support: housing and meals
First Summer (Tuition Period A)
First Year and Second Summer (Tuition Period B)
Second Year and Third Summer (Tuition Period C)
New Cohort starting in Fall 2023
Application deadline is September 10.