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.

New Cohort starting in Summer 2024

Saturday, June 29 - Friday, July 5 (6 days)

Monday, July 8 - Saturday, July 13 (6 days) in Bellingham, WA at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School.

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.

Early Childhood and Grades Teacher Training

OPEN HOUSE - May 18 at 1:00pm

and May 23 at 6:00pm PST

Program Overview

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.

List of Early Childhood Teacher Education Program Courses

IAT. Introduction to Anthroposophical Thought

IAT 1. Rudolf Steiner's Understanding of the Human Being and Evolution of Consciousness

IAT 2. Consciousness and the Philosophy of Freedom

IAT 3. The Foundations of Human Experience

IAT 4. The Cycle of the Year and Seasonal Festivals

IAT 5. Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner

IAT 6. The Twelve Senses in Waldorf Education

IAT 7. New Student Orientation

CHD. Child and Human Development

CHD 1. Milestones in Human Development - Birth to 21

CHD 2. Understanding the Transformation of Life and Growth Forces

CHD 3. Child Observation

CHD 4. Sensory Development and the Foundational Senses in the First Seven Years

CHD 5. Overview of Grades Curriculum

CHD 6. The Unique Needs of the Very Young Child from Birth to Three

CHD 7. Creating a Nurturing Space for Young Children

CHD 8. Learning through Imitation

CHD 9. Mood of the 5th Music

CHD 10. Therapeutic Awareness and Approaches

CHD 11. Responsible Innovation

PPEC. Practices and Principles for Early Childhood

PPEC 1. Use of Stories and Fairy Tales in Waldorf EC Education

PPEC 2. Puppetry, Puppet-making and Performing with Puppets

PPEC 3. Principles and Practice of EC Circles

PPEC 4. Mood of the 5th Singing and Lyre

PPEC 5. Incarnational Support Activities and First Grade Readiness Assessment

PPEC 6. Crafts and Handwork in Parent/Child, Nursery, Mixed-age Kindergarten

PPEC 7. Supporting Children's Creative Play and Purposeful Work

PPEC 8. Community Building in Early Childhood

PSD. Professional & Social Development

PSD 1. Group Singing

PSD 2. Working with Parents I, II and III

PSD 3. Working with Colleagues

PSD 4. Social Dynamics of a Waldorf School

PSD 5. Cultural Consciousness and Social Justice in Waldorf Education

PSD 6. Professional Check-in and Peer Mentoring Conversations

SD. Self Development

SD 1. Inner Work Practices

SD 2. Working with Biographical Questions

SD 3. Developing Capacities for Imagination, Inspiration and intuition

A. Arts

A 1. Eurythmy

A 2. Spacial Dynamics

A 3. Speech and Storytelling

A 4. Visual Arts

A 5. Exploring Creativity through Improvisational Theater Games

Program Faculty

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 $16,275 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: Tuition for the 2024-2025 Cohort.

Period A June 2024 - August 2024 $3625 1 or 3 payments

Period B Sept 2024 - August 2025 $6140 1 or 10 payments

Period C Sept 2025 - August 2026 $6510 1 or 10 payments

Additional Costs:


Travel and housing for out-of-town students

Mentor support: housing and meals

Program Structure

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 Summer 2024

Application deadline is May 15th.

Now taking applications for EC 2024-2025 school year