Winter News Update 2024

Dear colleagues and friends,

Winter has finally arrived, and there is finally some snow in certain regions around North America! The children will be thrilled. The February conference is just around the corner in Spring Valley, less than a month away, and much to everyone's surprise, it sold out early this year. We look forward to seeing you at the conference or online (there are still spaces available).

Enjoy the latest news, updates, and previews in the winter newsletter, including our Annual Report.

Warm winter wishes to all.

Heather Church, WECAN Co-Director


Louise deForest, WECAN Board Chair

The WECAN Board continues its commitment to review and revise our documents in the light of diversity, equity, and inclusion. At the October Board meeting, we spent some time defining Mission Statements, Vision Statements, and Value Statements, knowing that these are living documents and will need to be constantly revised. Small groups were formed to word these statements and bring them to our Spring Board meeting.

Click here for the full article.


2022-23 was an active year for WECAN. Highlights include our DEIJ Self-Audit process with Alma Partners, research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, new publications, conferences, professional development opportunities, a re-design of our WECAN online store, new resources on our website, support for international activities, and developments in our teacher education, birth to three, and membership activity.

Please share this Annual Report with board members, colleagues, and parents interested in learning more about WECAN as an organization.

Click here to view our Annual Report.


Nancy Blanning, Gateways Editor


Gateways, the WECAN journal, invites submissions for the Spring 2024 issue. Please share small vignettes to expand our collective body of:

  • little stories, movement vignettes, and hand gesture games to be used at transition or circle

times, settling for circle or mealtimes

  • healing stories
  • obstacle course ideas for inside and outside
  • simple ring games to harmonize and socialize our groups
  • circle ideas that integrate verses and rhymes with interesting sounds to stimulate listening and speech development.

Contributions will be accepted up until January 31, 2024. If material comes from a published source, please cite the source so that the authorship can be acknowledged. Send your contribution to gatewayscollection@gmail.com.

Thank you! 


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator

Many thanks to our organizational members for your continued collaboration with the association by attending and hosting regional gatherings, sharing WECAN information with your community, attending webinar events and conferences, purchasing WECAN books, participating in WECAN self-study and peer review through your membership processes, and more. WECAN is grateful for your continued engagement!

Several schools, centers, and home programs are engaged in self-study and peer review as part of their membership application or renewal processes this school year. We have the following membership activity to announce: 

  • Shining Star Waldorf School in Portland, Oregon, is a new Associate Member with two mixed-age kindergartens, one of which is an outdoor forest program. Please join us in welcoming them as new members of WECAN. I invite you to look at the Shining Star Waldorf School Website to learn more about our newest WECAN Member. 
  • Waldorf School of Cape Cod in Sandwich, Massachusetts, completed its Full Member renewal process this fall. 
  • Madison Waldorf School in Madison, Wisconsin, completed its Associate Member renewal this winter.

Congratulations to both schools! I anticipate a flurry of activity this winter and spring as programs complete their processes, and look forward to announcing more new members and renewals this spring.

Madison Waldorf School in Madison, WI


Lynn Turner and Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Coordinators

Warm Winter Greetings, WECAN Community!

We hope you have had a restorative winter break and are invigorated by the fresh start, filled with many new beginnings as we move into the new year. Days will get longer, and the light will grow daily as we move forward to spring. January marks the time for inner reflection and celebrating the warmth of the heart. Now at the midpoint of the school year, may we continue to move with purposeful intention filled with courage, joy, and love, stepping forward to greet new experiences and meet challenges with strength. 


We have developed a new set of recommended training guidelines for the WECAN Board, Membership Committee, and Teacher Education Committee to support WECAN’s commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. These recommendations, created with the support of our I.D.E.A. Advisory Circle Members, are intended to help colleagues further understand the depth and breadth of I.D.E.A.

Click here for the full article.


Heather Church, Magdalena Toran, and Anjum Mir

The Birth to Three Working Group is looking forward to the activity awaiting us in 2024. 


Parent Evening Series

2024 began with the third of our Parent Evening Series on Parenting in an Anxious World with Dr. Adam Blanning and Nancy Blanning. This will be followed by gatherings with Jane Swain and Keelah Helwig on movement in the first seven years and charting a path to support Racial Identity Development and its unfolding, respectively.

These evenings are offered to support educators and parents together in deepening an understanding of the needs and experiences of children in our time.

(Please note that Keelah’s talk will be a live offering only and will not be recorded. Save the date!)


CARE 1 Conference and Future Conference Planning

The Medical and Pedagogical Sections will host The Dignity of the Child International Conference for Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Childhood on May 29 – June 1, 2024, at the Goetheanum in Switzerland on the theme of Life Forces.  Midwives, gynecologists, pediatricians, general practitioners, nurses, 0-3 educators and caregivers, physical therapists, and all other specialists and interested people in the field of early childhood education are warmly invited to attend.

Click here to read the full report.


Ruth Ker, Teacher Education Coordinator

Many of our institutes are well into the year with new cohorts and are facing the question being considered worldwide, “how do we educate our modern colleagues?” Our EC institute leaders around the world are reflecting on how the modern educator has to be willing to develop relationships based on humility and interest in the other while still developing within oneself. Conversations with IASWECE Teacher Training colleagues and the International Teacher Education Project (ITEP) group composed of early childhood and grade school training colleagues worldwide have been very fruitful and are discussed at meetings among trainers in North American institutes. 

Congratulations to WISC (the Waldorf Institute of Southern California) for their renewal of WECAN Associate membership while they are having a year of study and consolidation. WISC is intending to resume its programming in 2025. And congratulations to RSCC (Rudolf Steiner College, Canada) as a renewed WECAN Full Member institute.

Click here to read the full report.



Creating Spaces for the Children Coming Toward Us, Awakening Our Fire

Although our in-person conference is now fully enrolled, there is still time to sign up for the online conference! The online conference includes recordings of keynotes and workshops, available from February 23 - April 30, and live online sessions in March.

Click here for details about the keynotes, workshops, and live online sessions.

We would like to offer special thanks to our VIP Sponsors: LifeWays, Mercurius, Sophia's Hearth, Sunbridge Institute, and Waldorf Publications, for their generous support of the conference!

WECAN Zoom Parent Evening


with Jane Swain

March 6, 2024 at 3:30 pm HT, 5:30 pm PT, 6:30 pm MT, 7:30 pm CT, 8:30 pm ET Online

Click here for more information.



Gnomes and Giants, Pixies and Elves

By Wilma Ellersiek

With these delightful hand gestures and movement games, Wilma Ellersiek invites children into a world inhabited by beings large and small, where the elements of air, water, earth and fire interweave. As we share in their lively movements we are refreshed and enlivened ourselves. This is the English translation of Wilma Ellersiek’s last gesture games book.

$25 Order Now


Speech Development in the Digital Age

a new translation in the Right to Childhood series

by Rainer Patzlaff

In Speech Development in the Digital Age, an expanded and updated version of Childhood Falls Silent, Rainer Patzlaff reports on the decline of speech and language development and the escalation of speech disorders over the last several decades, offering thoughtful perspectives on how we as parents and caregivers can reduce the influences of our digital devices and awaken our children to the treasures of the spoken word.

Translated from the German by Margot Saar

Raising Sound Sleepers - Helping Children Use their Senses to Rest and Self-Soothe

By Dr. Adam Blanning

In Raising Sound Sleepers, Dr. Adam Blanning offers observations, research, insight, and practical advice for helping children from infants to teenagers learn skills and habits to assist healthy sleep. The discussion ranges from how parents can avoid bedtime meltdowns to the simple, natural steps caregivers can take to help children feel calm and to encourage them to fall asleep more consistently. Detailed insights will help parents and caregivers support children through an anthroposophic understanding of the senses—from taste, smell, and touch to balance and movement—to help them self-soothe, sleep, and ultimately build resilience for life.

$19. Order Now

The Seven Life Processes - Understanding and Supporting Them in Home, Kindergarten, and School

Authors: Philipp Gelitz and Almuth Strehlow, translated by Nina Kuettel

Seven life processes quietly hum beneath the multifaceted activities of human growth and development. For children, in whom the physical organ systems only gradually begin to function well together, development of these life processes is of decisive importance. They form the basis for healthy development and age-appropriate learning. An in-depth discussion of basic physiological processes, showing how they develop and transform within the child, giving important educational considerations for caregivers, teachers, and parents.

$22. Order Now

The On the Play of the Child, Second Edition

Editor: Freya Jaffke

This new edition combines two resources that came into being just before and after the international gathering of Waldorf early childhood educators in Dornach, Switzerland, in 2005. In On the Play of the Child, Freya Jaffke compiled statements about play and related topics to serve as study material for the conference. Playing, Learning, Meeting the Other collects five lectures given at the 2005 world conference on the themes of play, development, learning, and the all-important encounter with the other. Together, they provide important insights that can inspire and inform our work with young children.

$14. Order Now

Please, Can We Play Games? Joyful Interactions with Young Children

By Ruth Ker

Children explore and relate to their world through play, and something magical happens when it’s time for games and a caring adult dons the cloak of playful lightheartedness. Please, Can We Play Games? shares the author’s forty years of creating, collecting, and playing traditional and original verses, songs, and games for early childhood circle time or home play. As you make your way through the pages of this book, may you enjoy your own personal harvest of food for the young child’s body, soul, and spirit. Perhaps for you, too!

$25. Order Now


Your contribution will help us support our members with additional resources, more ways to connect with colleagues, and inspiration for their ongoing professional development. Your support will also help us collaborate with other organizations to keep a light shining on the ever more critical and precious treasure of the first seven years and protect the young child’s joyful devotion to everyday life and unmitigated hope for the future.

We are grateful for any contribution you are able to make!

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Membership benefits include:

  • A subscription to the Gateways Journal (includes the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 issues)
  • WECAN News Updates
  • A 10% discount on WECAN book sales
  • Discounts on registration fees at WECAN conferences
  • Regular email messages that include reports on activities, conferences, and events of both WECAN and IASWECE (the International Association of Waldorf/Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education).

Click here for more information.

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