Spring News Update 2024

Dear colleagues and friends,

As spring comes to an end and we enter the summer months, it's time to experience the beauty of the natural world. Some of us will gather to further our training, some may take time to rejuvenate, while others will create beautiful spaces for the children in their care. We hope you'll take a few moments during this transition to catch up on the WECAN community's work.

We wish you a wonderful summer experience!

Heather Church, WECAN Co-Director


Louise deForest, WECAN Board Chair

We had a full and active Board meeting last month in Spring Valley, N.Y., inspired by our study and artistic work with Chapter 5 in How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner. Informed by our conversation with many Regional Representatives before the meeting, we looked at the health of our programs and the children, and discussed how we can continue to offer support to teachers and parents through our webinars, books, and other resources, conferences, and regional gatherings. It was an exciting and fruitful discussion.

Our Spring Board meeting is when we hear from our working groups and committees about their activities over the last year and their intentions for future work. With Lynn Turner (on Zoom) and Leslie WetzonisWoolverton (in person), we celebrated the accomplishments of the past three years of IDEA activity as we complete a three-year grant-funded project to integrate inclusion, diversity, equity, and access into all aspects of WECAN’s organization with Lynn and Leslie as our IDEA Coordinators. With WECAN’S ongoing commitment to this work, we also looked at future needs and activities. The Board and staff honored Lynn and Leslie at a special dinner where we expressed our heartfelt thanks for all they have accomplished during their tenure and we look forward to the next steps in this work.  

Click here for the full article.

From left to right: Louise deForest, Heather Church, Laura Mason, Anjum Mir, Keelah Helwig, Susan Howard, Magdalena Toran, Ruth Ker and Gabriela Nuñez Plata


Nancy Blanning, Gateways Editor


Gateways strives to provide insight and practical suggestions for working with the many urgent questions confronting us in our teaching in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable world. The Spring issue of Gateways, now arriving in WECAN members’ mailboxes focuses on healing. We are increasingly aware that daily life in today’s world presents distressing challenges that our resilience is taxed to balance. The word “healing” is related in its origin to “make whole.” To help the child grow into wholeness is what our education is all about. Articles in the current issue address supporting and healing the sense of well-being. They remind us of the healing qualities of puppetry, practical work, intentional, purposeful movement, and reassuring stories. The relationship of our youngest (birth-to-3) children and their caregivers is also considered.

The regular Gateways section “for the classroom” is intentionally full of stories, movement imaginations, an Ellersiek hand gesture game, and little vignettes to help with transitions.

All of these sharings came from early childhood teachers who generously responded to the call for submissions. Thank you! Every one of us has favorites in each of these categories that are special treasures.

Click here for the full article 


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator

The membership office has been very active with organizational membership applications and renewal processes this year. Self-studies and site visits have revealed a full range of successes and challenges. Many programs are still stabilizing following the pandemic, some have new or expanded outdoor and childcare programs, and most are finding their way into meeting our new Shared Principles. Everyone is clearly working very hard for the sake of young children!


Since my last report, we’ve welcomed Merrohawke Nature School in Boxford, MA, as a Full Member of WECAN. Merrohawke was founded in 2007 and joined WECAN as an Associate Member in 2019. They have a very successful forest kindergarten, homeschool programs for grade school students, and very robust summer camp programs. We’re delighted to welcome them as Full Members! 

Click here for the full article 

Merrohawke Nature School in Boxford, MA


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator

WECAN regional representatives are WECAN’s on-the-ground connection to each region. We thank the 20 reps who have served our programs this year: Heike Adamsberger, Allyson Anthony, Nancy Blanning, Laurie Clark, Beth Daly, Jane Danner, Diane David, Aimee de Ney, Louise deForest, Dagmar Eisele, Betty Jane Enno, Angela Gladstone, Kate Hall-Gauthier, Laurie Harper-Burgess, Mary Maschal, Gabriela Nuñez Plata, Lisa Pitillo, Su Rubinoff, Somer Serpe, and Peggy Tan. We are deeply grateful to all of you for your work!

Special thanks to Peggy Tan and Somer Serpe who are stepping back from their roles as reps this summer. Peggy has served the British Columbia region since last summer and Somer has served the Northeast region since 2016. We offer much gratitude to both of them for their support of WECAN and wish them the very best as they move on to other endeavors! We look forward to announcing new reps for both regions this fall.

Peggy Tan

Summer Serpa


Laura Mason, Membership Coordinator

Our WECAN organizational members admirably commit to meeting WECAN’s Expectations for the Training of Waldorf Early Childhood Educators, recognizing that hiring Waldorf-trained educators and supporting untrained educators in obtaining WECAN-recognized training is one of the most important ways schools can strengthen the development of their early childhood programs. We applaud our member programs for working hard to meet these expectations! 

For a full list of WECAN-recognized training programs, click here.

For a list of training and professional development opportunities available this summer at member institutes, and programs offered by other organizations, click here.


Susan Howard, Co-Director

Loving thanks from all of us to Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton and Lynn Turner for their work as I.D.E.A. Coordinators, guiding WECAN through a three-year process that has touched all aspects of our organization!

In May, the WECAN Board and staff celebrated Lynn and Leslie with deep gratitude, joy, tears, and laughter. We are inspired by the courage, commitment, and love they brought to this work that WECAN had begun and is committed to carrying forward into the future. We look forward to continuing to engage in ongoing individual and collective work toward developing a kinder, more compassionate world where all children can experience a sense of belonging.

We also want to express our gratitude to the members of the WECAN IDEA Committee and Advisory Circle for their support and contributions to this essential work, which has planted seeds of new capacities for us all to nurture as the journey continues. 

Leslie Wetzonis-Woolverton

Lynn Turner


Magdalena Toran

There has been a great deal of activity in Birth to Three. We look forward to continuing to create offerings that support and connect those working with the very youngest children.


Birth to Three Conferences 


North American Birth to Three Conference

There is a good deal of activity in the realm of Birth to Three conferences for 2024-2025. Sophia’s Hearth and WECAN will co-sponsor a regional conference in the fall of 2024. We are grateful that the Birth to Three conferences hosted there these last few years will continue. Meanwhile, the Birth to Three Working Group is excited to be meeting with Debbie Laurin and Ruth Ker, exploring the possibility of hosting a Birth to Three conference in collaboration with West Coast Institute sometime in the spring of 2025. We are considering Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, WA as potential sites. We recognize the significant number of colleagues in the West who work with very young children and would like an opportunity to bring these caregivers together.

Click here to read the full report.


Ruth Ker, Teacher Education Coordinator

Teacher Education has much for which to be grateful, especially the growing inter-relationships of our Member Institute colleagues, characterized by growing consultation and mutual assistance. Many of our institutes have almost completed a year with new cohorts, and some are preparing to graduate cohorts this summer. All of our teacher training colleagues are facing the question being entertained worldwide, “How do we educate the students of our time?” EC institute leaders around the world are reflecting on how contemporary early childhood educators have to be willing to develop relationships based on humility and interest in others while still developing within themselves. International Zoom conversations with IASWECE Early Childhood Training colleagues and the International Teacher Education Project (ITEP) group, composed of early childhood and grade school colleagues, have been very fruitful, open to everyone, and discussed at meetings with the North American Institutes. Institute leaders have been sharing presentations on how their classes are changing.

Click here to read the full report.


SAVE THE DATE: February 7-9, 2025 in Spring Valley, NY

A New Path: Transforming Conflict Through Destiny Learning

Together, we will dive deeper into the seven-step process of New Adult Learning to develop the capacity to learn from life, interactions with others, and the outside world. Destiny Learning processes support us in addressing conflicts, chaos, and turmoil within our classrooms, faculties, schools, communities, and the broader society. By fostering personal awareness, we create a space to confront our shadow selves and transform our work individually and within the community.

Wahsonti:io Hill, Otsistohkwi:yo Elliot, and Heather Church will lead us through this process and share examples of how Destiny Learning has been used to work through and heal wounds in themselves and their communities.



Movement and Circle Time with Young Children

By Wendalyn von Meyenfeldt

As the stories in this book “dance” through the seasons of the year, each one offers ample opportunity to add movement and gestures that bring rhythm and flow to the telling. Movement activity makes a story visible to young children, bringing them to experience the joy of creation. In living each story, children traverse new inner pathways as they outwardly perform or experience the ups and downs of a tale. The vivid, colorful images and lively rhythmic language will be inspiring to anyone who works with young children.

$22 Order Now


Becoming and Belonging: Supporting the Healthy Social-Emotional Developement of the Young Child

Edited by Holly Koteen Soule

Waldorf early education, from its inception, has incorporated opportunities for social-emotional development through wholesome day-to-day experiences. But a host of world events and societal issues have impacted the way in which children meet each other and the world. In Becoming and Belonging, the WECAN Early Childhood Research Group re-examines essential aspects of early childhood education in light of these influences. How can we better support children to meet our current social challenges? How can we prepare them to meet the social challenges of the future?

Becoming and Belonging discusses creating space for emotional well-being and social healing, establishing the foundations for healthy relationships, nourishing sensory development, and more.

$19. 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

$9 Order Now


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


Walking with Our Children: The Parent as Companion and Guide

Essays by Nancy Blanning

In tone and focus, and perhaps in adopting a certain sense of urgency, this revised and expanded collection acknowledges that the pace of life has accelerated dramatically, that the use of screens and personal digital technology has exploded, that we have endured a pandemic and its aftermaths, and that nations and ideologies are at war. We are now at a new beginning place, where we can make it our goal to face the future with optimism, to manage each moment as it comes, to affirm the goodness of life, and to deeply love and appreciate one another, no matter what comes to surprise us.

$16 Coming at the end of June

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

By 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


Dear friends, 

Out of the concern in our hearts for families suffering in Palestine and Israel, we have been looking for ways to offer support for peace-building efforts and the care and education of the youngest children in this crisis and beyond.

We are pleased to devote our Spring Appeal to raising funds to support our colleagues in reGeneration who are working to bring healing to children and families suffering from trauma and toxic stress in the conflict zone of the Middle East. 

ReGeneration is an organization that has been on the ground in the region for many years, working to support children and families through holistic education dedicated to peace and community wellness. Their activities include

  • Supporting Waldorf initiatives that bring Arab and Jewish children and families together in kindergartens and schools such as Tamrat El Zeitun and Ein Bustan.
  • Partnering with and co-sponsoring trauma-informed schools for children in Israel and the West Bank, establishing safe, stable, and calm environments that help alleviate stress.
  • Hosting conferences and trainings focused on educating children in crisis zones.

Please join us in supporting the transformative work of reGeneration in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank! Learn more about reGeneration and its mission.

Please donate online today

or call our office at 845-352-1690 for personalized assistance. Please note that 100% of this Spring Appeal will go to reGeneration to support its work with children. All donations to WECAN are tax-deductible.

With gratitude,

The WECAN Board



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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