Early Childhood Teacher Education

Co-Directors: Susan Howard, MA, MEd / Nancy Blanning / Leslie Burchell-Fox, MSEd

P1230900 Susan w lyreThe Sunbridge Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education program is a part-time, low-residency 25-month  program held over the course of three summers and two intervening school years, with a three-week intensive each summer and a one-week intensive each fall and spring.

This is a practitioner-based program open to practicing Waldorf early childhood educators and others with ongoing experience in Waldorf early childhood education settings (see our Admissions Requirements for more information). Blending course work with continuing experience of working with children allows the Sunbridge coursework to enrich your current work with young children; assignments and projects are also designed to support and deepen your work with young children during the course of your training.

This program next enrolls June 2018.

Sunbridge also offers an Early Childhood Completion Track for highly experienced Waldorf early childhood educators wishing to become fully credentialed.  The Completion Track next enrolls June 2017. Please click here for information on this offering.

What stands out most for me now is consistent with what stood out for me on the very first day of classes: that this was going to be a profoundly richer experience than the mere practical accreditation I had been anticipating.

– Sunbridge Early Childhood Teacher Education student

The Program Experience

The Sunbridge Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education program encompasses early childhood education from birth to school entrance and explores a diversity of approaches to Waldorf early childhood education. Ours is a fully integrated program of study designed to provide a philosophical, artistic, and practical foundation for Waldorf early childhood teaching.
NM-SUFA13w2-6398 Ann teachingSince who you are is an integral part of your work with young children, inner development work is an important part of your Sunbridge study. We’ll help you develop creative artistic capacities and inner contemplative practices that will assist you in your work with young children.  We also include extensive course work in the anthroposophical foundations of Waldorf education, child development, and Waldorf pedagogy, as well as instruction in school administration, giving you the skills necessary for successful collaborative endeavors.
NM-SUFA13w2-6421 Leslie & LeslieSunbridge’s Early Childhood Teacher Education faculty bring many years of practical Waldorf classroom experience to their Sunbridge teaching. You’ll find in them a real enthusiasm for Waldorf education. In addition to our core faculty, we regularly bring in experts from other programs—recognized in the movement as master teachers—for further enrichment, providing you with a rich and comprehensive education.

SBSU14-7.3-1260391 WECTE eurythmyAs a Sunbridge student, you’ll also benefit from the wide array of resources available to us as part of the Threefold Educational Center community, from learning gardening at the Pfeiffer Center to dyeing silk through the Fiber Craft Studio. The early childhood programs of Green Meadow Waldorf School right next door provide convenient settings for teaching practicums.

IMG_2286 WECTE row w LauraI feel more centered, grounded, and confident in my work and see the children in a different light.
– Sunbridge Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education graduate

The Sunbridge Diploma

Completion of a full Waldorf early childhood teacher training program recognized by WECAN (the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) is generally a pre-requisite of employment for Waldorf early childhood educators who carry responsibility for the care and education of children from birth to school entrance.  Study at Sunbridge Institute meets this requirement.

Sunbridge’s Early Childhood Teacher Education program is fully recognized by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America as meeting its expectations for the training of Waldorf early childhood educators. Our 544 hours of course time exceeds the 400-hour minimum expectation for lead nursery, pre-school, and kindergarten teachers, extended care providers, and parent-child class leaders in Waldorf schools and early childhood settings.  The Sunbridge Early Childhood Teacher Education Program’s course offerings are  also consistent with the guidelines of the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education.

Please note that our diplomas are not academic degrees, as they reflect clock hours, not credits. Due to fluctuations and variations from state-to-state in the US regarding requirements for  teaching credentials, it is important to research your state’s regulations regarding requirements to be licensed to teach in a private or public school.

Program Components


Sunbridge’s Early Childhood Teacher Education program is divided into seven terms:

First Year Second Year Third Year
Summer Three Weeks Three Weeks Three Weeks
Fall One Week One Week
Spring One Week One Week

In the summer, fall and spring intensives, you’ll take courses in the following areas:

  • Child development and Waldorf Education
  • Anthroposophical studies and human development
  • Artistic and handwork activities of Waldorf early childhood education
  • Professional and social aspects of Waldorf early childhood education
  • Inner development of the educator

In addition to attending 13 weeks of on-campus classes, students complete study assignments and independent projects between intensives.


Each Early Childhood Teacher Education program student is assigned a faculty mentor—a master early childhood educator who will visit you in your work with young children twice each year (once each fall and spring during the course of the program) to offer support and guidance in practical aspects of your work and in your development as an educator.


This program enrolls every other summer.  The next cohort enrolls summer 2018. Applications will be available October 1, 2017. Applications must be received one month prior to the start of the first intensive or a late fee will be incurred.

2016-2017 Academic Calendar

 Spring 2017 Intensive

Monday, March 20 – Friday, March 24

2017-2018 Academic Calendar

Summer 2017 Intensive

Monday, June 19 – Friday, July 7

Fall 2017 Intensive

Monday, November 13 – Friday, November 17

Spring 2018 Intensive

Monday, March 19 – Friday, March 23

Please see our Teacher Education Program Overview for more information on Waldorf teacher education at Sunbridge Institute.

To learn more about Waldorf Education, please go to our Waldorf Education page.

For further information about Waldorf Early Childhood education, visit waldorfearlychildhood.org

If you have any questions, please contact us or call Penelope-Myles Voss, our Admissions and Summer Series Coordinator, at 845-425-0055 x20.


Please Note: Sunbridge Institute Waldorf Teacher Education programs are recognized by AWSNA, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, and are licensed by BPSS, the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision of the New York State Education Department. Sunbridge is also a full member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. Sunbridge programs do not lead to New York State teaching certification.


Sunbridge Institute reserves the right to make faculty or course substitutions when necessary.