Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education
Sunbridge Institute’s Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Education program is a practitioner-based program providing a philosophical, artistic, and practical foundation for Waldorf early childhood teaching. The program encompasses early childhood development from pre-birth to school entrance and explores diverse approaches to Waldorf early childhood education, from parent-child work to nursery and kindergarten teaching and extended care.
Co-Directors: Nancy Blanning / Leslie Burchell-Fox, MSEd
Director Emerita: Susan Howard, MA, MEd
This program enrolls every other summer. The next cohort enters June 2020.
Watch “Becoming…,” a new Waldorf 100 film, produced in association with the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education, on early childhood around the world.
“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
WECAN Standards & Sunbridge Diploma
Sunbridge Institute is a full member institute of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America). Completion of a full WECAN-recognized Waldorf early childhood teacher training program 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.
Sunbridge’s 542.5-hour program (inclusive of class time and mentored teaching) exceeds WECAN’s minimum expectation of 400 class contact hours, plus mentored teaching or extensive practicum or internship experiences, for lead nursery, pre-school, and kindergarten teachers, extended care providers, and parent-child class leaders in Waldorf schools and early childhood settings. Our program’s course offerings are also consistent with IASWECE guidelines (International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education).
Please note that Sunbridge diplomas are not academic degrees, as they reflect clock hours, not credits. Due to fluctuations and variations from state-to-state in the U.S. regarding requirements for teaching credentials, it is important you research your state’s regulations regarding requirements to be licensed to teach in a private or public school.
The Program Experience
A low-residency 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, the Sunbridge Early Childhood program is designed to accommodate a myriad of work schedules and commutes. By blending continuing work with young children with time in a Sunbridge classroom, each experience enriches the other, as program coursework, assignments, and projects support and deepen your work with young children while your work with young children expands and informs your experience as a teacher education student.
Our program directors are national and international leaders in the field of Waldorf early childhood education, bringing many years of practical Waldorf classroom experience and many years as adult educators to their Sunbridge teaching. In addition to our program directors, who also function as core faculty members, we regularly bring in adjunct and visiting faculty for further enrichment, providing you with a rich and comprehensive education.
Graduates are conferred a diploma in Waldorf Teacher Education. For those students and graduates who qualify, an opportunity to earn a fully-accredited MEd degree is possible through Sunbridge’s partnership with The State University of New York Empire State College.
“I am enormously grateful for the mentoring aspect of the program. It has been inordinately helpful for me.”
~ Sunbridge Early Childhood teacher Education student
Key Program Goals
It is expected that this program will prepare students to:
• Understand the unfolding development of the child from pre-birth to age seven in the context of broader human development
• Provide young children with consistent experiences of the natural and human world through the rhythm of the day, week, seasons, and year
• Provide and engage in artistic activities such as storytelling, drawing and painting, sculpture and woodcarving, music and rhythmic games to foster creativity and imagination
• Understand and work with the philosophy and contemplative practices of Rudolf Steiner in their own preparation and practice
• Regard—and practice—the art of the educator as a lifelong opportunity for research
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|
Classes include 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 on-campus classes, students complete study assignments and independent projects between intensives.
Each student is assigned a faculty mentor—a master Waldorf early childhood educator who will visit the student in his/her work with young children for two consecutive days each year to offer support and guidance in practical aspects of their work and in their development as an educator. These visits are accompanied by two hours of telephone conferences as a precursor and/or follow-up to the visit.
It is recommended, but not required, that students endeavor to observe other experienced teachers in Waldorf early childhood settings throughout the course of the program. A total of three weeks of observation is recommended.
Sunbridge early childhood program students or graduates who hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution may seek to apply their Sunbridge program studies toward earning a fully-accredited Master of Education with self-designed concentration in Waldorf Education through our partnership with Empire State College of The State University of New York.
2019-2020 Academic Calendar
Summer 2019 Intensive
Monday, June 17 – Friday, July 5
Fall 2019 Intensive
Monday, November 11 – Friday, November 15
Spring 2020 Intensive
Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20
2020-2021 Academic Calendar
Summer 2020 Intensive
Monday, June 15 – Friday, July 3
Fall 2020 Intensive
Monday, November 9 – Friday, November 13
Spring 2021 Intensive
Monday, March 22 – Friday, March 26
For Further Assistance
Please see our Teacher Education Program Overview for more information on Waldorf teacher education at Sunbridge Institute.
If you have any questions, please contact us or call our Admissions Office at 845-425-0055 x20.
Sunbridge Institute reserves the right to make faculty or course substitutions when necessary.