Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education
Sunbridge Institute’s Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education program provides appropriate credentials and practical, artistic, and philosophical foundations for successful Waldorf teaching in grades one through eight classrooms. Graduates are conferred a diploma in Waldorf Teacher Education.
Director: Jana Hawley, MSEd
This program enrolls every summer. Applications for the summer 2020 cohort will be available October 1, 2019.
The Program Experience
The goal of Sunbridge’s Elementary Teacher Education program is to help guide each new teacher in his or her development as a person and an educator. We strive to develop capacities that give you the means to teach out of yourself and, in turn, help you to develop the unique capacities of your own students.
Through course work and observation, you’ll come to know why Waldorf teachers do what they do, and out of this understanding you’ll come to learn what you need to do. Through experiences in the arts—learning how to play the recorder, perform eurythmy, sing, paint, draw, sculpt, and do handwork—you’ll develop meaningful insights into the role of the arts in human development. Through thoughtful dialogue, assigned reading, and guidance, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a contemplative inner practice that will enhance your teaching and assist you along the lifelong, transformative path of becoming a Waldorf teacher.
You’ll be given countless tools for your Waldorf teaching, including suggestions for curriculum, materials, and invaluable support in both Sunbridge classrooms and Waldorf teaching classrooms.
“This program is all-encompassing: spiritual, intellectual, and inspiring!”
– Sunbridge Elementary Teacher Education student
Key Program Goals
It is expected that this program will prepare students to:
• Design activities or lessons that address the appropriate development of children’s thinking, feeling, and willing (commonly called cognition, affect, and behavior)
• Understand, interpret, and apply the philosophy and contemplative practices of Rudolf Steiner to their own preparation and practice, and demonstrate discernment for what is health-promoting for a child’s environment
• Teach in an aesthetic manner that includes the arts to enliven and support children’s learning experiences, as well as their humanity, in developmentally appropriate ways
• Demonstrate the skills necessary to create healthy learning communities within a classroom, school, and learning environment, including working cooperatively and supportively with colleagues and parents
• Regard teaching as ongoing research, and investigate questions using appropriate methods including observation, contemplative practice, and academic research skills
Sunbridge’s low-residency Elementary Teacher Education program is divided into nine terms of on-campus study:
|First Year||Second Year||Third Year|
|Summer||Three Weeks||Three Weeks||Three Weeks|
|Fall||One Week||One Week||One Week|
|Spring||One Week||One Week||One Week|
The program consists of courses in the following areas: basic Waldorf pedagogy and child development, subject curriculum and methods, inner development of the teacher, fundamentals for the teacher, anthroposophy, and artistic development.
Besides attending 15 weeks of on-campus classes, every course has assignments to complete while on campus or at home before the end of that term.
Practical Work in the Classroom
This program carries a requirement for practical experience working in a Waldorf classroom. If you’re currently “in-service” (a full-time practicing Waldorf class or subject teacher—as is typically about a third of each entering class) you will be connected to a Sunbridge mentor who is a highly experienced Waldorf elementary teacher. This mentor will observe you in your classroom setting for a two-day visit during each year of the program. These visits will be accompanied by two hours of telephone conferences as a precursor and/or follow-up to the visits, and will include a self evaluation. (Note: These mentor visits are intended to support new teachers while they are in the Sunbridge program and are not intended as evaluations.) Ideally, your mentor will remain the same for the length of the program.
Over the course of the three years, mentored teachers are also required to spend two additional practicum weeks in a classroom other than their own and in the presence of an experienced Waldorf teacher.
If you’re “pre-service” (that is, not currently teaching in a Waldorf school, an essential component of the program in each of years two and three will be to complete four consecutive weeks of student teaching in an AWSNA-affiliated Waldorf school with an experienced Waldorf elementary teacher.
All students (pre-service and in-service) are required to observe in a Waldorf classroom for a minimum of five days as follows: One full day in early childhood, three full days in elementary, and one full day in high school. Pre-service teachers are required to complete these five days in year one of the program. In-service students may complete the observations over the course of the three year program.
Pre-service students are also required to observe for an additional two weeks in either one or two grades one-eight classes, spending a minimum of five consecutive days in one classroom at a time. These two full weeks of observation can take place at any point during the three years of the program. This brings the total observation requirement for pre-service students to three weeks.
Subject Area Specialization
Combine your Elementary Teacher Education studies with coursework from one of our specialized subject intensives (Elementary Music Teaching or Grades 1-12 World Language Teaching) and graduate with a diploma in Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education with a concentration in either Music or World Language teaching. For more information on this opportunity, contact our admissions office at email@example.com / 845-425-0055 x20.
Master’s Degree Option
Sunbridge Elementary Teacher Education program students or graduates wishing to earn a fully-accredited master’s degree may seek to apply their Sunbridge learning toward earning a Master of Education degree with self-designed concentration in Waldorf Education through our partnership with Empire State College of The State University of New York.
The Sunbridge Diploma
Completion of or enrollment in a Waldorf teacher education program is generally a prerequisite of employment for Waldorf class teachers. Sunbridge Institute is a full member of AWSNA (the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) and our Elementary Teacher Education program offers a full teacher training.
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 U.S. 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.
2019-2020 Academic Calendar
Summer 2019 Intensive
Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 26
Fall 2019 Intensive
Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 8
Spring 2020 Intensive
Monday, March 2 – Friday, March 6
2020-2021 Academic Calendar
Summer 2020 Intensive
Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 24
Fall 2020 Intensive
Monday, November 2 – Friday, November 6
Spring 2021 Intensive
Monday, March 8 – Friday, March 12
For Further Assistance
Please see our Teacher Education Program Overview for more information on Waldorf teacher education at Sunbridge Institute.
Learn more about Waldorf Education.
Read a Sunbridge article in the Fall 2016 issue of Lilipoh magazine on Waldorf teaching and grades teacher education.
If you have any questions, please contact us or reach out to our admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org / 845-425-0055 x20