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Qualities and Competencies for the Training of Waldorf/Steiner Early Childhood



The following guidelines wish to provide a basis for a common understanding of the
professional qualities and competencies needed for the care and education of young children
in Steiner/Waldorf early childhood programmes.
It is hoped that the guidelines for training reflect a vision, which can be shared by the
worldwide movement of Steiner/Waldorf early childhood education and care.

Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able to impart
purpose and direction to their lives. Rudolf Steiner.

THE QUALITIES AND COMPETENCIES (knowledge/understanding, attitudes and abilities)

required of those who wish to work as Steiner/Waldorf early childhood educators:

1. Insight into Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiners life and work and its development.

2. Understanding of the essential nature of the human being as presented by Rudolf

Steiner as universally human, regardless of cultural, national and religious differences.
This understanding is a work in progress, based on a growing consciousness of the educator,
which will embrace the threefold and four-fold nature of the human being in the context of the
general human evolution and the individual spiritual biography.

3. The ability to understand and work within a particular culture and community, to be
interested in other cultures and to value their contribution to humanity.

4. Respect and love for children as individualities, who bring with them their own destiny
and gifts.

5. Understanding of child development (pre birth, early years, later childhood) and early
learning, as presented by Steiner and in general developmental research.

6. Having an understanding of embryology, anatomy and physiology including the crucial

role of the life forces for the growth and healthy physical and spiritual development of the

7. The ability to use this understanding in the observation of young children and in the
preparation of a child study.
October 2008. IASWECE Seminar Working Group 1
8. Working in the light of the threefold social order as suggested by Steiner for the
cultivation of a healthy social life, and a cooperative working in the local, national and
international community.

9. Respectful collaborative working with parents and carers, colleagues and outside

10. Having the ability to work with organisational tasks of managing any part of an early
childhood programme.

11. Making a personal decision to embark on a lifelong journey of self development in the
soul forces of thinking, feeling and willing through meditative, artistic and practical work.

12. Having the ability to create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment and care for
the childs senses, based on an understanding of the effect of the impact of modern
environments on children in the areas of nutrition, life style, media exposure and resulting
health problems.

13. Working in such a way that the life forces of young children are protected and
strengthened through a reverent, warm and joyous environment, through rhythm in all
aspects of daily life, through healthy nutrition and avoidance of sensory overload.

14. Understanding of the importance of self directed play of young children for their
physical, emotional and spiritual health. Having the ability to support this play by providing the
time, suitable space, and the mood for childrens play.

15. Having the ability to work with Steiners indications on the childs learning through
imitation and example, and to strive to become a role model worthy of imitation.

16. Developing abilities and skills in a wide range of domestic arts, care and hand work
activities, providing children with a rich experience of the working adult.

17. Providing nurturing experiences for children in the areas of

Movement (morning circle, ring time, finger/hand gesture games and circle games)
Music (singing, lyre and other instruments)
Speech (story telling, rhymes, poems, finger/hand gesture games, etc)
Puppet plays for every day
Painting (wet on wet)
Modelling (with beeswax or other materials)
Drawing with crayons
Experience in Nature
Social experience
Celebration of festivals (seasonal and cultural)

October 2008. IASWECE Seminar Working Group 2