Early Childhood

What Is a Waldorf Kindergarten? 2nd Edition

compiled and introduced by Sharifa Oppenheimer


Many color photos


Add a review

From Nancy:

What a joy this book is! It has been several years since the only book that had actual photos and descriptions of daily life in a Waldorf kindergarten went out of print--and the loss as been palpable. This beautiful little book fills that gap in a wonderful way and goes even further in describing the goals and ways of kindergarten education within the Waldorf approach. I am so happy that this book has found its way into print, and am confident that it will find its way into the hearts of parents and teachers and emerge as beautiful environments in which young children will grow and be glad.

Through a compilation of articles originally published in various WECAN newsletters, we adults are invited into the life of the kindergarten, and into a deeper understanding of the rhymes and reasons for things being as they are. Each step of the way, we are also treated to photos that make clear what is being spoken about, and empower us to go forth and do likewise. Prepare to enter the world of delight and wonder!

From the Publisher:
"Baking, washing, sweeping, mending, singing, painting! Imagine the scent of bread baking, the warm sudsy water for washing the dishes, the muscle power of sweeping, the fine eye-hand coordination of mending and sewing. Imagine the visual education in the dancing watercolors. And if you have had the great pleasure of sitting in the midst of children’s creative, imaginative play, you will know the happy sound at the heart of this beehive of activity.

All this beauty given to the children is 'nutritional.' Their senses are stimulated, and through free movement and imitation of the adult the experience is digested. It then becomes their own, nourishing their growth toward freedom." —Sharifa Oppenheimer

Research shows that three essentials are necessary for the young child's learning: a broad palette of sensory experience, vigorous and fine movement in response to sensory input, and the opportunity to imitate what the child sees modeled in the environment. These activities are the backbone of the academic foundation that parents look for in an early childhood program.

What Is a Waldorf Kindergarten? includes chapters on the typical day in a kindergarten, handwork, human development through art, circle time, fairy tales, seasons and festivals, and much more. This collection of insightful articles by experienced early-childhood educators brings both an overview and a deeper understanding of these essentials at work in the daily life of the Waldorf kindergarten.


Foreword by Joan Almon

Part One: An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten

  • Introductions by Sharifa Oppenheimer
  • "A Day in the Life of the Kindergarten" by Ingeborg Schöttner
  • "Handwork in the Kindergarten" by Dora Dolder
  • "Human Development through Art" by Freya Jaffke
  • "Circle Time in the Kindergarten" by Nancy Foster
  • "Fairy Tales and the Image of the Human Being" by Helmut von Kügelglen
  • "Choosing Fairy Tales for Different Ages" by Joan Almon
  • "The Seasons and Their Festivals" by Joan Almon

Part Two: A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten Introductions by Sharifa Oppenheimer

  • "Stages of Development in Early Childhood" by Freya Jaffke
  • "Kindergarten Education with Mixed-Age Groups" by Freya Jaffke
  • "The Significance of Imitation in the Development of the Will" by Freya Jaffke
  • "Considerations about Kindergarten Readiness" by Joan Almon
  • Afterword: “Meeting the Needs of the Times" by Cynthia K. Aldinger


This edition replaces the first edition.

This content was originally published in the two volumes, Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten and A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten--still available as set for a special price: Waldorf Kindergarten Special

112 pages, 7.5" x 9", 2015

School Readiness Today

A Report from the Pedagogical Section of the Goetheanum

Geseke Lundgren, Claudia McKeen, MD, Barbara Ostheimer, Rainer Patzlaff, PhD, Claus-Peter Röh, Martina Schmidt, MD, Edmond Schoorel, MD, Michael S Urschitz, MD



Add a review

The authors, each expert in various aspects of early childhood development and pedagogy, approach their subject from a variety of perspectives, ranging from physical development to social development, cognitive development and studies demonstrating the impact of early academic education and more. This little book is a powerhouse of information and insight, and comes with a multitude of illustrations in color and duotone that chronicle the changes in human beings from birth through the early grades. Especially interesting are the full color reproductions of children's artwork that follow the development of different children over time. Being able to "see" these children develop is a fascinating journey as well as being concrete evidence of the changes taking place within each human being.

This research was originally presented at a colloquium at the Goetheanum in February 2013.

From Kindergarten into the Grades

Insights from Rudolf Steiner

Selected and edited by Ruth Ker



Add a review

In going through this outstanding collection of Rudolf Steiner's thoughts and observations of 6-7 year old children, I was struck at almost every page with how extremely practical his suggestions are, and how very clearly insightful he was.

This gathering of Steiner's thoughts about children at this age can serve parents, teachers, and caregivers in so very many ways: as a quick resource of useful suggestions as to how to help children through "bumpy times;" as an enriching account of the lives of children during this transition period; as food for thought as we find our own way with the very unique children in our care; as a bellweather indicator of how much and how little has changed in the 100 or so years since Steiner penned and spoke these words.

Ruth Ker is to be highly commended for her wisdom and discernment in the excerpts she has chosen to present.  Her compilation is masterful, its potential to help the world's children beyond reckoning.

Recommended without reservation!

On the Play of the Child

Indications by Rudolf Steiner for Working with Young Children

Selected and edited by Freya Jaffke

2nd English Edition



Add a review

This new edition combines two resources that came into being just before and after the international gathering of Waldorf early childhood educators in Dornach, Switzerland in 2005. In On the Play of the Child, Freya Jaffke compiled statements by Rudolf Steiner about play and related topics, to serve as study material for the conference. Playing, Learning, Meeting the Other collects five of the lectures that were given at the 2005 conference, around the themes of play, development and learning, and the all-important encounter with the other. Together, they provide important insights that can inspire and inform our work with young children.

The Journey of the 'I' into Life

A Final Destination or a Path Toward Freedom?

Edited by Nancy Blanning

Lectures from the 2012 International Waldorf Early Childhood Conference at the Goetheanum



Add a review

The Journey of the "I" into Life presents us with the notes and transcripts of gleaned from five lectures given in 2012 by medical doctors, early childhood educators and a consulting Waldorf class teacher.  It is a rare combination of crystal clear thought and facts presented through hearts filled with warmth and love.  I have seldom been as moved as I was to read these lectures, and felt my understanding of human development was not just enhanced, but very much deepened as well.  It is hard to convey in just this bit of writing, but there was something so poignant and wonderful about being able, for instance, to see the photographs of the progression of development of human synapses from 0 to 3 years.  Combined with the thoughts being expressed by the lecturer (in this case, Dr. Michaela Glöckler), I found myself in the presence of a process that is in and of itself miraculous: it is a miracle that such development is possible, and a wonder that with it's indescribable fragility and mutability it most often leads to the emergence of fully capable adult human beings.

This little book in its entirety is filled to the brim with moments and revelations like this one.  I would wish that everyone be allowed to encounter what it contains.

Under the Stars

The Foundations of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education

Renate Long-Breipohl



Add a review

Under the Stars is a profound and practical anthology on the principles and methods of Waldorf early-childhood education. The purpose is to help early-years educators deepen their insights into Steiner's inspiring, holistic understanding of children. Rather than providing recipes, the book presents the author's thought-provoking insights and principles that arise from lifelong work in kindergarten education. He ideas will free educators to transform their ways of observing children, their practice, and their self-development.


  • Recognizing and nurturing the life forces of the young child.
  • Thinking and the consciousness of the young child.
  • The development and the education of the will, including an appendix on moral education in early childhood.
  • Relationships in early childhood: attachment, separation, individualization.
  • Children in the modern world.
  • Supporting movement development in the early years.
  • Self-directed play in early childhood. Art experiences in early childhood education.
  • Self development and child observation.
  • Incarnation as a guide to self development.

Dr. Renate Long-Breipohl taught kindergarten for many years and now advises and lectures around the world in early-childhood education and with the Sydney (Australia) Rudolf Steiner College. Her books originate as much from her own experience and research with young children as from Rudolf Steiner, though she believes that engaging with his thinking is a crucial foundation for educators. She is also the author of Supporting Self Directed Play in Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (WECAN, 2011).

Cradle of a Healthy Life

Early childhood and the whole of life

Dr. Johanna Steegmans, Dr. Gerald Karnow


Add a review

* * * Temporarily out of stock. More on the way!! * * *
If you order this item it will be shipped in 1-2 weeks.

Offered with both compassion and depth, Dr. Steegman's presents valuable insights into the ways experiences and conditions of early childhood craft what later becomes the health and outlook of adults. Key developmental stages are described afresh, and a path indicated that can help caregivers to "read" in the physiology of hte child what he or she needs in order to grow into a free adult.

Work and Play in Early Childhood

Freya Jaffke


Add a review

Work and Play in Early Childhood describes not only what a good Waldorf kindergarten is like, but why these kindergartens are as they as. This book has been out of print for years, and now is available once again.

Freya Jaffke's highly readable text is punctuated by many color photographs that lead the reader right into the kindergarten to witness first-hand the many gifts of capacity and awareness that the children receive.  Rhythm and repetition, example and imitation, are pillars on which early learning is based. Freya Jaffke applies these simple principles in ways that are refreshingly sensible and practical. She describes children’s play and provides well-tried advice on this important stage of development at which young children love to imitate the work of adults.

Practical topics are covered, such as planning the day, festivals, rhythms, spontaneous and planned play, stages of development, creating a protective environment, and hyperactive and inactive children. Parents and educators faced with the task of bringing up small children will find inspiration to help them in their daily endeavors.

Based on observations gained over decades working in a Waldorf kindergarten, Freya Jaffke’s books have become a cornerstone of understanding and inspiration for Waldorf early childhood education.  Very highly recommended.

Home Away from Home

LifeWays Care of Children and Families

Cynthia Aldinger and Mary O'Connell



Add a review

* * * Temporarily out of stock. More on the way!! * * *
If you order this item it will be shipped in 1-2 weeks.

It is with heartfelt joy that we offer Home Away from Home to you, a book we've been hoping would be written for many years.  The authors have been guiding lights in LifeWays early childcare - offering insight, training, and leadership-by-example (the very best kind!) for many years.  Now that they have published Home Away from Home, the heart of what they teach and know is available to everyone who wants it, even if they can't get to a seminar.  This is simply the most complete, intimate, alive portrait of Steiner-inspired childcare that is available.

Whether you are a childcare provider or a parent of young children, there is a wealth of information, inspiration, support, and instruction between its covers.  Everyone who works and cares for young children will find that it is a well of resources that will never run dry no matter how often you turn to it.

You'll find wonderful child development information, beautiful examples of others who are offering warm and loving care in their homes, including an abundance of black and white photos that show how to create these environments for young children and what daily life looks like within them.  You'll also find discussion about licensing, parent relationships, and the business of caring for the children of others on a daily basis.

Altogether, this is one of the most potent books ever written.  We believe it will change the face of childcare everywhere it is read.


  • What is LifeWays child care?
    • LifeWays Principles of Caring for Children at Home and in Child Care
    • Best Practices in the Care of Young Children
    • A Word about Mixed Ages
  • The Many Faces of LifeWays
    • LifeWays of Wisconsin
    • Marcy Andrews' Home Program
    • LifeWays Child Care Society
    • Spindlewood
    • The Orchard
    • Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program
  • Other Facets of LifeWays
    • What is LifeWays Parent-Child Playgroup?
    • What is LifeWays Forest Kindergarten?
    • What is LifeWays Preschool?
    • What is LifeWays Parenting?
  • Home Away from Home - Rhythms, Routines, and the Living Arts
    • Rhythms and Routines
    • Environments
    • Examples of the Living Arts from Daily Life
  • Finding Your Colleagues
    • Characteristics of a LifeWays Caregiver
    • Characteristics of a LifeWays Director
    • Characteristics of a LifeWays Cook
    • Characteristics of a LifeWays Preschool Teacher, Forest Kindergarten Teacher, and Parent-Child Playgroup Leader
  • Protections: The Safety and Health of Children in Relationship-based Care
    • Safety
    • Health
  • Creating Your Community of Care
    • Is LifeWays for Every Child?
    • Is LifeWays for Every Parent?
    • What Are Some of the Blessings of Creating a Community in Your Program for Children?
    • Does Community Just Happen or Do You Work to Create It?
    • Are There Any Challenges to Creating and Sustaining Community?
    • How Does Your Community Come Together to Celebrate Festivals?
  • Regulatory Bodies and Professional Support
    • State Licensing
    • Municipalities and Zoning
    • Professional Support
  • Business Questions
    • The Business Plan
    • Funding
    • Systems
  • Supporting You in Your Work - LifeWays North America
    • History
    • LifeWays Training
    • LifeWays Membership
    • A Word about Advocacy

Supporting Self-Directed Play

in Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education

Renate Long-Breipohl

Photographs by Paulene Hanna and Sandra Busch



Add a review

Reading Supporting Self-Directed Play is like watching blossoms burst open across the landscape in spring.  There is so much beauty, so much life , so much love on every page that the book opens the heart as it informs the mind and inspires the hands.

One of the most difficult things that I've found to do is to try to describe the life of a Waldorf kindergarten to someone who's never seen it.  Somehow, no matter how accurate my (or anyone else's) words might be, the essence has never seemed to convey what I had witnessed.  Now, here is a book that makes it clear what is so very special, so perfect for young children about a Waldorf kindergarten.

The color photos are paired beautifully with a descriptive text that really does lead you into the kindergarten at play time.  Here, in one small book, is support for anyone who wants to make the day bloom for children.  Here, too, is support for anyone who may have wondered why such an environment is so important to the health and future life of a growing human being.

Supporting Self-Directed Play is a healing drop of sanity, of beauty, truth and goodness, that I know will spread it's ripples of life and love throughout the world.

Under the Sky

Playing, Working and Enjoying Adventures in the Open Air

Sally Schweizer

A Handbook for Parents, Carers and Teachers



Add a review

Sally Schweizer presents a fresh world of possibilities for children in both urban and rural areas, opening doors to expanded experiences of life in the open air. Packed with anecdotes, games and practical activities, Under the Sky is a vibrant resource for parents, teachers and carers.

What can children do outside? How about singing, whittling, chatting, climbing, digging, and making dens? They can build, run, watch small creatures, count tree rings, listen to stories, perform puppet plays, learn woodworking, and investigate the many forms of bark. Outside, children can enjoy quiet conversations or make a big noise, be alone or be with others. And that's just the beginning ...

Under the Sky is an invaluable guide for everyone who wants to help children cultivate play and imagination. It features ideas for planning expeditions and adventures, toys and equipment, and activities for the four seasons and the four elements! It includes plans, tips and advice on child-friendly outdoor design, materials, surfaces, seating, gardening, pets, wildlife—even campfires, picnics and train journeys. Under the Sky also includes a chapter on how educators can work toward formal “early years” government goals.

Well, I Wonder

Childhood in the Modern World

Sally Schweizer

A Handbook for Parents, Carers, and Teachers



Add a review

In our modern world, imagination, play, wonder, and even fun itself are in danger of being left behind. We have surrounded children with technology and early learning, television and computer games, and then top that off with premature intellectualization, early reading, and tests.

Sally Schweizer calls for a reevaluation of childhood and an awakening to the real needs of children. Being a mother of four and having spent more thirty years in education (as a kindergarten teacher, teacher trainer, and advisor), she is qualified to ask the hard questions and offer real solutions. Well, I Wonder is packed with practical suggestions, anecdotes, humor, and delightful quotes from Schweizer’s students. Her approach is based on the study and practice of Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy, as well as personal, firsthand knowledge gained from long experience.

The author guides us through the stages of childhood development, explaining children’s need for daily rhythm, movement, and play. She emphasizes the importance of guarding children’s imagination and the significance of festivals and celebrations. She offers helpful tips and wise advice throughout this well-illustrated book, which also features an eight-page color section on the evolution of children’s drawings.

Adventures in Parenting

a support guide for parents

Rachel C Ross


Add a review

Adventures in Parenting is such a lovely book. It is like having a wise grandmother at hand, one who answers so many of the perplexing questions that young parents find themselves puzzling over as they raise their children.

Rachel Ross beautifully discusses the joys and concerns almost all new parents experience and goes on to discuss everything from parenting styles and the patterning we carry from our own parents to discipline and boundaries, developmental issues, and how to create a home that fully nurtures your children while it also nurtures you.

I want to add that her section on developmental issues is brilliant (Rachel is an remedial movement/eurythmy teacher). Her list of difficulties and solutions is unlike anything I've ever seen in print - I think if this were the only thing in the book, it would still be a treasure of priceless worth and will be comforting and liberating to parents everywhere.

Developing the Observing Eye

Teacher Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education

Cynthia Murphy-Lang


Add a review

Cynthia Murphy-Lang's experience as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher has taught her that a teacher's ability to observe and understand what he or she sees can be the key to providing children with an environment that truly supports their needs. In Developing the Observing Eye she shares techniques, guidelines and exercises to help teachers and parents train their own capacities to observe and understand.

El Desarollo del Nino y la Educacion Preescolar Waldorf

(The Devleopment of the Child and Waldorf Early Childhood Education - Spanish Language only)

Editado por Louise deFores

A WECAN Publication


Add a review

Louise selected six essential, fundamental articles for Waldorf early childhood educators by Joan Almon, Joop van Dam, Helmut von Kügelgen, Susan Howard, Roberto Trostli, and Freya Jaffke. We hope this little volume will become a valuable resource for our colleagues in Mexico and elsewhere in the Spanish speaking world, who do not yet have an equivalent of the English-language Gateways newsletter.


  • Prólogo - Susan Howard
  • Las Leyes de la Niñez - Helmut von Kügelgen
  • Las Etapas del Desarrollo en la Primera Infancia - Freya Jaffe
  • Comprendiendo la Imitación a Través de una Mirada más Profunda al Desarrollo Humano - Joop van Dam
  • El Papel Vital del Juego en la Educación Preescolar - Joan Almon
  • El Jardín de Niños Waldorf: El Mundo de la Primera Infancia - Roberto Trostli
  • Conceptos Esenciales de la Educación Preescolar Waldorf - Susan Howard

What Babies and Children Really Need

Sally Goddard Blythe



Add a review

This book represents a milestone in our understanding of child development and what parents can do to give their children the best start in life. The author uses the latest scientific research to demonstrate how a baby’s relationship with the mother has a lasting and fundamental impact. She emphasizes ways that changes in society over the past fifty years—such as delayed motherhood, the limited practice of breastfeeding, and mothers’ early return to work—interfere with important developmental milestones that are essential to success and well being in later life.

“We need a state,” says Sally Goddard Blythe, “that gives children their parents and, most of all, gives babies their mothers back.”

What Babies and Children Really Need is an important book for parents of young children.


  • Conception and Society: The Politics of Fertility
  • Does Early Development Matter?
  • Events Surrounding Birth
  • Events Following Birth: Risk Factors
  • Breastfeeding
  • Movement Instinct
  • Language Instinct
  • Building on the First Year: The Neuroscience of Developing Emotions
  • Factors Parents Can Control
  • What Needs to Be Done?

Childhood's Garden

Shaping Everyday Life around the Needs of Young Children

Helle Heckmann

Book and DVD



Add a review

I have been basking in the glow of both the film and book that are Childhood's Garden every since reviewing them. My, oh my, what goodness lies within!

First, about the film presented on the DVD: amazing, warm, wonderful, inspiring - I could go on and on with superlatives. The more people who can see it, the better for the world.

The filmmakers managed to blend into the background so well that the children simply go about their day as though they aren't there. And what a day it is! Helle Heckmann has created a true garden for young children (Nokken): they spend 5 hours of their 8 hour day outdoors, rain or shine (this was a summer day - she doesn't mention in the film what they do on truly frigid winter days). They are given the freedom to imitate the work of the garden and more as their child's heart. The little ones (ages 1-3) take naps in specially made cribs that are also outdoors - this is a Danish tradition which I believe should be looked at closely in other parts of the world where it may also benefit children who spend so much of their life indoors.

Nokken offers the children a midday meal which is made from biodynamic grains, vegetables, oils and syrups. The diet has been chosen to provide the children with types of food they are unlikely to receive at home, thus effecting and overall balance in their diets. I'm a bit less certain as to whether her diet would be effective in balancing children's food intake in the US, as my observation in Waldorf kindergartens has been that many of the parents already eat in similar ways and that offering more of the same might prove to create an overall imbalance. However, this, too, should be examined closely -- Helle's approach is sound and beautiful, but her exact solutions for her area may or may not translate well in other situations. Nonetheless, her food is highly nutritious and looked so good I found myself getting hungry just watching the children eat.

In the small book that comes with it, Helle Heckmann expands on things seen in the movie, but not necessarily described in depth. You'll learn more about the thinking and feeling that has gone into every detail of the life she and her coworkers have created for the children in their care. It is packed, simply packed with valuable ideas that carry so much inspiration that I am confident they will live and grow in this world of ours.

Childhood's Garden is one of the most significant, beautiful, healing works to have emerged in the field of early childhood education. Please watch the DVD (invite your friends, make popcorn!), talk about it, read the book - this is must see/read material!

Creating a Home for Body, Soul, and Spirit

A New Approach to Childcare

Bernadette Raichle



Add a review

Creating a Home for Body, Soul, and Spirit answers with beauty and love the needs of children everywhere, and conveys a joyous hope to all adults how care for those children.

Because she took seriously the fact that many homes require the parent(s) to work away from their young children, and because she has such a great love for children and our world, she created one of the most beautiful and life-giving childcare centers anywhere.

In Creating a Home, she shares not only pictures of the life of Awhina (her center), but something more: she goes on to relate clear the developmental needs of the fourfold human being and in the most practical terms discusses how it is that caregivers can meet them within young children. Her's is a stirring, heartwarming account that is at the same time clear and deep.

Anyone who cares for children, particularly other people's children, will want to read this book and commit its wisdom to heart. I truly believe that the future will smile in return.

The Wonder of Childhood

Stepping into Life

René Querido



Add a review

* * * Temporarily out of stock with the distributor. * * *
Current estimates are for it to arrive mid-October.

This is such a dear little book. René Querido invites us along on two lovely excursions: the first, into the world of the child between ages 0 and 3; the second, into the world of Raphael's Sistine Madonna and then further, to explore what that painting means to a child's eye. Both these edited lectures paint warm and deep pictures that not only deepen our understanding, but evoke a warm caring for young children in our hearts. Wonderful for parents and teachers.

In a Nutshell

Dialogues with Parents at Acorn Hill, A Waldorf Kindergarten

Nancy Foster



Add a review

What an absolutely wonderful book! Nancy Foster has not only given us great explanation of just about everything parents new to Waldorf education ever wonder about, but she has gone on to give some of the best parenting advice ever written down. In other words, she has poured over 30 years experience as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher into the most concise, readable and useful wee book every printed on the subject teaching and parenting young children. This is a genuinely must-have book for anyone working with or raising young children.

Table of Contents:

Our Classroom Environment

  • Color in the Classroom
  • Why Curtains?
  • Teachers' Dress
  • The Significance of Candles
  • Naming the Teacher
  • No Cars and Trucks?
  • What about Puzzles?
  • Musical Instruments in the Classroom

Work and Play at School

  • The Rhythm of the Morning
  • Saying "You may . . . "
  • Ironing in the Classroom: Danger?
  • Boys and Waldorf Education
  • Playing Cats and Dogs
  • Music in the Mood of the Fifth
  • Can Energetic Boys Enjoy Handwork?
  • Gun Play at School
  • Field Trips?
  • Fairy Tales for Young Children
  • The Challenge of Circle Time
  • Puppetry and "Told" Stories

Children at Home

  • Colors for a Child's Bedroom
  • Older and Younger Siblings
  • Boredom
  • Telephone
  • Bedtime Ritual
  • Feeding a Child
  • Swords vs. Guns
  • TV Away from Home
  • Barbie
  • Forbidden Words?
  • Appropriate Gifts
  • "What did you learn in school today?"
  • Toys in the Neighborhood
  • Helping Children in a Time of Trouble - A Few Thoughts
  • Is the World a Good Place?

The First Seven Years: Physiology of Childhood

Edmond Schoorel



Add a review

Bob and I have always believed that Steiner delivered the seminar, known in English as Foundations of Human Experience or Study of Man, as information and insights to be used. It is, therefore, deeply exciting to come upon a book such as Schoorel's The First Seven Years, written as it is from someone who has been doing precisely that: using and applying and developing a living understanding for the material Steiner shared with the teachers of the original Waldorf School.

Schoorel's approach is wonderful - he takes a particular topic, describes it thoroughly then moves on to relate it to physiology and environment. So, for instance, when he discusses "the birth of the etheric body", he not only offers a clear and meaningful picture of what that means for the developing human being, but then discusses what physiological changes mark this process as well as how environment affects it.

For anyone interested in or working with young children, this book is a treasure to be turned to again and again. It fosters understanding as it also gives much food for the sort of thought that deepens and enlightens. The First Seven Years is a gift to teachers, parents and most especially to our children.

Kindergarten Education

Freeing children's creative potential

Betty Peck



Add a review

What can children gain from the treasured world of childhood that will enrich their adult lives? Educator Betty Peck celebrates the power of Kindergarten to help children find their creativity and imagination, opening the door to a passionate relationship with learning.

Using vivid case studies from her own experience and from the research of Froebel and other early-years pioneers, the author demonstrates how a holistic, loving approach to pre-school education opens the door to:

  • Enabling creativity, awareness, wonder and discovery
  • Meeting the spiritual and physical growth needs of young children
  • Storytelling, movement, ring time and play
  • Celebrating festivals and the seasonal round
  • Creating play gardens to discover nature’s secrets
  • Involving families and communities

This is an essential resource for teachers and parents who want to give their children a more meaningful education.

The Well-Balanced Child - Movement and Early Learning

Sally Goddard Blythe



Add a review

Sally Goddard Blythe thoroughly explains why movement is so important for the healthy development of babies and young children. She describes movement, balance, reflexes, learning, and behavior in early education and how music affects brain development. The book includes songs, games and, activities that encourage learning at key stages of development.

Here is a unique and holistic approach to the senses, movement, the brain, play, and movement. It is also a valuable resource for helping parents and professionals assess children with learning difficulties and for dealing with learning and behavioral problems through movement.

This one is highly recommended for all early education teachers and parents of young children.

Sally Goddard Blythe is director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, which researches the effects of neurological dysfunction in specific learning difficulties, and devises effective remedial programs. She is the author of Reflexes Learning and Behaviour as well as numerous professional papers and articles.

The Genius of Play

Celebrating the Spirit of Childhood

Sally Jenkinson



Add a review

This is essential reading.

Christopher Clouder, Alliance for Childhood

Sally Jenkinson explores the secrets of play through moving stories and research. And what she reveals to all of is that play is essential for children's health, for their future as adults, and for the future of our world.

The author, a mother and former Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten teacher doesn't miss a beat in this extremely inportant book. She asks:

  • What do children express in their play?
  • How does play help develop empathy and social skills?
  • How are children invluenced by inappropriate toys, TV and consumerism?
  • How does play develop children's imaginations?
  • Why do children need adults who encourage play?
  • How lively childhood players become creative adult thinkers.

If you want to enter and understand this world of childhood, or if you want to make considered, healthy choices for your own child, this book is what you've been looking for. Thank you, Sally Jenkinson!!

The Young Child in the World Today

Part of the Gateways Series



Add a review

Wonderful! Some of the best articles published by Gateways on some of the most pressing concerns of the day.

Topics covered include new health problems of children and youth, sexual abuse of children, ADHD, violence and electronic media, TV and ADD, virtual reality and the child's growing mind, and child development and television.

Putting all these article inside one cover is a great idea - thank you, WECAN!

Compiled from articles published in the Newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.

Working with the Angels

The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Part of the Gateways Series



Add a review

Working with the Angels is clearly the result of intense, deep, sustained love: the love of each article's author for children and the world; the love of those responsible for publishing each article in its turn over the years; the love of the current editors in gathering all these remarkable insights and experiences together in one place; and, of course, the love of the angels for us.

This is a collection that is almost palpably alive with love and with love's possibilities. And with that, I'm going to let the contents speak for themselves:

Working with the Angels

  • Working with the Angels, Archangels and Archai - Helmut von Kügelgen
  • Conversation about Angels and Human Beings - Helmut von Kügelgen
  • Finding a Connection to the World of the Angels - Helmut von Kügelgen
  • The Meaning of Angels in Education and Self-Education - Michaela Glöckler, M.D.

The Destiny of the Child in Our Times

  • Working with the Karma of the Young Child - Margaret Meyerkort
  • Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny - Joan Almon
  • Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies - Werner Glas
  • Early Childhood and the Consciousness Soul - Joan Almon
  • Threshold Experiences of Children and Adults - Helmut von Kügelgen
  • Religion of the Young Child - Elizabeth Moore-Haas

The Gateway of Birth - the Sistine Madonna

  • Raphael's Sistine Madonna - Is It Approriate in the Kindergarten? - René Querido
  • The Sistine Madonna in the Waldorf Kindergarten - Joan Almon
  • The Sistine Madonna - Symbol of the Eternal in Humanity - Rudolf Steiner

The Gateway of Death - Working with Death in the Kindergarten

  • After-Death Care in the Home - Beth Knox
  • Helping Children in a Time of Trouble - Nancy Foster
  • Helping Our Children and Loved Ones at the Threshold of Death - Nancy Jewel Poer
  • A Festival for a Threshold Crossing - Patricia Owens
  • Birth into the spiritual World - Nancy Blanning
  • A Story for Mia - Louise de Forest
  • Grandma's Dream - Sheila Rubin
  • For Anastasia and Her Dear Grandmother - Cynthia Aldinger

The Inner Path

  • Self-Development as a Basis for the Relationship Between the Child and the Adult - Michaela Glöckler, M.D.
  • Through the Eye of the Needle - Felicitas Vogt
  • The Path of Inner Schooling - Jorgen Smit
  • The Spiritual Foundations of Waldorf Education - Michaela Glöckler, M.D.

Compiled from articles published in the Newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association

The Developing Child

The First Seven Years

Part of the Gateways Series




Add a review

WECAN has produced another wonderful collection of past Gateways articles, this time focusing on child development from birth to age 7. Some of the best and most insightful experts in the field are now all gathered in one place, offering their wisdom and guidance together. I am especially pleased to see articles explaining kindergarten and first grade readiness guidelines. The Developing Child is an outstanding contribution to the world of early childhood education; and a resource that can bring a wealth of experience right into your living room or classroom.


Stages of Development in the First Seven Years

  • The Laws of Childhood - Dr. Helmut von Kügelgen
  • Stages of Development in Early Childhood - Freya Jaffke
  • The Young Child form Birth to Seven - Dennis Klocek

Birth, Infancy and the First Years of Life

  • Child Development: Conception to Birth Embryology
  • Making Sense of Uprightness - Bonnie & William RiverBento
  • The Wonder of Acquiring Speech - Dr. Michaela Glöckler
  • Movement, Gesture and Language in the Life of the Young Child - Bronja Zahlingen
  • Supporting the Development of the Human Hand - Ingun Schneider
  • Toward Human Development: The Physiological Basis of Sleep - Lisa Gromicko
  • Laying the Physical Foundation of the Consciousness Soul - Dr. Jenny Josephson

The Development of Consciousness: Imitation, Play and Learning

  • Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy: Understanding the Dream Consciousness of the Young Child - Dr. Michaela Glöckler
  • The Vital Role of Play in Childhood - Joan Almon
  • The Genius of Play - Sally Jenkinson
  • Understanding Imitation - Joop van Dam

Readiness for Kindergarten and School

  • Kindergarten Readiness - Dr. Elizabeth Jacobi
  • The Birth of the Etheric: Transformation of Growth Forces into Thinking Forces - Dr. Michaela Glöckler
  • First Grade Readiness - Joan Almon
  • Some Guidelines for First Grade Readiness - Nancy Foster

Compiled from articles published in the Newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.

Nurturing Potential in the Kindergarten Years

A Guide for Teachers, Carers and Parents

Cornelis Boogerd


Add a review

The kindergarten years—when children are between about three and six years of age—are some of the most formative in their development. At the heart of early years, Waldorf education is informed by the concept of “life forces,” or one’s “etheric body.”  To help children grow into healthy adults who can fulfill their potential, Waldorf early childhood education endeavors to recognize and nurture the etheric body.

This book  offers accessible ways to understand and visualize the uncommon concept of life forces in children. It also provides practical examples of how to nurture children at different educational stages and to stimulate healthy and active development.

You're Not the Boss of Me!

Understanding the Six/Seven-Year-Old Transformation

Ruth Ker, Editor

Spiral Bound


Add a review

There are few parents and, I think, no kindergarten teachers who have not heard the title of this book shouted at them in fury by children between five and seven years old. In fact, some of us can remember, however dimly, our own frustrated rage as we ourselves shouted these words when we were that age. Perhaps there's something on the human genome that over the millenia has imprinted "You're not the boss of me!" as the iconic phrase human beings must utter before leaving their infancy behind.

Of course, in the face of this imperative resistance, we adult teachers and parents are often left perplexed and frustrated ourselves. When the subject was raised at a WECAN conference, it was joined with such acclamation that a work group was formed to explore the phenomenon and ways of helping children move positively across this threshold.

The result is You're Not the Boss of Me! - a collection of articles and excerpts by kindergarten teachers, sensory integration experts, and medical doctors. It is wonderful! Teachers in schools and home schools will find so much to help them meet the needs of the six-to-seven-year-olds as they also find ways to take joy in those children who stand at this threshold. Parents can gain new understanding and lots and lots of friendly help and highly useful advice.

Thank you to the WECAN work group for bringing us such a needed book!!

The Gateways Series: Mentoring in Waldorf Early Childhood Educaton

Compiled from the workof the WECAN Mentoring Task Force

Spiral Bound


Add a review

When I first saw the title of this book, I confess I expected some fairly dry essays as its content. I am delighted to report that the articles it contains are warm, lively, beautifully and deeply considered and come from a rich selection of those who have mentored in many different settings. In short, if mentoring is something you or your school is ready to explore, you couldn't find a better guide than this one.


  • Self-Education as the Basis for the Art of Mentoring
  • The Role of Mentoring Early Childhood Teachers and Caregivers: Context and Purpose
  • Laying the Bass for the Mentoring Visit
  • The Essentials of Waldorf Early Childhood Education
  • The Mentoring Observation: What Do We Look For?
  • The Art of Fruitful conversation
  • Pearls of Wisdom: The Role of Advice in Mentoring

Accountability: Written Records

Meeting at the Eye of the Needle: Mentoring on the Path of Adult Learning

Children at Play

Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development

Heidi Britz-Crecelius

Foreword by Joan Almon



Add a review

For twenty-five years this book has inspired those who care about children. In an age when play is valued less and less, it stands out as a reminder of why play has always been part of childhood and why we must not stand by and allow it to die out.

From the Foreword by Joan Almon Coordinator, Alliance for Childhood Past Chairperson, Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America

Once again available, Children at Play can again inspire and inform! Imaginative play is more vital for a child's future than many parents and educators realize. Children should be allowed free scope in their fantasies since it is through spontaneous creations that they gradually learn how to join the extended game of human society. The more they are allowed to be absorbed in their play, the more fully and effectively they will later take their place in the community as adults. As any parent or teacher knows, a child's development does not follow a strictly chronological pattern and can be enhanced by concerned caregivers.

Drawing on her experiences as a mother and student of Rudolf Steiner's system of education, author Heidi Britz-Crecelius emphasizes the different qualities of play that may extend through more than one phase of games, toys, and art supplies that further the mobility of the mind and the powers of expression without the burden that premature schooling can place on children. Offering many practical suggestions and an extensive, up-to-date list of resources for today's families, Children at Play gives a refreshing and timely warning to a technological society concerned about the welfare of its children.

Free to Learn

Introducing Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education

Lynne Oldfield



Add a review

This is the most thorough, interesting and inspiring introduction to the Waldorf kindergarten to yet appear in print. The author is to be congratulated indeed!

In the Steiner/Waldorf kindergarten, the teachers' approach stems from a belief that children's early learning is profound, that childhood matters and that the early years should be enjoyed, not rushed through. Free to Learn invites and presents a considered discussion of:

  • How do kindergartens enable healthy child development
  • What is 'movement based learning'?
  • Creative play - why is it so crucial?
  • How do children learn through imitation and rhythm?
  • Why is nourishing the senses important?
  • When are children ready for school?
  • Support for parenting and daycare.
  • This is a unique guide to the principles and methods of Waldorf Early Childhood Education. It comes complete with a wonderful collection of photographs taken inside the kindergarten - those alone make this book a must-have addition to your library. Lynne Oldfield, a master kindergarten teacher, offers an invaluable picture of a stress-free childhood, exciting ways of seeing children, and a heartfelt respect for childhood. A wonderful book!

    Ready to Learn

    From Birth to School Readiness

    Martyn Rawson and Michael Rose



    Add a review

    When are children ready for school? Many parents are concerned about 'too much formal schooling too soon.'

    Ready to Learn will help you consider the transition from kindergarten to school. The key is a lively grasp of child development in the first seven years that includes:

    • The physical, soul and spiritual aspects of child development
    • How children 'grow down' into their bodies
    • How language and senses develop
    • 'Reading readiness,' and the place of computers

    Simple tests for school readiness Ready to Learn is an excellent starting point for both teachers and parents. Here is an understanding of child development and the ever-changing needs of maturing children that is unusually detailed and insightful.

    - Dr. John Pearce, Professor Emeritus in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Nottingham University

    Working with Anxious, Nervous and Depressed Children

    A Spiritual Perspective to Guide Parents

    Henning Köhler

    Introduction by Philip Incao, MD



    Add a review

    Henning Köhler courageously presents parents and teachers with a practical path of schooling the thinking, heart, and will in selfless devotion to the individual destiny of each child. This is a book every teacher, parent and friend of children will want to read and consider - it offers a way of receiving troubled children into our hearts, into the stream of our love such that healing and forward movement become possible.

    Helping Children to Overcome Fear

    The Healing Power of Play

    Russell Evans


    Add a review

    Helping Children to Overcome Fear is one of those books that is itself a legacy, reaching out beyond the threshold of death to those of us still working with others on this teeming planet of ours. Jean Evans was a hospital play leader whose life work was with sick children. Her husband, Russell, has gathered together her stories and pictures that illustrate and teach so beautifully how the healing power of play can help children suffering illness to give voice to their feelings and find security.

    Actually, I feel strongly that almost all children can benefit from Jean's wisdom and creativity. In my experience, almost all the young children I meet - and many, many I have known in the past - come into the world afraid. Or perhaps I should say, they come into the world acutely aware that the adults who love them are anxious about . . . well, the children don't know just what the adults are anxious about [you and I do, though], but they feel it and live it. And this is where Jean Evan's shining legacy can do so very much good. As we learn how to heal children's fears through play, we can find ourselves healing; as we also heal from our fears, the world our children live in shines ever more brightly.

    This is a powerful, graceful book. I hope it reaches millions of hearts. It is a reminder of what is true, what is everlasting - and it is a pathway toward learning to live within that glorious truth.

    Toymaking with Children

    Freya Jaffke


    Add a review

    Toymaking with Children

    Happy piggies from Toymaking with Children

    Freya Jaffke managed to breathe her many years experience as a master Waldorf kindergarten teacher into a volume capable of inspiring, guiding and reassuring new parents toward a balanced, beautiful life with their children. This is a hands-on approach that is deeply suited to working with and understanding young children. This is a book to enjoy in the deepest sense of the word, and makes an excellent companion to Work and Play in Early Childhood.

    The new edition adds color photographs, more toys to make (more joy to bring!), and wonderful discussions of which toys to give to children at what ages, how to create a beautiful, nurturing environment, even tips for clean-up! I have loved this book since it was first published - this most recent incarnation elevates it from "wonderful" to "must have."

    You Are Your Child's First Teacher - 3rd Edition

    Encouraging Your Child’s Natural Development from Birth to Age Six

    Rahima Baldwin



    Add a review

    You Are Your Child’s First Teacher was one of the first books in America to popularize the insights of Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf schools, regarding the developmental needs of young children. This revised and updated edition offers new ways for parents and educators to enrich the lives of children from birth to age six.

    From Nancy:
    This book beautifully covers just about everything I remember experiencing as the mother of three young children. Unfortunately for me, I didn't have this book to help balance my perspective and offer one creative suggestion after another. If you feel somewhat alone and maybe a bit confused about how to sensitively raise your children, I really think Rahima's insights will help you find your own positive direction. It would be wonderful if we all arrived at parenthood knowing everything we need to know, but many of us do not - that's why this book is such a gem.

    Rahmina warns abainst rushing children through childhood. She advocates a 'slow parenting' revolution which will allow children to develop at their own pace, and crucially, will help parents discover confidence in their own ability to parent and enjoy the magical first years of raising a child.

    "Our children need us for the heart connection, but they don't need constant adult input and intellectual stimulation," she says. "Allowing children to be children today means recognising their need for creative play, which is the wor of childhood."

    Rahima's practical, down-to-earth advice will help parents to:

    • understand their child's unique personal, mental, soul and physical needs at each stage of development
    • nourish their child's imagination with simple, homemade toys and materials from the garden and kitchen cupboard
    • enjoy storytelling, arts, crafts and musical activities with their child
    • create their own family rituals to ease the daily routine
    • use imitation, repetition and setting limits to promote positive discipline
    • value their own ability to understand and care for their child

    From the Publisher:
    Some of the most important learning years happen before your child reaches school. In You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, respected Waldorf educator Rahima Baldwin Dancy explains the different stages of learning that children go through from birth to age six, giving you the wisdom and understanding to enrich your child’s natural development in the right way at the right time. Today’s society often pressures us into overstimulating young children with flashcards, workbooks, videos, and electronic gadgets in a well-meaning attempt to give them a head start. But children are not little adults—they learn and grow in radically different ways at different ages, and what we do to help could actually hurt instead.

    A trusted classic for over twenty years, this newly revised edition contains updated resources and additional information on discipline, early childhood programs, toilet training, using home life as curriculum, and more. From language and cognitive develop-ment to appropriate toys and nourishing your child’s artistic abilities, Dancy speaks up for a rational approach to child-rearing, one that helps children be children while we fulfill our important role as parents and first teachers.

    This edition replaces You Are Your Child's First Teacher - 2nd Edition.

    336 pages, 6 1/8" x 9 1/4", 2012.

    Mothering with Soul

    Raising Children as Special Work

    Joan Salter


    Add a review

    This portrait of motherhood and its gifts is at one and the same time both an affirmation of value and a guidepost for those wishing to find their way out of society's conflicting viewpoints. The soul of the child, the heart of the family, the vocation of Mother are all portrayed through real life stories enhanced by Joan Salter's special quality of understanding. Topics covered are pregnancy, birthing, mothering, breast feeding, milks for weaning, daily rhythms, development of consciousness, work outside the family, childcare, love, grandmothers. A warm, heartfelt presentation.

    The Good Sleep Guide - Fully Revised, 3rd Edition

    for You and Your Baby

    Angela Henderson



    Add a review

    * * * Temporarily out of stock. More on the way!! * * *
    If you order this item it will be shipped in 1-2 weeks.

    After my first child was born I was astonished at how little sleep I got because she slept so fitfully. At that time the available advice on the subject ranged from "just let the baby cry" (with the "guarantee" that babies could cry for at most 45 minutes - something my baby disproved absolutely when I tried this in desperation) to "just sleep with the child, then everything will be alright" (unless you have a child who would literally nurse non-stop all night long . . . and did I mention restless?).

    Anyway, it was months and months before anything that resembled a real night's sleep came my way (or hers). Having reviewed this book and Sound Sleep, I have to say that had I known these techniques, and had I had these balanced voices in my life, we would have been sleeping soundly much earlier.

    This book has been available throughout Europe for quite a while - in fact our grandson benefited from it a few years ago. It's a gem and covers everything from the techniques that sooth babies into a sound sleep to diet considerations to room temperature - and at each turn there is an assessment you can apply to discover if your baby is really having trouble sleeping or if you are (both) merely going through a normal period of intermittent sleep.

    A wonderful, welcome contribution to the good health of babies and the good rest of mothers!

    Nurturing Children and Families

    One Model of a Parent/Child Program in a Waldorf School

    Sarah Baldwin



    Add a review

    Sarah Baldwin has created a beautiful portrait of the grace that a Waldorf parent/child program can be -- for the parents, the children and the entire community. She writes from her heart, from her considerable knowledge of children and families, and from her experience leading the Ashwood School's Parent/Child Class. The result is a book that covers all the bases, from why to have such a class at all, to what sort of qualities a parent/child teacher needs, to a detailed description of the rhythms of day and season in her own class. In addition, about half the book is devoted to discussion about parent education, space, publicity, festivals, field trips, birthdays and more. Finally, there are brief descriptions of other Parent/Child classes at other schools.

    All in all, this is a beautiful, delicious resource -- one which will inspire and guide anyone interested in young children, families and the fostering of healthy community. Like a small seed on fertile soil, I can see this book growing beyond its covers until it shares its harvest with all who pass by.