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Gateways is the newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and is the professional journal for those working with young children in Waldorf early childhood settings - kindergartens, play groups, home care programs, parent/child classes and child care centers. Gateways is published twice each year, in the fall and spring.

To order subscriptions or back issues, please contact the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 285 Hungry Hollow Road, Spring Valley, NY 10977. Tel 845-352-1690. Fax 845-352-1695.  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Online Waldorf Library
offers Gateways articles from 1995, Issue #29, to the present.

An index of the most recent issues can be found on the first page, an index and articles of older issues can be found by scrolling down.

Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Observations of Children Under Three in the Kindergarten

Download the article: Observations of Children Under Three

The benefits of mixed-aged kindergartens are many, especially today with smaller families and frequently unsettled family dynamics. One important benefit spoken of is that young children will have fewer caregivers in the early years, if they have been included at earlier ages in the kindergarten. As younger and younger children come into the kindergartens in our schools today, many questions have arisen. This year, I had the valuable opportunity to experience and learn from the addition (due to school necessity) of several youngest children to my kindergarten class.

The primary questions that I carry now are: What is the long-term health impact for children under three years old, of the "kindergarten" experience? Shouldn't children from birth to age three, have an age-appropriate experience instead, because of their critical life stage? What does "kindergarten readiness" really mean, in this age of inclusion? I feel that we need to earnestly revisit this question, in particular.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Observations of Children Under Three in the Kindergarten

Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Deepening Our Capacities to Meet the Children in Our Care

Download the article: Deepening Our Capacities to Meet the Children in Our Care

The content which follows comes from lectures presented by Dr Gerald Karnow at the 2010 East Coast Early Childhood Conference in Spring Valley, NY, on Feb. 12-14. This presentation concluded a three-year consideration of the young child's journey into incarnation of the "I" and how we can observe this unfolding.

Secretly, began Dr. Karnow, we should consider early childhood as the most important work in Waldorf education. The experiences in early childhood provide the foundation for all of life and are most crucial in facilitating healthy incarnation of the human being. Last year the work in our kindergartens was characterized as "priestly." A picture from Steiner's Cosmic Memory describes a grove where the priestess sings her listeners into becoming the vehicle for the incarnated spiritual "I." Her priestly deed was preparation for the human being to be able to say "I." Likewise, the task of Waldorf early childhood education is incarnation of the "I" in the children.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Deepening Our Capacities to Meet the Children in Our Care

Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Letter from the Editor

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More and more it becomes clear that it is all about the will!

The challenges we face as early childhood educators are, by and large, the result of the diminishing will capacities of young children. One of the causes is the proliferation of technological gadgets that are promoted as necessary for modern life, and specifically those marketed for children. Consumer culture has conspired to create products that deliver to young children exactly what is most detrimental for their development, while advertising wizards spin same products in such a way that parents line up in droves to make sure their child is not left out. The gadgets take children away from their life of will activity.

Similarly, the so-called "food" given to so many children is lacking in nutritional value and life energy. Food is the substance the digestive system, the metabolic system, has to work with. This is the sphere of the will in the physical body. Another factor is the way young children are related to by most adults, especially in the realm of verbal communication. Adults offer explanations, instructions, and questions, questions, and more questions to the young child. This prematurely awakens the child in his thinking, and diverts him away from the developmental relating through the will. We see children who don't imitate, who haven't achieved mastery of their own bodies, and who don't (or can't) seem to do anything.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2010, Issue #58: Letter from the Editor

Fall/Winter 2009

Articles in this issue include:

Letter from the Editor by Stephen Spitalny
Developing the Eyes to See by Nancy Blanning
A Contemplative and Reflective Format for Early Childhood Study by Laurie Clark
Child Observation by Angela Michel
Self-Review for the Teacher by Sally Schweitzer
The Importance of Singing by Karen Lonsky
Plant Dyeing in the Kindergarten by Linda Grant
Saint Martin by Michael Martin
Emmi Pickler Haus, Part 2 by Joyce Gallardo
Teacher Training in Mexico
by Louise deForest
Pictures from Norway by Louise deForest
Book Review: Saint Martin Reviewed by Nancy Blanning

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Child Observation

Download the article: Child Observation

The Teacher's Daily Prayer
Loving father, please help me to completely obliterate myself as far as personal ambitions are concerned so that Christ can make true in me the Pauline words 'Not I but the Christ in me' so that the Holy Spirit may reign in me. This is the true trinity.
-Rudolf Steiner

Make me empty of noise, fear, prejudice and any form of projection that obscures my seeing what there really is. Do not allow me to imprint my interpretation and judgment on to the imagination of the child before me. Let me stand in the right place, not too close to see only a partial picture, not within the magnetic ring of reaction, not too far to see clearly and with focus and not so far as to wash over the truth. Let me stand where I can clearly see the whole child. Let me be selfless.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Child Observation

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Letter from the Editor

Download the article: Letter from the Editor

My hope as editor is that Gateways stimulates thinking in our readers, that the support we offer to Waldorf early childhood professionals inspires them to something more. When readers respond in writing and share thoughts with us, then the editor knows what speaks to you in our newsletter. The last issue of Gateways included an article on nutrition in the kindergarten, and it led to being contacted by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt. She writes: I am a Waldorf class and kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin as well as a WECAN regional representative. I read Gateways with enthusiasm each time it arrives. Thank you for all your work with the magazine. I especially enjoyed your last article, "Nutrition for Young Children." I too serve a full meal (including sauerkraut) in my kindergarten very similar to what you are serving your children. Last year I published a book [entitled] Cooking for the Love of the World: Our Relationship to Our Spirituality Through Cooking . . . In the book I invite the reader to perceive the world as spiritual activity. I 'lift' food out of the material realm of minerals, proteins, fats etc. into the fluidity of life. . . .

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Letter from the Editor

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: The Importance of Singing

Download the article: The Importance of Singing

I have often found myself involved in a classroom activity wishing I knew a song to sing while grinding grain, or sewing, for example, that would gather the children to the task at hand. I would often improvise a simple song, but I wished for a resource where this type of songs could be gathered. I felt there must be other teachers who had the same thought, so I wrote A Day Full Of Song as my final project while in training at Sunbridge College three years ago. It is a book of songs in the mood of the fifth pertaining to work in the kindergarten and at home. There are songs for shoveling, raking, hammering, grinding, baking, washing, folding, and so on.

In earlier times, people sang to accompany their work much more than people do today. Not only can it help to pass the time while one works at the multitude of daily tasks which could, if one let them, become tedious and dull, but I believe there are also other benefits to singing while we work. It can definitely help one to bring more joy to any activity, and it may even facilitate the actual physical movements of the body. Moving in a rhythm while working is more efficient, and you may even get more done!

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: The Importance of Singing

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Saint Martin

Download the article: Saint Martin

The following is an excerpt from volume 10 of the Little Series, newly published in English by WECAN in 2009. The Little Series was developed by Dr Helmut von Kagelgen, founder of the International Kindergarten Association, to support the inner work of the early childhood educator, and several of the other volumes explore the major seasonal festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Michaelmas. This study can help to awaken modern American readers to the historical and esoteric significance of Martinmas. While some Waldorf early child educators do not celebrate saints in kindergarten or earlier, many programs celebrate a lantern walk at the time of year of Martinmas, perhaps even the same date (November 11). Saint Martin is also reviewed by Nancy Blanning on page 29 of this issue.

Saint Martin in the Fourth Century
Martin was born in the year 316 in the Roman city of Savaria, today part of Hungary. His father was a Roman officer in the local garrison. Thus Martin was born as a Roman into a military environment. His unusually long life (he died in his eighty-first year) was not filled with inward contemplation or bound to one place. He spent his childhood in Italy, then we find him as a young man in Amiens, in Worms, later in Poitiers or on the island of Gallinaria (now Isola d'Albenga) off the western coast of Italy, to name only a few places, until he finally found a base in Tours for his long journeys through Gaul. He could not be prevented from going into the diocese of Candes to mediate a controversy, although he foresaw his death; there he died on November 11 in the year 397.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Saint Martin

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Plant Dyeing in the Kindergarten

Download the article: Plant Dyeing in the Kindergarten

Sitting by an outdoor fire on a grey November day, five pots of colored fleece simmering and with a group of kindergarten children gathered close around me, I felt warmed through. I felt warmed by the fire's radiant heat and the children's close attention to all I was doing. The Life Process of Warming was present.

The small wood fire burning out-of-doors is archetypal, as one small child reminded me: "This fire is ancient:' Working with the elemental forces of fire and water, and with the alchemy which happens when these are combined with plant materials and sheep fleece, is a deeply warming and enlivening experience. The feeling that lingered after a morning spent dyeing fleece on an outdoor fire was of inner calm, mellow warmth, and clear perception. I became aware of a deep and even rhythm in my breath. There was a feeling of physical strength and of being fully present.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Plant Dyeing in the Kindergarten

Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Emmi Pickler Haus, Part 2

Download the article: Emmi Pickler Haus, Part 2

Part One of this article, published in the previous issue of Gateways, described a visit to Emmi-Pikler-Haus, a residential home in Germany. Part Two gives more background on Emmi Pikler herself and on the two teachers who took up her work in relationship to that of Rudolf Steiner.

A Brief History of Lóczy
After many children had been orphaned by the war, pediatrician Emmi Pikler was commissioned by the City of Budapest in 1946 to organize and direct a foster home where children would live until they were three years old. The fundamental ideas on which this home was founded have a history which goes back to the 1920s in Vienna, where Emmi Pikler went to medical school and received her medical training under Prof. Clemens von Pirquet at the University Hospital.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2009, Issue #57: Emmi Pickler Haus, Part 2

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