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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 2009, Issue #56: Holding the Adult in a Meditative Light- Deepening our work with Parents in the Parent-Child Class

Download the article: Holding the Adult in a Meditative Light- Deepening our work with Parents in the Parent-Child Class

We are given through the insights of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy a deep understanding of the young child. An archetypal image of health for the whole human being is continually guiding our work. This archetypal childhood is surrounded and penetrated by the calming strength of rhythm, physical and soul warmth, healthy nutrition, purposeful work, ample time in nature, healthy sleep habits, physical movement and above all love. We know too that the soul life of the mother and father deeply affect this incarnating child. It can be said that the child lives within the soul life of the adults surrounding her, especially the mother.

The mother's soul can be pictured as forming a protective cloak around the baby - a Madonna's cloak, raying out into the environment and affecting the whole atmosphere surrounding the child. It enfolds him in warmth and deeply affects him (Salter 91-92).

This true image of the young child lives within us, but the realities of modern life and our own development as human beings can leave us many obstacles and challenges. These challenges can prevent our ability as parents to offer the ideal to our children.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: Holding the Adult in a Meditative Light- Deepening our work with...

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: First Grade Readiness: The Development of Memory and the Transformation of Play

Download the article: First Grade Readiness: The Development of Memory and the Transformation of Play

This article is part of the forthcoming WECAN publication First Grade Readiness: Resources, Insights and Tools for Waldorf Educators, edited by Nancy Blanning. This much-requested volume will include perspectives from experienced teachers, doctors, therapeutic educators and others on what to look for in children who are preparing for the transition to the grade school, as well as examples of actual procedures used in serveral different settings. Contributors include Joan Almon, Michaela Glockler, Audrey McAllen, Ruth Ker, and Nancy Blanning. The book is expected to be available by June, 2009.

It is increasingly apparent to those of us working in the educational realm that the age at which a child enters first grade can be very significant in terms of academic and social success throughout the entirety of the educational process and beyond. A child who is too young for first grade, although many first grade readiness signs are already apparent, may spend his or her grade school years working very hard to keep up, never feeling that he or she fits into the social or academic world of his or her classmates. For some, this feeling of having to pedal very fast to stay on a par with others continues into adulthood, where they always have the sense that they don't quite "get it" Others may feel that there is still something unfinished in their growing up years. Early in my teaching career, I had the great good fortune to work with a very experienced and inspiring early childhood teacher. When I asked her, what in her life had led her to teaching kindergarten, she answered in all seriousness, "I went to first grade when I was five"

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: First Grade Readiness: The Development of Memory and the...

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Sensible Child?

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The following article is an excerpt from the introduction to Rudolf Steiner and the Twelve Senses, a collection of extracts from Rudolf Steiner's lectures on the subject of the senses. It was compiled for the 2008 Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship Easter Conference at Ringwood Waldorf School in England. The compilation was revised and re-edited from an original collection based on the work of Elisabeth Grunelius, Cornelia Hahn, and Helmut von Kiigelgen, compiled for 1992 Kolisko Conference with introductory commentaries by Kevin Avison.

In the first epoch, before the change of teeth, we may describe the child as being wholly "sense-organ." You must take this quite literally, wholly sense-organ.
-Rudolf Steiner, The Kingdom of Childhood

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Sensible Child?

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: Making Peace with Toddler Conflict

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Conflict is inherently distressing for all but the thickest-skinned among us. And, yet, there is a subset of people who seem, in contrast, to be enlivened by conflict. Perhaps humanity can achieve a healthy balance - one that can be learned beginning in early childhood - in which conflict is neither eschewed nor ignited, but is instead met with understanding and finesse. In this article, I hope to shed some light on this age-old challenge and, perhaps, offer some tools that may help us and our children deal more successfully with this inevitable aspect of life.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: Making Peace with Toddler Conflict

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Kindness Ball

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It was August and I was getting ready for the new school year. I was hoping for some inspiration, as I knew one of the children coming into my class had a real reputation in the community for being difficult. A harmonious social mood in my class is a high priority for me. I have come to feel that one of my tasks as a kindergarten teacher is to support learning the social skills needed for resolving differences and being inclusive.

This child was prone to poking, pushing, grabbing, laughing at, and saying mean things to other children (and teachers). I had in place a "watching chair" as a discipline tool in my class. This was in fact any chair, but usually referred to several that were set to the side of the classroom. The rough or rude child would be led there, and with the teacher sitting with him or her, would have a chance to sit and observe ("watch") how the other children were interacting. This has the effect of bringing the child into stillness, which for many children is necessary in order for them to calm and collect themselves. It also serves to give positive feedback to children who are able to be kind and cooperative. I have found this a gentle yet effective way to encourage "listening" on the part of the children.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Kindness Ball

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: Letter from the Editor

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A colleague in Denmark, Christine Christiansen, sent along a short and noteworthy quote from The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson, perfect for starting off this issue of Gateways. Carson writes, "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in:' It reminds me of something Rudolf Steiner wrote (in The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy) that has appeared in these pages before. "Pleasure and delight are the forces that most properly enliven and call forth the organs' physical forms.. . The joy of children in and with their environment, must therefore be counted among the forces that build and shape the physical organs. They need teachers that look and act with happiness and, most of all, with honest, unaffected love. Such a love that streams, as it were, with warmth through the physical environment of the children may be said to literally 'hatch' the forms of the physical organs:' Two different takes on how important it is for developing children to be surrounded by adults who live joyously.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: Letter from the Editor

Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Child's Relationship to the Doll

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In 1995, Bernadette Raichle began Awhina Day Nursery and Kindergarten in New Zealand, which has been a model and inspiration for many others seeking to provide anthropsophically-based out-of-home care for young children. In her book, Creating a Home for Body, Soul, and Spirit: A New Approach to Childcare (WECAN, 2008) Bernadette explores in loving detail the many aspects of making a true "home away from home" for children. These excerpts from Chapters 12 and 13 give a few of her insights.

There is nothing more sacred than making a doll for a beloved child. The creating, which may be experienced as an "ensouling," begins with the first piece of fleece that is taken to begin rolling the head, organically building up, little by little, each layer of wool. . . a gesture of enfolding, of wrapping, until you have before you a beautiful sphere. For the young child, this sphere, which is later to become the head of the dolly, resonates of cosmic memories.

Read more: Spring/Summer 2009, Issue #56: The Child's Relationship to the Doll

Fall/Winter 2008

Articles included in this issue include:

Letter from the Editor by Stephen Spitalny
Reading the Book of Nature by Jo Valens
Creating Partnerships with Parents in First Grade Readiness Decisions by Ruth Kerr
Therapeutic Stories by Cindy Brooks
Reflections on the Sistine Madonna by Nancy Jewel Poer
Working and Living with So-Called Difficult Children, Part 2 by Nancy Blanning
Supporting the Development of Movement in Children Under Three by Renate Long-Breipohl
The Stars are Brightest in Your Peripheral Vision, Part 2 by Adam Blanning, M.D.
Incorporating Movement for the Epileptic/Hysteric Indications by Nancy Blanning

Fall/Winter 2008, Issue #55: The Stars are Brightest in Your Peripheral Vision, Part 2

Download the article: The Stars are Brightest in Your Peripheral Vision, Part 2

Working Towards a Constitutional View of the Epileptic/Hysteric Polarity

When development is closely observed it is always dynamic. What do we mean by dynamic? We mean that it is moving, in process. While modern science loves nouns and labels, facts and numbers, development really happens in verbs. This poses a real challenge, of course, because it is easier and safer to stay with the labels, the descriptors, but that rarely helps us know what we should do. When we can begin to live into the process then we can understand the origin and the healing of a developmental imbalance.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2008, Issue #55: The Stars are Brightest in Your Peripheral Vision, Part 2

Fall/Winter 2008, Issue #55: Working and Living with So-Called Difficult Children, Part 2

Download the article: Working and Living with So-Called Difficult Children, Part 2

Dr. Karnow's presentations began with the following verse, which Rudolf Steiner gave to Dr. Ita Wegman in December, 1920.

The human being is a bridge
Between the past and future existence.
The present is a moment; moment as bridge.
Spirit grown to soul in matter's husk
Comes from the past.
Soul growing to spirit as seed encased
Journeys toward the future.
Grasp future things through past ones
Hope for evolving things through what has evolved.
So grasp existence in evolving growth;
So grasp what will be in what exists.

Read more: Fall/Winter 2008, Issue #55: Working and Living with So-Called Difficult Children, Part 2

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