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.
The Online Waldorf Library offers Gateways articles from 1995, Issue #29, to the present.
Download the article: The Stars are Brightest in Your Peripheral Vision
Bringing anthroposophic insights into the classroom is challenging, because we have to find practical methods for bridging Rudolf Steiner's descriptions of spiritual physiology with the realities of daily life in the classroom. How do we find a link between Steiner's descriptions and their manifestations? We know that the curriculum and its content supports and guides the evolving development (spiritual into physical) of the small child, but finding specific tools to meet the challenges of an individual child's behaviors can be daunting. Steiner gives us a foundation for beginning this work through his descriptions of the constitutional polarities, but the names given to the developmental polarities may seem too medical, too antiquated, or too abstract. At times it may feel presumptuous to even speak about a child's "spiritual physiology" unless we ourselves have developed skills of clear clairvoyance. But the beauty and reassuring brilliance of these polarities is that when they are present, they are absolutely consistent and manifest in forms both simple and profound. They can indeed help to explain the most puzzling behaviors. But not if you just concentrate on the behavior alone; then the child may elude explanation. This is because in many ways troubling behaviors are like the stars in the heavens - they are a little bit brighter, actually easier to see, when we gaze not directly at them but at the "constellation" of daily rhythms and patterns that surround them.
Download the article: In the Light of the Heart
In the Light of the Heart
In the human heart
there lives a part of man
which contains matter
more spiritual than in any other organ;
also a part of man
of which the spiritual life
is made more manifest in matter
than that of any other organ.
Hence in the microcosm that is man
Sun is the heart,
and in his heart is man united
most of all with the deepest fount -
the fount of his true being.
(Steiner, Verses and Meditations, 43)
Take a moment to recall a memory from your childhood. . . . Did you go to kindergarten? What did you do after school? What feelings arise from this period of life?
Download the article: Movement in Early Childhood Education
More than ten years ago I wrote an article on the morning circle for the Star Weavings newsletter. Much has happened since then. We have seen more children with movement disturbances, and we have learned to understand more about hyperactivity and attention deficit. In the area of remedial work, practitioners from different backgrounds have worked with movement programs in order to assist school-aged children with learning difficulties.
In defining the specific task of the early childhood educator in the realm of movement, I would like to start by looking at the spiritual foundation.
Download the article: Movement in Early Childhood Education
The following is an excerpt from the recently published You're Not the Boss of Me! - Understanding the Six/Seven-Year-Old Transformation (see Stephen Spitalny's review on page 37).
As the teacher of the Rosemary Kindergarten in Seattle, I am the captain of my ship, as well as the navigator of its daily journeys into charted and uncharted waters. Inwardly the captain's heart holds two questions: Who are these children? What are their needs? Because of my responsibility for these children from the moment they pass through the gate until the moment when they return into their parents' arms, there are a few important rules I follow when on board this ship: keep things simple, slow down, be present for each family and child, and don't forget to have fun and smile.
Download the article: Stories for the Journey
Hanan is a sturdy Israeli lawyer and a devoted father who experiences the great joy of storytelling almost every day with his young children. He insists that he would have missed this pleasure were it were not for his wife, Tsipori, who has been practicing storytelling as a healing art for several years in the Jerusalem area. Recently I had the privilege of traveling along with Hanan, Tsipori and their children for an exhilarating dip in the Dead Sea. I asked Hanan for permission to share some of the ongoing story he has been telling his children.
Hanan's saga began four years ago as he was driving his daughter to school for the first time. She sat beside him in a car seat, both of them feeling the anxious, hesitant excitement that often accompanies this special event. Just as they were pulling out of the driveway in the early morning for the half-hour journey to school, Hanan decided to rise to the occasion and attempt to tell his first story for her. His daughter quickly became completely happy. Since then she has looked forward to each departure for school because of the special story they share. Hanan has continued what he began that day every weekday morning for the past four years. His young son, who heard every detail of the story from his sister, eventually joined them en route to school for his first day of kindergarten. Both children continue to remind their father of details he has forgotten.
Download the article: From the Garden to the Table
If you ask any Kenyan what their most meaningful childhood experience was, they would agree that it was linked to the shamba or garden where they would help to dig, plant, and harvest the vegetables for the table.
And so, when pondering ideas for celebrating the end of our kindergarten year at the Nairobi Waldorf School, one of our Kenyan teachers naturally pointed out that the many carrots that we had planted in our shamba would soon be ready for harvesting . . . so why not work with this theme for our end-of-year festival?
In East Africa, there are two significant times of year: the "long rains" and the "short rains." Our children had planted the carrots during the long rains in May, and now in early July there were hundreds of wavy green carrot tops, along with a few different herbs and other vegetables, calling out, "Come and pick me and eat me!"
Download the article: Waldorf Education in Mexico
Waldorf Education first came to México largely through the work of Hans Berlin and the first Waldorf school, La Escuela Nueva, in México City, started in 1957. That school eventually closed, but a seed was planted - there are now fourteen schools striving to become Waldorf schools and several more that have incorporated many attributes of a Waldorf education into their more traditional curriculum. Throughout Mexico, there is an ever-growing interest in Waldorf education, partly in response to the inadequate education provided by the public school system and partly in recognition that the future is calling for something new - it seems that every month a new initiative is born somewhere in México. Most of the Waldorf schools go through sixth grade, but there is one that goes up to eighth grade and several others who are exploring the feasibility of starting a high school in the future. In some schools, the parents have started an eighth or ninth grade for their children (many of whom have been in Waldorf schools since nursery), trying to continue to provide the youngsters with a Waldorf curriculum.
Download the article: In Memoriam: Wilma Ellersiek
A letter from Wilma Ellersiek - what a surprise! And not only a letter - a whole packet of gesture games! This was my reward for forwarding the English translations of six verses of Wilma Ellersiek's gesture game poems. What had started only as an enrichment for my kindergarten, Wilma Ellersiek turned into a gift for the English-speaking children in the West. And so she consciously expressed it.
Already past her seventieth birthday, she took on the guidance of a German immigrant to the US who was trying to form simple German children's verses into simple English children's verses. In her detailed responses to our poetic efforts, she laid open the principles of her hand gesture work. (By then, my husband, Lyn, a native English speaker, had joined my translation attempts to ensure a smooth transition into English.)
Download the article: Book Reviews
You're Not the Boss of Me!
Baking Bread with Children
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked
When I began as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, there were not many books available to support my work. I remember being at the bookstore at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland in 1991 and seeing the wealth of books about early childhood all written in German. I was sorely tempted to buy some and hope to find someone who would translate them for me. Of course there were many Steiner lectures in English, but not much specifically for the early childhood educator from a Steiner approach. My main fountain of practical and philosophical support was the Waldorf Early Childhood Newsletter (now called Gateways). Well the times have sure changed. There is a veritable cornucopia of books available for English-speaking early childhood educators!
Articles in this issue include:
Letter from the Editor by Stephen Spitalny
The Role of Handwork: Developing Skills and Meeting the Needs of the Older Child in the Kindergarten by Barbara Klocek
An Archetypal Festival of Compassion and Brotherhood: Celebrating St.Martin's Day by Joyce Gallardo
Salutogenesis by Rainer and Wolfgang Sassmannhausen
The Sistine Madonna: Thoughts and Experiences by Stephen Spitalny
Seven Important Aspects of Mindful Parenting by Chuck Barbieri
The Kindergarten Apron by Annie Porter
Extended Day in the Schools: Sharing Challenges and Raising Questions by Andrea Gambardella
WECAN Regional Representatives/Board Retreat by Nancy Blanning
Two Streams Entwined: The Work of Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber in Relation to Waldorf Education by Trice Atchison with Susan Weber
Casa Emmi Pikler: A Children's Garden in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador by Joyce Gallardo
Waldorf Education and Teacher Training in Chengdu, China by Elizabeth Swisher
In Honor of Betty Szold Krainis: Early Childhood Building Dedication by Christine Inglis and Michelle Kuzia
Mary Theines Schunemann by Cynthia Aldinger and Rev. Carol Kelly