The History of our Association

The association was originally founded by Dr. Helmut von Kuegelgen and a circle of Waldorf kindergarten educators in 1969 in Stuttgart, Germany as the International Association of Waldorf Kindergartens. For over 35 years, it served as the association for both the Waldorf kindergartens in Germany and the Waldorf kindergarten movement worldwide, fostering the development of Waldorf/Steiner kindergartens and training centers in Europe, North and South America, Australia, Africa, and Asia. The Association also hosted international conferences for Waldorf educators and others concerned about the healthy development of the child, published resources and newsletters, and formed collaborative working groups around burning issues relating to the care and education of the child from birth to school entrance age.

As Waldorf early childhood education established itself broadly throughout the world, these growing international activities required their own independent organization, and in October, 2005, the new International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) was founded at a meeting of the “Kuratorium” of the original Kindergarten Association held in Chatou, France. The original association, known now as the International Association of Waldorf Kindergartens- Germany, is one of twenty-one founding member associations of the new association. IASWECE was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in January, 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Our Name
The new and longer name of the association expresses the growing scope of work with the young child– including child care, birth-to-three and parent-child work, in addition to kindergartens and pre-schools.

The names “Waldorf” or “Steiner” are used by kindergartens and early childhood programs in various parts of the world to express their connection to the Waldorf educational movement or to its founder, Rudolf Steiner. The International Association’s new name thus includes both “Steiner” and “Waldorf.