The German Association of Waldorf Kindergartens comprises 558 Waldorf kindergartens at this time, plus affiliated early childhood care in nurseries or in-home daycare provider networks. There are approximately 24,881 children between birth and age 6 in their care.
The Waldorf kindergarten movement in Germany is subdivided into regional working coalitions according to the different German provinces. Indeed, there are different frameworks for the kindergartens in each province. However, the German Association of Waldorf Kindergartens is developing general agreements that will apply to all Waldorf kindergartens in Germany.
Its tasks are also to provide teacher training and strengthen collaboration across regional boundaries. Active collaboration in offering conferences; working together with the Association of German Waldorf Schools, the Association for Curative Education, and the Pedagogical Section in Dornach; as well as collaboration with IASWECE, are all tasks for this association of the German Waldorf Kindergarten movement.
One focal point for discussion in recent years, alongside the development of a teacher training for early childhood teachers, is the quality of Waldorf early education. In the last ten years of Waldorf pedagogical practice, many new themes have been taken up: full-time childcare for children in the first seven years, support for families, the tasks of educating the very young child, strengthening the Waldorf kindergarten as a place for the child’s free play, and many more themes…
In the last fifteen years, childcare has been developed for the very young child, and is now taking place on a widespread basis.
Although an attempt was made to lower the age of school entry to 5 years, the overall experience with that was so poor that children may now once again enter school at 6 years. In certain provinces, it is also possible to start school at age 7 years.
The work of mentoring and accompanying colleges of teachers and boards of Waldorf kindergartens continues to grow in importance. Therefore, the German Association of Waldorf Kindergartens has given this mentoring and advising work its own place in the Association by establishing a new company; consultants (experienced Waldorf educators) work here to accompany and advise the kindergartens in their questions about pedagogy and self-administration.
The situation in Germany, with the generational change and growth in numbers of children through birth and immigration, requires many new Waldorf kindergartens and teachers. There are 11 training seminars for Waldorf teachers and they will not meet the demand. Here lies a task for the future!
Hartmut Beye, is responsible for public relations for the German Association of Waldorf Kindergartens
Website of the German Waldorf Kindergarten Association with the addresses of all German kindergartens and training centers