In Sweden today there are 80 Waldorf kindergartens. They are organized as private but state-financed kindergartens which follow the national preschool curriculum – Lpfö 98 – as well as their own Waldorf curriculum – “En väg till frihet”( a path towards freedom).
In our kindergartens we welcome children from age of 1 to 7 years. We offer groups for small children 1-3 years old and groups of mixed ages from 3-7 years old, as well as mixed groups for children from 1-7 years old. A well-known everyday rhythm, great care of both the environment and natural materials, as well as the emphasis on each child’s own development within free play, and practical and artistic exercises and experiences are core values. In Sweden there have been Waldorf movements for more or less 60 years. They grew from a great ideal engagement from pedagogues and parents.
Working together. RWS Riksföreningen Waldorfförskolors Samråd, the national association of Waldorf schools in Sweden, has as its task to strengthen the Waldorf early childhood movement and the anthroposophic impulse for education in Sweden, through framing cooperation and exchange between the kindergartens. The association calls annual meetings and conferences with lectures twice a year, in spring and autumn. At the same time representatives from 20 different districts around Sweden hold a meeting where they discuss what is going on in the different kindergartens around the country.
Burning issues. We are struggling to keep our six year olds in kindergarten. All of the political parties have a suggestion of legalization of obligatory school from 6 years. Most Waldorf kindergartens in Sweden have already introduced activities for six year olds run by the Waldorf school.
Training. WLH Waldorflärar högskolan (Waldorf university college) is situated in a beautiful environment in Bromma, Stockholm, close to Solgården, the first funded Waldorf kindergarten in Sweden. So one can really get the feeling of the daily life in a Waldorf kindergarten going on just around the corner. Since the 70’s there have been training courses in Waldorf pedagogy in Sweden.
To get a Waldorf preschool teacher certificate in Sweden you can choose to study full-time for 3 years or part-time (60%) for 5 years. Currently around 280 students are studying at one of the courses or programs at WLH.
Sara De los Santos is a Waldorf preschool teacher working in a kindergarten in the south of Sweden. She has also worked for SOFIA (an organization of international initiatives on an anthroposophical foundation) for a few years. IASWECE Council member.