This dissertation explores how Waldorf early childhood educators use the theories and practices embedded in Waldorf early childhood education (WECE), which are based on the psycho-spiritual-biological model of development developed by philosopher Rudolf Steiner, to help parents care for their children during their first 7 years. While there is a large body of writing on Waldorf early childhood theory and practice from within the Waldorf community, little has been written in scholarly and academic circles. Seeking to bridge this divide, 12 senior Waldorf early childhood educators who are acknowledged experts in their communities were interviewed. The study gathered information from senior Waldorf early childhood educators through qualitative, semi-structured interviews aimed at understanding the nature of teaching parenting skills that accord with Waldorf early childhood principles. Interview questions were informed by the literature review, which focuses on Steiner’s (2003) developmental theory, Susan Howard’s (2006) outline of early childhood education essentials, and the historical contexts in which these teachings are embedded. All interviews were analyzed using an adaptation of grounded theory methods. Results illuminated 11 major themes to describe how parent educators use the environment and their “being” to offer parent-centered, experiential practices rooted in Anthroposophy that “protect childhood” from impinging cultural conditions and contemporary parenting challenges. Through modeling and relationship with parents and children, parent educators offer a set of parenting skills that support health for families as understood through an Anthroposophical developmental lens. Additionally, parent educators help foster community and attachments such that parents can integrate their learning and begin a path of inner transformation. The study is designed to provide an empirical base to discussions of how Waldorf early education of parents works at the beginning of the 21st century.
|Advisor:||McGovern, Katie, Bach, Lee|
|School:||California Institute of Integral Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Psychology, Spirituality|
|Keywords:||Early childhood education, Intersubjectivity, Parent development, Parent education, Rudolf steiner, Waldorf education|
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