I am trying to understand the different paths to becoming a Waldorf teacher. I'm a bit confused as to what the actual requirements are. I've noticed that many Waldorf teachers have an undergraduate degree in something other than education. In fact, often it is completely unrelated. What exactly are "foundation studies?" If anyone has any links to share or insight into this, I would greatly appreciate it. Lastly, does one even need to be a certified teacher to teach in a Waldorf kindergarten?
Mama to DS (7) , DD (5) and DD (2) and expecting a LO in 2/14
By "here" do you mean in North America? From my understanding, Waldorf teachers are in short supply (that is, certified through an actual Waldorf program). Most of the programs to become a grades teacher are 2 years if you go full-time, and 3 or 4 years for summer and part-time programs. For kindergarten teachers, there are shorter programs, such as Lifeways which is for childcare providors, which can be done in 1 year and prepare you only for ages up to 7 and the kindergarten classroom only. That said, many waldorf teachers are hired without the training, or with only partial training, because of the shortage of teachers. Also, many do not get the formal certification training but have attended various workshops and seminars, or consulted with or have been apprenticed by seasoned Waldorf teachers. Especially due to the cost of most Waldorf teacher training programs, lots of people go this latter route -- at least in the beginning.
Here is a list of actual waldorf training centers: http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/08_TeacherPrep/training_centers.asp
Hope this helps!
Also, here is an example of teacher training conferences - the teachers in my community where a budding future waldorf school is are utilizing training such as this - http://millennialchild.com/online/TeacherConferences.html
Foundation Studies are the basics of Anthroposophy and Waldorf-related arts. It is a prerequisite for those who attend Waldorf teacher training, or sometimes it is taught alongside teacher training such as the Applied Arts program for Handwork (which I'm really interested in). Of course, Foundation Studies can also be for parents who want a deeper understanding of their child's school and Steiner's work. They are usually held at teacher training locations or Waldorf schools. Here's a link to some locations.
The information MamaSeasons posted is exactly what I would have told you. Sometimes you have a better chance of being hired if you are already trained, but sometimes you can be trained after being hired. I think it depends on the school you're wanting to teach at... whether or not it is a new school who needs trained teachers to lay the foundation, a new school that just wants people with the passion to teach Waldorf, a seasoned school that is more strict about requirements.... I'm sure you get the picture.
One more related training other than Lifeways that might interest you is the program through Sophia's Hearth. Many who work in Waldorf or home nurseries complete it. Here's a link to WECAN's listing of Waldorf early childhood training programs.
Wendy - aspiring Waldorf handwork teacher, computer geek's wife ,
mom to former 2lb preemie (now 9) & 3x
I would add that an undergraduate major of education isn't a requirement of any type of teacher, as most schools I have worked with (both Waldorf and non, here in the NE of N. Am.) expect you to get certified within a set amount of time, which requires some amount of graduate education. My undergraduate was genetics and creative writing, and I'm a certified Waldorf teacher after foundation studies and part-time teacher training during the summers. My master's degree is in education, from a non-Waldorf institution. However, I would say the bulk of my useful training (both Waldorf and mainstream) came from apprenticing with an experienced teacher (22 yrs of public school teaching, 2 years Waldorf teaching).
Most of the Waldorf schools around me will hire you if you are in the process of obtaining training, especially if you have a background/training in other types of schooling and you are willing to complete training and work with a mentor. It's a lot of work to go that route, but I think it's pretty satisfying, having done it myself.
The kindergarten teachers in my area are all trained, but the assistants rarely are. If you're looking to get your feet wet in Waldorf early childhood before committing to the cost of training, that might be a good route.
Cristina, mama to Isabel. Oh how I miss knitting. And sleeping. I miss sleeping.