The Australian Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education (AARSECE) is part of an international movement (IASWECE) dedicated to the protection, development and strengthening of Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood care and education of the child from pre birth to seven.

Aims and Objectives of the Australian Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education (AARSECE)

  • Supporting Rudolf Steiner/ Waldorf early childhood education in Australia and worldwide
  • Organising professional conferences in Australia
  • Producing/disseminating information and educational resources
  • Providing advice and support for new initiatives
  • Supporting training and professional development of teachers/carers
  • Working together with Steiner Education Australia (SEA) and with the International Association for Steiner/ Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE)

Anthroposophy (which can be translated as ‘the consciousness of our humanity’) offers a pathway of understanding for those who are interested in developing an appreciation of humanity, life and the world from the perspective of spiritual science. The work of Rudolf Steiner informs and guides those who strive to apply their understanding of the anthroposophical approach to the growth and development of the incarnating child: body, soul and spirit. His work, including many thousands of lectures, his books and his teachings, offered insights into ways to bring spiritual understanding into our daily experience. Many individuals around the world have incorporated his wisdom into their approach to life and to their work in education, as well as in medicine and health related disciplines, agriculture, architecture, to name a few.

Who We Are

As part of a worldwide movement,  and a partner of the international Alliance for Childhood, the Australian Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education is working to protect childhood. This includes promoting healthy development for children, the establishment of places where children can be given time and space to develop at their own pace, to explore and to play, and to follow their own inner initiative.

The Association had its beginning in 1985 when early childhood teachers convened the first national meeting, called the Vital Years Early Childhood Conference, of teachers and educators. These conferences were held every second year. In 1991, the decision was made to form an Association with the aim of representing, nurturing and safeguarding Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education.

In order to support and connect educators working in various states and regions around Australia, Regional Representatives are selected by the members. Their task is to bring local members together in regular meetings, to share information and organise workshops locally, and to exchange and deepen the work in Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education

The Regional Representatives, together with other office bearers, form the Committee of the Association. The Committee acts as the board, and administers and manages its affairs. The office bearers are Chairperson, Secretary, Public Officer/Treasurer and Membership Registrar.

How Do We Work?

The work of the Association is done on a voluntary basis. Membership subscriptions are used to further the aims and objectives of the Association. The Regional Representatives of the current seven Regions are experienced, senior teachers and are initial contact persons for enquiries and for mentoring. They are responsible for organising regular regional meetings at least twice each year, and regional seminars. The Vital Years is the main Australian biennial event.

The International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE) is a representative body of the cultural impulse of Rudolf Steiner and the worldwide Steiner/Waldorf movement.

As colleagues working together in this world association, our goals are to

  • Foster co-operation among colleagues throughout the world, through meetings, conferences, working groups, etc.
  • Deepen and renew the work with the young child out of the sources of Waldorf education, and support its quality
  • Foster training and continuing development opportunities for caregivers, kindergarten teachers and educators
  • Undertake and support collaborative research on contemporary questions regarding the care and education of the young child
  • Collaborate with parents, other educators, and the wider society about the needs of the young child
  • Protect the freedom and name of Steiner and Waldorf early childhood education
  • Provide resources, information and publications on Waldorf early childhood education
  • Offer support – human, educational and financial – for projects seeking to foster Waldorf early childhood education throughout the world.

“In our Association, all who serve the education of children, the training of educators, the cooperation with parents, and the development of human culture at large –  spiritually, legally and economically, work together…  The fruitfulness of worldwide cooperation beyond all limits of language, politics and religion is a tried and tested experience.” – Dr. Helmut von Kuegelgen

The International Association is active wherever colleagues work together on behalf of our shared ideals for the development of the young child. This cooperation takes place through conferences, meetings, working groups, collaborative research projects, training and deepening courses, and the development of resources, as well as through partnerships and sponsorships among colleagues throughout the world.

The IASWECE Council is the main decision-making body for carrying out the purposes of the association and for developing its educational and cultural goals.   The council meets twice each year for several days. It makes decisions about projects, working groups, conferences and other activities, and is responsible to appoint the coordinating group and board and approve the annual budget. Each recognized member association appoints a representative to the council, with a seven-year term of office. Council members serve as links between the colleagues in their own countries and those in the International Association. Currently, Heather Van Zyl is the AARSECE representative on the council.