Although Canada is a very large country and there are many developing Canadian initiatives in various stages of progress, there are currently only 25 Waldorf early childhood programs in five of the ten provinces.
Waldorf early childhood education came to Canada with the 1968 founding of the Toronto Waldorf School in Ontario, closely followed by the 1969 founding of the Vancouver Waldorf School in British Columbia. Many of these schools were part of the burgeoning growth in the 1970’s and are mostly clustered in British Columbia and Ontario, although Quebec and Alberta have long term established schools. Currently, there is a strong seed-force being kindled on the east coast of Canada as well and an early childhood educator training has arisen there.
Some schools in Canada receive partial government funding.
Working together. The 25 Waldorf kindergartens in Canada are members of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) and are working closely together with Early Chldhood Programs in the United States.
Training. Schools and programs that receive government funding have caregivers who have both Waldorf and mainstream trainings. All other group leaders are expected to have completed their Waldorf training. There are two WECAN approved early childhood teacher education institutes in Canada – The Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (RSCT) in Ontario, founded in 1978, and West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy (WCI) in British Columbia, founded in 1996. Both work with the IASWECE Guidelines and WECAN Shared Principles.
Ruth Ker is the WECAN Teacher Education Coordinator and director of the Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy on Vancouver Island, British Colombia, Canada.