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  • 9200 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
  • 916.961.8727

Early Childhood In-Service

♦ Early Childhood In-Service is currently not open for new enrollment ♦

Rudolf Steiner College designed this professional development course for practicing Waldorf Early Childhood teachers and assistants. The In-Service option is for those who have familiarity with Waldorf education and have worked at least one year in an approved Waldorf early childhood setting, under a trained, experienced Waldorf teacher. This program offers a solid philosophical, artistic and practical training for those wishing to work with children in Waldorf early childhood programs, including parent/infant, parent/child, nursery and kindergarten settings.

The full course is designed to include portions of the Summer Foundation Courses, and includes early childhood development, Waldorf early childhood pedagogy and practical activities, as well as the arts. In addition, each student will be assigned a master teacher as a mentor, to provide consultation and support in child development and ongoing teacher development. A nourishing component of the program is the relationship which develops among classmates who are also currently teaching.

Course Prerequisites

  • Bachelors or other four-year degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.7 or higher.  Degree does not need to be in education.
  • Prior experience working in a Waldorf early childhood educational setting for at least one school year. Requirements for prior work experience are:
    • at least three 4-hour days per week (12 hours per week)
    • experience may be as a paid worker or a volunteer
    • must be directly supervised in the classroom by a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher who:
      • trained at an AWSNA-recognized Waldorf teacher training institution
      • has at least 5 years experience working in a Waldorf early childhood educational setting
  • To remain in the In-Service Program students must continue working in a Waldorf early childhood educational setting,  meeting the same requirements as above for hours-per-week and supervision.  Students who do not continue to meet these requirements may request a transfer to the Summer Waldorf Teacher Training Program for Early Childhood

Program Overview

A three year program with the following format: 

Year 1

  • A 3.5-week summer session in Fair Oaks, CA (the first 8 days of which are Summer Foundation Courses)
  • Continuing coursework through the fall and spring, to include observation and mentoring

Year 2

  • A 3.5-week summer session in Fair Oaks, CA (the first 8 days of which are Summer Foundation Courses)
  • A one-week fall session in Fair Oaks, CA that coincides with the Early Childhood Symposium
  • Continuing coursework through the fall and spring, to include observation and mentoring

Year 3

  • A 3-week summer session in Fair Oaks, CA

Summer session classes are from 8 am until as late as 9 PM for the Foundations courses, and 8 AM until 6 PM for the curriculum courses, Monday through Friday and some weekends. The fall session (in the second year only) occurs over a long weekend (Friday – Tuesday) with classes from 8 AM till 6 PM.

Students of this program join the Summer Foundation Courses for their first two summers (which comprise the first 8 days of the 3.5 week summer sessions), and then complete their foundation courses during the week-long fall session in the second year (plus additional online elements in between sessions). 

This program begins in June. For students in Year 3, or those with completed foundation courses, the summer session begins in July.

Topics of study include the following:

Early Childhood Development • Rudolf Steiner's Foundations - Human Experience • Philosophy of Freedom • Anthroposophical Home Care • Medical Aspects • Storytelling and Fairy Tales • Topics in Anthroposophy • Circle Activities • Handwork • Festivals and the Cycle of the Year • Gardening • Painting and Drawing • Child Observation • Biography and Life Cycles •  Outline of Esoteric Science and Spiritual Hierarchies • Inner Life of the Teacher • Speech • Puppetry and Marionettes • Domestic Activities • Creative Play • Music for the Young Child • Eurythmy


Successful completion of this program leads to a Waldorf Teaching Diploma with a concentration in early childhood. 

How to Apply

Currently not open for new enrollment - For information about the Admissions process, Tuition and Fees go to our Admissions page or contact us. For information on financial assistance please contact

Please visit the BPPE Report and School Performance Fact Sheets webpage for information such as enrollment, graduation and employment of graduates for this program. 

Program Director

Lauren R. Hickman, MA, directs all early childhood programs at Rudolf Steiner College and is the Early Childhood Department Chair. Lauren is a passionate advocate for young children and their families. She holds a M.A. in Education from Touro University, an Early Childhood Teaching Diploma from Rudolf Steiner College, a B.A. in International Relations from U.C. Davis and an A.A. in Chemistry from American River College. An alumna of the Sacramento Waldorf School, she has been a Waldorf Educator for over twenty years, as a Parent-Infant, Parent-Child, Nursery and Kindergarten Teacher. She is a former Waldorf school administrator and has served on several non-profit boards. Lauren is an early childhood mentor and a Licensed Preschool Director. One of Lauren's particular interests is bringing Waldorf education into everyday life, by teaching parenting classes to homeless mothers, working with at risk families and bringing festivals, puppetry and storytelling to the greater community.