New Zealand Steiner Teaching Diploma Early Childhood

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New Zealand Steiner Teaching Diploma Early Childhood 2016-12-09T14:35:20+00:00

Over the past three decades, Taruna has played a significant role in providing courses for would-be teachers and others wishing to work in this emerging new educational environment. Students have the opportunity to acquire in-depth understanding and immersion experience of the special character of Steiner Education as it has been developed by generations of dedicated educators all over the world.


This programme is for early childhood educators working within Steiner education. It is comprised of two five-day seminars each year over three years, offering a very wide range of options for specialisation, together with in-school mentoring. Participants find that this programme deepens their understanding and inspires their creativity as well as allowing them to develop strong colleagueship across the  early childhood centres.

The NZSTD(EC) is a co-initiative with the Federation of Waldorf/Steiner Schools and endorsed by the International Association of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE). Taruna coordinates the NZSTD(EC), and delivers the seminars that are central to this Diploma. This programme has been specifically designed for people working in Steiner kindergartens, early childhood centres and playgroups, who would like to have a formal Steiner qualification.  If this does not apply to you, please still get in touch as we might be able to help you find a workable solution.

The NZSTE has been aware over the past few years of the urgent need for many Steiner-basedECE edith Early Childhood practitioners to upgrade their state qualifications. This has taken time and focus away from professional development that finds its inspiration in an anthroposophically-based understanding of the human being, particularly the young child.

Taruna is therefore delighted that Kathy MacFarlane and Edith van der Meer are the coordinators for this programme. Kathy has many years of experience as a Steiner kindergartener at the Titirangi School and is passionate about teacher education. Edith also has lots of experience in Waldorf education and is an excellent organiser.

Overview of Programme


The programme will offer a sustained and organised pathway of Professional Development for those who wish to deepen and extend their knowledge, and make conscious their practice of Rudolf Steiner pedagogy as it relates to the young child.

Its intention is to re-examine and open up both thinking and practices, to discover why we do what we do, through active listening, questioning, reflection and engagement on a practical level.

The three streams of cultural and environmental influence, of human developmental phases, and that of individual spiritual development, will be brought together to address the child in its fullness, and underpin an approach to Early Childhood education that allows for the unfolding of the child’s true being in a healthy, integrated manner. The seminars will have a substantial practical component.

Programme Structure

What form will this course take?

The programme will be delivered over three years in six 5-day seminars (generally arranged to be in the school holidays) in January and July or September, starting on 14th January 2017. The first seminar will start at 5.00pm in the afternoon and run until 12.30pm on 19 January. The seminars are held at Taruna. The dates for the subsequent seminars are subject to confirmation.

Participants will be expected to take this on as a professional development pathway, not as isolated modules. As well as providing training and development, this programme will offer a great opportunity for meeting and sharing with colleagues on a regular basis.

In between the seminars it is expected that readings, journaling, meetings/conversations with a mentor and some practical/action research work will be undertaken. Assignment work as well as giving presentations to co-participants of the course will be part of this course as well.


NZ Steiner Teacher Diploma (Early Childhood)

Seminar 1:     14 – 19 January 2017

Seminar 2:     TBA

Seminar 3:     TBA January 2018

Seminar 4:     TBA

Seminar 5:     TBA January 2019

Seminar 6:    TBA


New Zealand Steiner Teacher Diploma (Early Childhood)

The cost per year is $1,995.48 incl GST ($997.74 incl GST per seminar).

This includes all materials, morning and afternoon teas, delicious vegetarian lunches and dinner on the night of the first seminar.

Entry Requirements

This course is designed to meet the needs of Early Childhood Practitioners, that is, those who are actively engaged in working with groups of children aged between birth and seven years. They may be practising in kindergartens, in childcare centres, as playgroup coordinators or be Home-Based carers.


What if I don’t work in a Steiner centre?

If you do not work in a Steiner centre and there is no experienced Steiner mentor available to you, you are still welcome to participate in this course.

  • You will, however NOT receive the New Zealand Steiner Teacher Diploma (EC), but you will receive a Certificate of Attendance.
  • You may also opt to do a yearly 2 week Practicum in a Steiner centre and connect with a mentor at this centre. The costs involved in this are not covered by the course fees. You will then receive a New Zealand Steiner Teacher Diploma (EC) at the completion of the course, the mentor work and the seminars.

Student Profiles

Lizzie Freeman

lizzie-freeman-smallLizzie is one of 33 students on the New Zealand Steiner Teacher Certificate Early Childhood at Taruna. Having just finished her second of four block seminars on the 2-year course, Lizzie says through the lectures, the practical sessions and the rich discussions, her understanding of the special character of a Waldorf kindergarten has deepened and has helped to uncover an inner knowing of how to be with young children.   “We are really learning why we are doing what we do and carrying that inside.  If you know what it is that you’re trying to give to the children then it’s going to help them a lot more.”
When asked what her favourite part of the course is Lizzie hesitates then says “all of it!”
“The course has been ideal for me as in my job I have to share the co-ordination of the centre.  The lectures have really helped bring things together for me and the crafts are new – all so interesting!”

Through the course and her work as a Waldorf educator, Lizzie has learned the importance of being ‘present’ with what she does. “The children need your full attention.  They can actually pick up on what you are thinking and feeling,” and therefore says Lizzie, it’s important to leave your own outside world at the door when you come to be with the children each day.  “Once you’re there in the room, you need to hold the thought of the children.”

Lizzie worked on and off as a reliever for Seven Dwarfs until 2005 when she became permanent staff.  “I worked there for about 8 months (as a permanent) and then suddenly it clicked and I decided to do my state training.”  Now Lizzie says she wouldn’t be anywhere else.  “It’s really rewarding work.  Every day is different – the children always bring out something different in you.”

Giselle Smith

giselle_circleGiselle has recently been promoted to head teacher/supervisor of Seven Dwarfs Early Childhood Centre in Hastings. This is my 8th year with Seven Dwarfs, and I feel that I am ready for this new challenge. Since completing my Taruna Certificate in Early Childhood in 2011 I have also gained my full teacher registration, and attended the Rudolf Steiner teachers conference in Papamoa. I am looking forward to sharing all of the information and skills that I have gained about the pedagogy behind why we do things the way we do.  It was great to be given the information to support my teaching practice and allow me to then articulate our philosophy to others, I am looking forward to sharing this knowledge in my new role as head teacher.

I found the course very well organised, a great balance between the lectures and handwork.  The lecturers Taruna has access to are fantastic! – Mary Willow was always a favourite with her lectures on the child’s will and working with parents.

Learning to needle felt was a skill that I have continued to develop and use, enabling me to create beautiful pieces which support my festival celebrations with the children at Seven Dwarfs.

Singing is a real passion of mine and I found the singing exercises very moving, often bringing myself and several others to tears.

Taking part in the course offered me a chance to network with other like minded teachers and I have formed life long friendships with people. The course was very ‘nourishing’ – I felt so cared for and nurtured by everyone involved, and there was a real sense of unity.