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9th Annual Early Childhood Symposium

Transforming Inspiration & Intuition into Practice

November 10-11, 2018

Dates: November 10-11, 2018
Presented By: Early Childhood Department
Symposium Price: $235

Meal Option: Lunches on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11 are included in the conference fee for all attendees.
Vendors: If you are interested in being a vendor at our Early Childhood Symposium, please contact Anne Boyd at

Join us for a weekend of singing, puppetry, workshops, and inspiration with Alice Stamm, Anna Rainville, Annie Bosque, Cynthia Aldinger, Jennifer Aguirre, Stephen Spitalny, Suzanne Down, and more….

Puppetry and opening lecture with Suzanne Down, the founder and longtime director of Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Arts. Suzanne has traveled internationally for years teaching her love for Early Childhood Puppetry, and offering intensive courses in many aspects of puppetry that she has developed.

Workshops are full of practical activities including festivals, music, circle work, puppetry, inner work, and little ones. The movement and focus groups also include singing games and circle work, plus form drawing, eurythmy, working with destiny and more.

Also Included
Marionette performance by the Magic Lantern Troupe
Vendors’ Bazaar on Saturday
Singing with Anna Rainville
Puppetry with Jennifer Aguirre
Lecture with Cynthia Aldinger


Saturday, November 10
10:45a-12:45p and 2:15-4:15p (all workshops are four hours each, spanning both time slots)
Choose One Workshop

Reimagining the Cycle of the Year in Festivals with Stephen Spitalny
Finding inspiration for inclusive and meaningful celebrations for early childhood. How can we create festivals for large and small community celebrations that connect to depths of meaning, and are welcoming for families of all races, cultures, religions and backgrounds? What is the spirit of our time calling for so we can become a more cosmopolitan community? In this workshop we will turn to several sources for inspiration, and look at a new possible Festival year. And we will attempt to create together a Festival.

Singing Games with Anna Rainville
Singing games are a part of every culture and generation. These gems provide healthy opportunities for sensory integration while lifting spirits and building community. Singing and moving together in simple or complicated forms appeals to all ages whether at home, in a classroom, or faculty meeting. They are contagious joy.

Resiliency and Joy with Cynthia Aldinger
How Do I Find It for Myself? How Do I Offer It to the Children? Working with three exercises offered by Rudolf Steiner on Open-Mindedness, Positivity and Equanimity and considering the heart-brain connection recently heralded in modern science, we will begin to create our own soul maps for resiliency and joy. Bring your favorite journal or notebook, a pen or pencil that delights you, and dress comfortably.

Circle Time: Building Gestures and Movements for Stories and Poems with Alice Stamm
Working intuitively is to sense the gestures behind verses and poems, behind the words, to inspire our movements. In this workshop we will explore circle time: and how to build gesture and movements for stories and poems. Zoo exercises will also be explored and how to incorporate these developmental movements into your rhythm.
Class size will be limited to 30 participants.

Five-Finger Glove Puppet with Jennifer Aguirre
Come make a 5-finger glove puppet to accompany a poem with suggestions on how to bring it to life in performance, delighting the children in your care. A variety of 5-finger poems will be provided as well as 2 gloves and materials. If time permits, a second 5-finger glove puppet can be made. Bring your own favorite 5-finger poem if you have one.
Class size will be limited to 20 participants.
An $8 supplies fee will be collected at the door.

The Tiny Rod Puppet Theater and The Amazing Story Egg with Suzanne Down
This is a magical workshop exploring the creativity and story imaginations within the felted egg. We will wet felt beautiful egg forms, and turn them into a garden, rock a baby, swim in a pond, and other delightful story helpers. The children will be delighted with your enchanting tiny Rod Puppet Theater creations, and also the story that lives inside.
Class will be limited to 20 participants.
There will be a $10 supplies fee collected at the door.
Bring a felting needle and an old towel.

Little Ones with Tavia Pagan
This workshop is designed to introduce kindergarten teachers to the magic of the Little Ones. We will discuss the benefits this tool can bring to your classroom while you make a Little One of your very own!
This workshop is limited to 20 kindergarten teachers.
Bring a $3 supplies fee, a sewing kit, and fabric to sew into “little” clothes.

Music and Mood of the Fifth with Andrea Pronto
Explore your voice, sing, and play in the Mood of the 5th. Through exercises, we will bring light and sparkle to our singing voice. We will play the Kinder Harp and learn a few seasonal songs. Please, bring your Harp and a song or Hand Gesture game to share, if you can. There will be some instruments available.
Class size is limited to 15 participants..

Focus Groups

Sunday, November 11

(All Focus Groups are limited to 35 participants)

  • Unveiling the Mystery of Waldorf Education through Parent Work and Community Building Activities with Annie Bosque.
  • How do we build teacher intuition through the study and telling of fairy tales? with Diane David
  • Strengthening the Etheric to Sustain Forces When Working with Young Children with Hellene Brodsky
  • Reimagining the Cycle of the Year through Festivals: Inspiration for Inclusive and Meaningful Celebrations in Early Childhood with Stephen Spitalny
  • Working with Angels: Exploring ways to connect more consciously with the Angels: our own, our children’s, and those of others in our community with Lee Sturgeon Day
  • Parent Child Programs: Conscious Collaboration with Families with Serena Syn

Movement Groups

Sunday, November 11

(All Movement Groups are limited to 30 participants)

  • Eurythmy to Awaken Inner Pictures and Imaginations with Alice Stamm
  • Kindergarten Circle Movements with Stephen Spitalny
  • Building Community through Singing Games with Anna Rainville
  • Moving our Stories Forward: Creative approaches to entering the flow of destiny with Lee Sturgeon-Day
  • Movement and Music in Form Drawing: Learning to nurture ourselves through this meditative movement with Laura Embrey
  • Connecting to the Outdoors through Nature Walks and Bringing the Classroom Outdoors with Annie Bosque
  • Creating a Kindness Ball to Enhance Community in the Classroom with Hellene Brodsky


Lunches on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11 are included in the conference fee for all attendees. Many of our ingredients are organic and locally sourced, some from our own biodynamic Raphael Garden. Select your choice of regular, vegetarian, or gluten-free meals when registering.


Saturday, November 10

7:30- 8:30a Registration Check-In
8:30-8:45a Welcome with Annie Bosque
8:45-9:00a Singing with Anna Rainville
9:00-10:00a Puppetry and Mini-Lecture with Suzanne Down
10:00-10:45a Snack Break and Shopping at Vendor’s Bazaar
10:00a-5:00p Vendor Bazaar
10:45a-12:45p Workshop: Part One
12:45-2:15p Lunch (provided by RSC) and Shopping Vendor’s Bazaar
2:15-4:15p Workshop: Part Two
4:15-5:00p Snack Break and Shopping Vendor Bazaar and Bookstore
5:00-5:30p Magic Lantern Traveling Marionette Theater
5:30p Close of Day

Sunday, November 11

9:00-9:45a Welcome with Annie Bosque, Singing with Anna Rainville, Puppetry with Jennifer Aguirre, and WECAN Announcement
9:45-10:30a Lecture with Cynthia Aldinger
10:30-11:00a Snack Break
11:00a-12:30p Focus Groups
12:30-1:30p Lunch (provided by RSC)
1:30-3:00p Movement Groups
3:15-3:45p Closing with Annie Bosque and Anna Rainville
3:45p Close of Symposium


Alice Stamm has been teaching in both Waldorf private and charter schools for some 38 years and especially, after retiring several years ago, in kindergartens! She has developed puppet eurythmy and also does first grade assessments to round out her love and admiration for this vocation.

Andrea Pronto has taught at Golden Valley Charter Schools, Live Oak, Rudolf Steiner College, WISC, and has conducted workshops for the last 30 years. Inspired by her teacher, Julius Knierim, she continues to deepen her understanding of the Mood of the Fifth and how it can nourish the child of today.

Anna Rainville has lifted spirits with singing games and group harmony for decades. An experienced Waldorf educator, she travels widely to mentor and teach. Her book, Singing Games for Families, Schools and Communities, is cherished by early childhood teachers.

Annie Bosque is the Lead Faculty in the Early Childhood Department at Rudolf Steiner College. She is also the teacher and creator of the outdoor kindergarten program at Golden Valley River School. She completed her Masters in Education at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks with a focus on how to create and support parent teacher partnership. For the past three years, she has facilitated an outdoor parent child program for two to six-year old children and their parents.

Cynthia Aldinger founded LifeWays North America in 2001. Author of the book, Life is the Curriculum, and co-author of the book, Home Away From Home: LifeWays Care of Children and Families, Cynthia has lectured and presented internationally and is pedagogical director for trainings and seminars across the United States. She served fourteen years on the board of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. A former Waldorf Kindergarten teacher, Cynthia received her Waldorf teaching certificate at Emerson College in Sussex, England. A mother and grandmother, Cynthia’s passion is the preservation of the playful spirit of childhood and helping to create home-like environments that provide the comfort, security and activities found in a healthy home.

Diane David is the Director of Early Childhood for the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. She taught for 28 years at San Francisco Waldorf School. She is co-representative for Northern California for Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, a member of the Teacher Education Committee for WECAN, and founding member of Magic Lantern Marionette Troupe. Diane is the mother of six and grandmother of twelve.

Hellene Brodsky brings over 20 years of teaching experience. She has taught parent tot classes through college graduate level classes. She has taught at a variety of teacher training programs that include Rudolf Steiner College, Gradalis, and Journey School. Hellene has learned to cultivate joy, love, and reverence in her classroom like seeds in a garden. She continues to draw strength in teaching by building exceptional “community” with parents and colleagues.

Jennifer Aguirre is in her 21st year of teaching a Puppetry Grades Curriculum at the Sierra Waldorf School in Sonora, CA where she also performs regularly for the school’s kindergartens and festival events. Over the years she has developed 8 different themed Puppet Pocket Story Aprons and for 20 plus years she has enchanted young audiences with her puppets in a variety of public venues. She lives in a Gold Rush era home with her husband where they raised their two grown children.

Laura Embrey has worked with the forms as a class teacher, high school teacher, and in teacher training courses for the last 22 years. Her new books are the result of this work and the recurring question of her colleagues in the teacher training courses: “What are these forms for?” Laura has a Waldorf Teaching certification from Rudolf Steiner College, a California teaching credential, and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a teacher for 36 years and now works at Camellia Waldorf School as pedagogical chair. She has published six books on form drawing and one novel.

Lee Sturgeon Day is a counselor and adult educator. She has been offering practical and imaginative resources to help parents and caregivers nurture themselves during the stresses of life for more than thirty years.  She has taught in several Waldorf teacher training programs across the country.

Serena Syn has been teaching in Waldorf inspired kindergartens and preschools, and LifeWays Early Childhood programs for 18 years. She founded the PeaPod playgroup, a Parent and Child program. Serena has taught and lectured locally and internationally, and is a representative for LifeWays North America, which provides Early Childhood Certification programs for caregivers, parents and parent educators.

Stephen Spitalny was a kindergarten teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School in California for 24 years. His mixed-age kindergarten included children from 3-years-old until they were ready for first grade. Since the mid-1990s, Steve has given workshops, lectures, and courses on many themes for institutions and groups including Rudolf Steiner College and various schools in Indonesia and China. Steve’s first book, Connecting with Young Children: Educating the Will, was published in 2011. Conscious Parenting: A Guide to Living with Young Children and What’s the Story? were both published in 2015. See more at:

Suzanne Down is the founder and longtime director of Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Arts, which has just started the 22nd group in the Year Long Puppetry Training Program. She has traveled internationally for years teaching her love for Early Childhood Puppetry and offering intensive courses in many aspects of puppetry that she has developed. Now she is also offering online writing courses in Walkabout Tales and Protection Stories for children to teachers and caregivers of young children. More online programs are coming up! Learn more about Juniper Tree Puppets at

Tavia Pagan is currently in her ninth year of teaching kindergarten at Golden Valley River School. She received her Masters in Waldorf Education from Rudolf Steiner College, with an emphasis on fine motor development in the Waldorf kindergarten. Tavia enjoys encouraging other kindergarten teachers to simplify their classroom environments, to benefit both their students and themselves.

Art by Ted Mahle

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