WCI Faculty

Waldorf Early Childhood Faculty

Ruth Ker — EC Program Director

Ruth has been an early childhood educator in preschools and kindergartens for over forty years, first in mainstream education and then at Sunrise Waldorf School in BC, Canada where she was a founding teacher. She retired in June, 2016, from the mixed-age kindergarten classroom. Ruth is a Board member for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) where she serves as the Teacher Education Coordinator for North America. She mentors and visits schools and educators in North America. Ruth participated in both the North American WECAN Older Child Research Group and the International one and is an international presenter. She is the author/editor of the books, “You’re Not the Boss of Me –Understanding the Six/Seven Year Transformation”, “From Kindergarten into the Grades and “Please Can we Play Games”

Debbie Laurin, PhD — EC Program Director

Dr. Laurin is an international presenter and author of articles about child wellbeing, child mental health, and childcare routines. She has a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s in Waldorf Early Childhood from Antioch New England University. Debbie’s introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education began in the early 1990’s in Waterville, Maine at a summer intensive at Rudolf Steiner College. Debbie uniquely interweaves information from mainstream research with the principles of Waldorf Early Childhood Education to create a unique tapestry to support child wellbeing. She embraces an approach based on antibias education and respectful childcare practices grounded in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Debbie brings experience as a former Waldorf Kindergarten and Parent and Child teacher and her curiosity and wonder of the young child continue to grow joyfully through her experiences as a grandmother to three. Debbie is involved with an international group working towards their Pikler® Pedagogue certification and she trains in the U.S. and at the Emmi Pikler Daycare in Budapest, Hungary. Since 2003, Dr. Laurin is involved with the West Coast Institute serving as faculty and mentor in the Early Childhood Waldorf Teacher Training, she is a member of the Scientific committee with Pikler®/USA and works with the WECAN Birth-to-Three advisory group.

Astrid Lackner

Astrid received her Kindergarten teaching diploma in Austria and graduated as Waldorf early childhood educator through the West Coast Institute in 2006. She was involved in the founding of the Squamish Waldorf school and has been teaching early childhood classes since. In 2008 she began mentoring students and started teaching at the West Coast Institute in 2016. In her free time she can be found hiking the mountains of the Pasific Northwest.

Esther Chase

Esther took her Waldorf Teacher Training at Emerson College, England and worked for many years as both assistant and teacher principally in the Preschool at the Vancouver Waldorf School. She is also a trained eurythmist and this love of movement is deepened through study, practice and teaching the Wilma Ellersiek gesture games.

Heather Church

Heather started her Waldorf journey at the Huronia Waldorf School as a parent and, shortly after that, began her work as a Kindergarten teacher, twenty years ago. After eleven years of teaching mixed aged kindergarten, at Huronia and Toronto Waldorf Schools, she left the classroom and co-created My Child Myself, a centre that offered parent learning, community building and a shop. Following that Heather went back to the Toronto Waldorf School as Pedagogical Chair supporting parents, teachers and community. Her Kindergarten training was at Sunbridge Institute and Birth to Three Training at Sophia’s Hearth.

Over the last few years Heather has studied Biography, New Adult Learning and Leadership to support her work with parents and teachers. She volunteer as the Regional WECAN Representative for Ontario and Northern New York State as well as a Member of the WECAN board of directors. Currently Heather works as the Early Childhood Coordinator and Early Childhood Faculty Chair at the Halton Waldorf School in Burlington, Ontario.

Ko Chen Hawkes

Ko is a graduate of Hibernia School of Art Therapy & has been teaching, conducting workshops and practicing art therapy with children and adults in private practice. She has been on the faculty the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy for many years. Ko has been traveling to Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China since 2013 conducting workshops in Waldorf Schools and communities there.

Annette Lampson

Annette studied Voice and Choral Conducting full time at the Anthroposophical music college, Alfred Schnittke Institute in Hamburg, Germany. She also has a diploma in Therapeutic Singing. For two decades she has taught voice and music to individuals of all ages and abilities, and directed children, youth and adult choirs. This has included directing Sunrise Waldorf School and Island Oak High School Choirs for several years. She has taught Voice and Choir at the WCI since 1998 and founded and currently directs the (adult) Jubilate Choir and the Glenora Farm Bell Choir for adults with developmental disabilities.

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith, a native of Vancouver, is a speech artist, specializing in pedagogical and therapeutic speech art. Her work with the word has led her to learn in Europe (School for Speech and Artistic Speech Therapy, Stuttgart; Goetheanum Speech School) and to perform and teach in many places throughout North America. Patricia also enjoys being part of the storytelling community in the Vancouver area. Patricia has taught speech at WCI for over 20 years.

Wendalyn von Meyenfeldt

Wendalyn has taught with the West Coast Institute since its beginning. She began her ‘Waldorf Career’ as a Kindergarten Teacher, and later studied Eurythmy and Therapeutic Eurythmy. Wendalyn has taught Eurythmy and Movement Education for many years in a number of BC Waldorf Schools and in several Canadian teacher-training institutes.  She enjoys writing poems and stories for children’s movement circles, and helping teachers create their own beautiful and meaningful gestures for classroom work.

Herb Walsh

Herb has been teaching practical arts: clay modeling, wood and copper, for WCI since 2017 and is a Board Member. He is semi-retired and makes his living doing small renovations and building furniture. Herb and his wife Monique have five sons and have spent many years as part of the Vancouver Anthroposophical community.

Jane Williams

Jane is an international trainer in Spacial Dynamics® and a certified Spacial Dynamics® therapist. She has assisted in Spacial Dynamics trainings internationally and is currently leading a training in Vancouver with 2 of her colleagues. Jane’s professional studies and interests in complimentary health form the basis for her own self development and her integrative approach in her work.

She has brought together many years of experience in working with women with trauma, stress, poor sleeping patterns, osteoporosis, childbearing and menopause and has been leading Women’s Wellness retreats in Spacial Dynamics with her colleagues in Canada and New Zealand.

Jane has over 35 years’ experience as a Physiotherapist and is the director of the 19th Street Physiotherapy Clinic in North Vancouver, BC. She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, a Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapist and has been teaching Therapeutic Touch for over 30 years. Jane is on the board for Hands in Peace Canada and The Greater Vancouver Therapeutical Society for Anthroposophic Medicine.

Jason Yates

In 1997, Jason Yates received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University before working internationally as a technology consultant, primarily in the field of virtual reality. He completed the Consciousness Studies program at Rudolf Steiner College in 2006 and went on to join the eurythmy training, graduating in 2010. Following two years of performing in Europe and Asia, Jason completed his therapeutic eurythmy training in Germany before joining the Cascadia Society for Social Working, a Camphill community serving adults with special needs in North Vancouver. Jason has an MA in therapeutic eurythmy from Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences, serves on several non-profit boards, and is a teacher at the Vancouver Waldorf School.

Waldorf Early Childhood Adjunct Faculty

Jenna Card

Jenna Card, a Certified Compassionate Communication Trainer, excels at facilitating heart centered connection.  A 25-year veteran of the corporate world, Jenna blends attunement, clarity and insight as she skillfully guides business, communities, and individuals into more effective, fulfilling relationships and outcomes.

Kim Hunter

Kim graduated in 1998 with the first group of Waldorf Early Childhood Educators to complete the training through the West Coast Institute. She worked at the Vancouver Waldorf School and then taught out of her home on Salt Spring Island, BC for a total of twenty years. In 2014 Kim’s film, Time to Play, was released and in 2016 she received The Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Since then Kim has been lecturing, teaching and mentoring on education in Waldorf and other alternative educational situations, as well as mainstream environments.

Dorota Ignaszewska

Biography to come

Waldorf Early Childhood Visiting Faculty

Laurie Clarke

Laurie Clark has had the privilege of being a Waldorf early childhood educator for more than four decades. She incorporates her therapeutic training into all aspects of her teaching and is in continual research through observation and engagement with young children. Laurie has an Associate of Arts Degree and was trained at Rudolf Steiner College. She completed the Remedial Waldorf Training with the Association of Healing Education.

Laurie is a mentor to teachers, a conference presenter, teaches in various Waldorf trainings and has co-authored two books with Nancy Blanning on therapeutic movement for young children. She is a WECAN representative, a member of the WECAN Teacher Trainers committee and enjoys being a member of the Waldorf Research Group.

Michael Soulé

Michael has a teacher training certificate and an MA from Antioch and has been involved in teacher training for 25 years. He has been involved in the anthroposophical Social Development work and also with Leading with Spirit.







West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy

Email: info(at)westcoastinstitute.org
Tel: 604-740-0539