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July 2019

In Memory of Joan Almon, July 14th, 2019


From Our Friends at WECAN: 

Joan Almon, our inspiring, courageous friend and colleague and the founder of WECAN, had been dealing with breast cancer for more than a decade before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June. She continued to be active and full of future plans and initiatives until very recently, and crossed the threshold peacefully in her sleep in the early morning of Sunday, July 14th. She would have celebrated her 74th birthday on August 10.

Our hearts are heavy, but we are inspired by her initiative and tireless good will on behalf of children everywhere. After many years of working as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, Joan founded the Waldorf Kindergarten Association (today called the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) in 1983, in order to provide resources and support to the growing number of Waldorf early childhood educators in North America. She launched the Gateways newsletter, edited a number of publications, and organized the first North American Waldorf early childhood conferences.

Joan also travelled internationally as a lecturer and advisor to countless kindergartens on several continents and was active in the International Waldorf Kindergarten Association. Click here to read a tribute to her pioneering work that appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Gateways.

Joan went on to become co-general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, and in 1999 she co-founded the Alliance for Childhood, in order to reach out more broadly on behalf of healthy childhood, partnering with many individuals and organizations to advocate for the critical importance of free creative play in the first seven years of life.

She was the author of Fool's Gold - A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood, and co-author of Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School. Joan loved fairy tales and puppetry, and performed many marionette plays. Many will remember her ambitious large-scale marionette production of Goethe's fairytale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.

Joan was a warrior with an enormous heart, tremendous will forces, and a deep understanding of the needs of the young child. ˇ˛ A memorial service is planned for late September. We will announce details here in the coming weeks.

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