School & Institute Membership & Affiliation

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For members of AWSNA, both schools and institutes, our membership process serves as a pathway to more deeply engage with the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Schools and AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Institutes through responsible innovation. AWSNA members initially receive annual support visits and then eventually engage in a cyclical self-study/peer review process to strengthen how their organization lives these principles. Schools and institutes who engage with this responsible innovation pathway are representing Waldorf education in North America. 

“Waldorf”, “Steiner” and “Rudolf Steiner” are internationally registered service marks in the field of Education. In the United States, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) holds the rights to these service marks through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In Canada, AWSNA is the owner of the WALDORF and RUDOLF STEINER registered marks. 

Through engagement in the path to membership, members of AWSNA are granted permission to use these service marks.


FULL MEMBERSHIP indicates that a school/institute has matured to stand in the world as an example of Waldorf education. The requirements, as outlined in the Association's Membership Guide, include a 7-10 year cycle of self-study/peer review or accreditation. Both are rigorous processes whereby a school/institute engages in a self-study, articulating how it meets agreed upon principles of Waldorf education, and peer review, openly engaging in qualitative assessment by a group of peers. After becoming a Full Member, schools/institutes engage in collaborative work with sister schools and institutes regionally and continentally. The intention is to support the associate member schools/institutes in advancing their membership, which demonstrates a strengthening of the school/institute. In addition, the continental Delegates work with a consensus model in establishing the levels of membership, the criteria for each level, and determining which schools/institutes have met the criteria.

Accredited Schools: Nearly all Full Member schools participate in the AWSNA accreditation process and are recognized as AWSNA Accredited schools.  AWSNA has dual accreditation agreements with fourteen regional and national school accrediting agencies, and is itself accredited as an accrediting agency by The National Council for Private School Accreditation.  If you have a concern that an accredited school is not meeting the accreditation criteria, please follow the Complaint Policy.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP is the membership category for schools/institutes more internally focused. These schools/institutes engage in an Associate member self-study and receive annual support visits from peers working in full member schools/institutes. These schools/institutes gain strength through association with other Association members in their region guided by the Associate member self-study.  An Associate member preparing for accreditation is a candidate for accreditation.

REGISTERED INITIATIVE is a non-member affiliate category for schools/institutes in the early phases of establishment as an initiative.  They are guided by effective practices, the Membership Guide (available to affiliated schools/institutes) and by a mentoring team assigned from their regional Delegates.
Resources for Initiatives
AWSNA members and affiliates are expected to be in compliance with all applicable federal, state/provincial and local laws and regulation. It is the member/affiliate’s responsibility to be aware of all applicable laws and regulations and to take steps to be and remain in compliance. It is not the responsibility of AWSNA to independently verify compliance. Membership/affiliation in AWSNA is not certification of a school’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

In addition to the many affiliated Waldorf schools and initiatives, there are over 250 early childhood programs working out of the pedagogical insights of Rudolf Steiner. For further information about these Waldorf preschools and kindergartens, please contact:
Waldorf Early Childhood Association
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