Dear Waldorf friends in East and West, North and South,
There are 314 days until the big Waldorf 100 Festival in Berlin's Tempodrom, but only 53 days until the anniversary year begins. So the final spurt in planning is approaching with giant strides, which is why we would now like to inform you again about the current status of various projects. We have news about the "Relay race around the world", which has already picked up speed, especially in Germany. There are also numerous school projects still looking for more new participants. And we are just as happy when you consider participating in the jubilee by initiating your own actions and starting initiatives that have a connection to "100 years of Waldorf School". Everything that Waldorf 100 can and wants to achieve lives from the people who want to make a difference on the ground, and who care about the education of their children and their environment. Here you can submit your project, which we will then display as a "project" on the world map, and here you can also search for projects in which you might want to participate.
Now we wish you all the best for the current school year, and abundant energy and joy to plan and pursue numerous good ideas for implementing your own activities in the anniversary year.
Your Waldorf 100 team
Core projects – Relay race through Germany
The Waldorf 100 sports project joins schools together in Germany because sport inspires and unites people in the spirit of the great anniversary celebration. The pupils run numerous stages on five different routes through Germany in order to collect as many donations as possible for world-wide Waldorf projects worthy of support.
The relay routes run across Germany, from North to South and East to West. In the North, the relay race is already in full swing. After the official start at the "Flensburg-Loves-You-Marathon", the batons were carried through Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg and are currently on the road in Lower Saxony and North-Rhine Westphalia. All Waldorf schools are invited to join the relay race along the five routes.
The anniversary year is also the Waldorf One World "WOW Year 2019". In cooperation with the "Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners", the sports project becomes a supra-regional charity run in which the athletes collect small and large donations on each section of the route they cover to benefit Waldorf projects around the globe. In concrete terms, these projects concern children in the poorest regions of the world, for example, enabling them to receive a warm meal at school. In addition, support is given for the founding of Waldorf schools and kindergartens.
Everyone can participate in the Waldorf 100 relay race, no matter whether student, parent or teacher. Since the sections of the route have different distances, one is allowed to also use other means of non-motorized transport than one's own feet, such as bicycles, unicycles, inline skates, horses or boats.
The relay race is organized by the Waldorf 100 team and Josefina Elsler, who has already gained a lot of experience with relay races as a professional athlete. "As a former sportswoman, I am very happy to be able to organize this unique project. It does not matter how the distances are covered, the only condition is that no engine may be used” said Elsler.
School projects – Waldorf projects
Today we would like to present three school projects that are still looking for more participants from all over the world.
1. Strengthen the inner connection to Steiner's foundation stone meditation
At the kindergarten of the Rudolf Steiner School Winterthur in Switzerland, teachers have decided they would like to encourage the children to connect with all Waldorf institutions worldwide in their thoughts in the early morning hours. This can be done in all different ways. A nice possibility would be, for example, to read Rudolf Steiner's foundation stone meditation for the first Waldorf School (GA 269) together. The global Waldorf movement will certainly benefit from the good ideas that emerge in this way for its work. More information is also provided here.
2. Singers wanted for a Waldorf 100 choir project
To celebrate 100 years of Waldorf Education, the Freie Waldorfschule Esslingen would like to rehearse a choir project with 100 singers. We are still looking for experienced singers who want to perform the St. John Passion by Leonhard Lechner conducted by choir director Christiaan Boele. Boele is a teacher of the "School of Voice Unveiling", an anthroposophical-based vocal training program that all participants will enjoy during rehearsals. The performances will take place from 13-20 April 2019 at Freie Waldorfschule Esslingen and in a church nearby. Interested parties can contact Mr. Klingler or Mrs. Günther directly via E-Mail.
3. Twelve schools in twelve months: Which school wants to take part?
A Spanish teacher couple (Myriam and Pau) with two children, who are closely connected with the Waldorf School in Alicante, want to risk an adventure. It is their wish to visit twelve Waldorf schools all over the world for about three weeks each during the anniversary year in order to find out about the cultural and local differences, but also about the overarching similarities, and to report about them on their blog. In order to implement this project, they are still looking for interested "host schools" willing to be available for photo and video recordings, interviews with individuals, class visits and so on, and where the children could attend school in these periods and find a host family. They also offer to do various jobs on site, ranging from providing substitute lessons (philosophy, biology), gardening, household help, and repairs to working with wool and making dolls. Please contact Myriam and Pau directly via E-Mail if you are interested.
Helena Sandell (Finland) – She works as a class teacher and is a member of the International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education (Hague Circle).
How are the Waldorf schools in your country doing?
In Finland Waldorf schools are a part of the Finnish school system. We get 98% state funding. Our waldorf schools are stable but the upper schools have some challenges. The state upper schools offer many special alternatives in the form of special upper schools like art- music- mathematic special upper schools. Quite many students from waldorf schools change to state upper schools. We do have 24 waldorf schools in Finland and 9 of them have an upper school.
Does your school already have specific plans for the Waldorf 100 Anniversary?
We have many plans for the Waldorf 100 year. It is our federation who is organising these happenings and each of our school has their own celebration on the 19th of September 2019.
Here are some examples of our plans:
* Lauri Porra, who is a great-grandchild of Jean Sibelius, a waldorf alumnus and a very famous musician known round the world, is composing a big composition for waldorf schools.
* Two teachers are preparing a comprehensive multidisciplinary module about the "Bees&Trees" theme for all ages in waldorf schools.
* We will organize an amazing waldorf festival for 1,000 students from classes 7-12. The festival will take place in a historically place, an island in front of Helsinki.
How would you describe the essence of Waldorf pedagogy in a very personal way?
For me waldorf education is life! It is a wonderful possibility to help a child to find his own task here in the world and fulfill it then.
Education: From Science to Art
Waldorf 100-Festival in Reggio Emilia
@Centro Internazionale Loris Malaguzzi Reggio Emilia, Italy
International High School Conference
@Teachers' college, Kassel, Germany
"100 Years of Waldorf Pedagogy – Preserving Ashes or Lighting Fires?"
European Network of Steiner Waldorf Parents (ENSWAP)
@Freie Waldorfschule Berlin-Mitte, Germany
Interview with Henning Kullak-Ublick
"Bold and imaginative approaches to future challenges"
As a school movement arising from civil society, Steiner/Waldorf schools play a leading role worldwide, and not only in education. Waldorf 100 should build bridges and be a global impulse to change the world. In fact, "Learn to change the world" is the slogan for approaching future tasks. We talk with Henning Kullak-Ublick (HKU), the co-founder of Waldorf 100, about the themes of our times and the role of Waldorf education.
Waldorf 100: A hundred years ago, Emil Molt commissioned Rudolf Steiner to found the Uhlandshöhe Waldorf School in Stuttgart. For him, this effort was connected with two impulses: a school or education for all, and the school as a renewal impulse for all of society in the time of crisis after the First World War. Looking back on these concerns after 100 years, what do you think has become of them?
HKU: You can't answer this question without thinking about European history during the last hundred years. Because it wasn't just this one disaster. After the First World War we experienced the plunge into the unimaginable barbarism of National Socialism, totalitarian systems, and the Cold War. We also lived through the hippie era, further women's emancipation, and ecological and peace movements. We experienced waves of solidarity after the fall of the Wall and at the beginning of the refugee "crisis", which is above all a political crisis.
But also civil society, which Rudolf Steiner anticipated with his threefold campaign a hundred years ago, has developed strongly over the past 50 years, and Waldorf schools -- like the campaigns for direct democracy, a free school system and a basic income initiated by anthroposophists -- have played an important role, because they have kept putting these topics on the agenda until they have reached the very center of today's society.
Many people experience the present as a time of crisis, albeit with different signs - globalization, migration and neoliberalism as the predominant economic doctrine, to name but three. To what extent does the Waldorf School or Waldorf education still have the potential to contribute to overcoming these symptoms of crisis?
HKU: I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that we're in the middle of a struggle for human understanding and sympathy. Digitization alone has had such a serious impact on our lives and on our understanding of people and childhood that we are dealing with existential questions that profoundly influence education, ecology, medicine and the social structures of the entire planet.
Waldorf schools are still pioneers of a new understanding of learning and schooling through their absolute trust in the spiritual reality of every single person, but fortunately we are no longer alone and we can learn a great deal from others. Politically, we must fight much more decisively for each family's right to decide for themselves which school is right for their children, without the state punishing them for it. Pedagogically, we must use, expand and defend the freedoms we have, otherwise they will disappear unnoticed in the increasing economization of the school system.
This is the basis on which Waldorf schools work all over the world, and with success as one can see. Can you be more specific about this new understanding of learning and schooling?
HKU: Waldorf education first looks at the people themselves. And lo and behold, it turns out not to be a mere brain that is supplied with energy through all kinds of physiological processes and could just as well exist within an electronic system, but rather a very finely structured being that moves and develops simultaneously on many levels. Spirit, soul and body are not abstractions for Waldorf education, but realities with which we work on a daily basis.
If we want to solve the crises of our time, we must stop perpetuating the institutionalized mistakes of our civilization. But for this we need people who have practiced from an early age how to combine their actions, empathy and intellect and at the same time develop enough inner flexibility to work determinedly without bias on solutions that not only serve their small egos but are there for the world, no matter how far their own sphere of influence might reach.
There will be many events in the 2019 anniversary year in schools, the regions, nationally and worldwide. In your opinion, what is the most important statement that unites all these activities?
HKU: Encounters, encounters, and more encounters, so that we have the courage to do what is right for our time, and do it with joy! That's why there are so many activities for Waldorf pupils around the world, from map and postcard exchanges and relay races to music and drama projects. But it's also just as much about individual Waldorf Schools thinking up their own projects and activities, including looking beyond their own boundaries and deepening their relationships with others.
If we now look at the contents of the core projects – what does the anniversary bring in this respect?
HKU: First of all, we considered whether there is an inner way of working in which the entire Waldorf school movement can participate. This gave rise to the idea that all Waldorf institutions around the world should once again deal with the basic works of Waldorf education, in particular with the three lecture series that Rudolf Steiner gave for the first faculty.
Secondly, we suggested strengthening the teacher's conference on individual students and, in addition, the mutual perception of colleagues with whom we work on a daily basis. In other words, encounters regarding the spiritual work in anthroposophy, encounters regarding student-related teacher conferences, and collegial peer consulting (intervision).
The third element is the Bees & Trees project, which can involve the whole school. In short, we emphasize the courage to do the right thing, and this can (only) arise through the interaction of people working for a common ideal.
The complete interview can be found in the Annual Report booklet of Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen, which will be published in November 2018.