The small Waldorf school, Lotus Garden International School, in Pyin Oo Lwin, is located in a former British colonial town in the Shan Mountains of Myanmar at an altitude of almost 1000 metres, about 1.5 hours by car from Mandalay. It is the first Waldorf school in Myanmar. It was founded in 2017 by a practising Buddhist who, together with a Swiss Waldorf kindergarten teacher and an English class teacher, realised his vision of a spiritual education that is also scientifically based.
On the grounds of the Lotus Garden School, in addition to the beautiful gardens, the play areas for the children and the environmentally friendly classrooms made of natural materials such as bamboo and straw bales, there is also a Waldorf kindergarten with several kindergarten groups. The 80 children who attend the school come from a wide variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, creating a colourful multicultural group unlike any other school in Myanmar. The students love to learn and are very engaged. For example, before the Corona crisis, equipped with bamboo poles and discarded rice sacks, each Friday, they collected rubbish from the streets as part of Fridays for Future.
Due to the pandemic, schools and kindergartens in Myanmar have been closed since 18th March. This was just before the Easter holidays, during which time, the teachers gathered learning materials for the children and made them available to the families. After the holidays, they continued with one-to-one online lessons via Zoom, which required creative solutions because of the frequent power cuts. For example, one of the teachers installed a car battery in the classroom to have a constant connection to electricity. Although some of the government schools in Myanmar were gradually reopened for schooling in July and August, there was no such possibility for public schools and private tuition. School teachers made repeated attempts to resume classes, which failed due to increasing numbers of cases on the ground. Since 27th August, all schools have been closed again. So, the imaginative online teaching for the children of Lotus Garden International School continues and everyone hopes to be able to meet again soon, in person, on the beautiful school grounds.