(from: Waldorf Education Worldwide, pp. 110-111, Note the Copyright!)
The Republic of Moldova lies at the western-most edge of the former Soviet Union, bordering on Romania. “Moldova” is the Romanian name of the old principality of Moldavia, of which the eastern part once formed Bessarabia. Moldova has had a chequered history. It was under Turkish supremacy from the fifteenth century until it came into the hands of Russia in 1812. After the First World War it formed a part of the kingdom of Romania until it fell to the Soviet Union in 1940. In 1991 Moldova made its declaration of independence and adopted Romanian as the national language. As the Soviet Union came to an end interest in Waldorf Education began to develop.
The development of Waldorf Education in Moldova began with two journeys. The first took a delegation of Moldovan teachers including the head of teacher training to Sweden in 1990. There they visited a Waldorf School in Stockholm and the teacher training seminar at Järna. On their return they reported enthusiastically at the teacher training conference at Chisinau about this new type of education they had discovered. The second journey led to Bucharest, Romania, where Vladimir Corceac, a reader at the university, Alexandra Dascal, deputy head of a school, and Veronika Scurov, educational head of a kindergarten, were studying Waldorf Education at the teacher training seminar.
Paid for by the state, 20 teachers from Moldova took part in the international conference on Waldorf Education at Sibiu, Romania, in the summer of 1991.
The first Waldorf School was founded in 1992 when pioneers ventured on the step of opening the first kindergarten and the first school in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital city. Initially there were two first classes comprising 58 children and two kindergarten groups comprising 41 children. Thirteen teachers worked in kindergarten and school. In 1993/94 two more first classes and two kindergarten groups started, and in the years after that there were either one or two first classes.
Waldorf classes in state schools
In 1992, Valentina Raileanu opened two Waldorf groups in State School No. 196. Both groups continued for five years until they could be integrated in the main Waldorf Kindergarten. Ilie Pisarenco founded the third Waldorf initiative in the village of Obileni, 100 km from Chisinau, in 1994. He took on the current Class 3 which he led up to Class 9 when the pupils had to leave because there were not enough teachers for the upper school.
The fourth Waldorf initiative in Moldova began at Ungheni when Lydia Fortuna opened a Class 1 within the state school there in 1995. This initiative came to an end three years later when Lydia was moved to the Waldorf School in Chisinau where she is now a class teacher.
Further classes and groups opened in Orhei, Balti and Tiraspol but were not successful.
Today the Waldorf School is having to contend with mainly physical difficulties. It needs larger premises, and there is a lack of properly trained Waldorf teachers.
Folk music, folk-dancing and the Romanian language
The curriculum of Moldovan Waldorf Schools takes special account of the country’s cultural characteristics, with special emphasis on the Romanian language and literature and the history and geography of Moldova and Romania. Instrumental music is also important. In the lower school the children play not only recorder but also pipes, caval and ocarina. The pupils learn folk-dancing because so far the school has no eurythmy teacher. While Moldova as a whole is mainly orthodox Christian, the parents at the school belong to various confessions. Religion is not taught as a subject at the school.
A very important event for the development of the education in this country was the exhibition on Waldorf Education put on by the IONA Foundation (Netherlands) in the autumn of 1997. This made a positive contribution to the overall political situation in which the Moldovan Waldorf Schools find themselves. The media put out positive reports. So the teachers are looking towards the future with some confidence in the hope that the physical problems, too, will eventually be solved.
Librarian and Waldorf teacher. Since 1992, class teacher and head of the Chisinau Waldorf School.
German teacher at the Chisinau Waldorf School since 1993.