(from: Waldorf Education Worldwide, pp. 142-143, Note the Copyright!)
Taiwan lies on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean to the north of the Philippine islands. Its attraction rests both on its exceptional natural beauty and on the rich tradition of Chinese culture which survives almost unspoilt. The beauty of this natural paradise, however, has suffered much under human interference, yet there are still spots where nothing disturbs the dream of Formosa, woven as it is from tropical colours and the delicate architecture of ancient China.
Waldorf Education was publicly introduced to Taiwan in 1994 through the National Kindergarten Conference organized by the founder of Ci Xing Waldorf Kindergarten, Chuen Sue Chang. Chuen Sue Chang had encountered Waldorf Education in 1989 when she joined a tour to visit Waldorf Kindergartens and schools in Germany. Later on she attended a summer course on Waldorf Education at Emerson College, Britain, where she met John Thomson and invited him to give a lecture at the 1994 conference.
In the summer of 1996 the practical and theoretical in-service training began at the Ci Xing Kindergarten which had been founded in 1977. Lecturers arrived from Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Britain. After three years of experiencing Waldorf Education, parents began to press for a Class 1 to be started, which it duly did in 1999 with seven children, one class teacher and a teacher each for English and art combined with crafts.
A group to study the curriculum
A group met regularly to study the curriculum and support the class teacher. Meanwhile June Lin had also come across Waldorf Education while studying at Ashland University, USA and later in Australia. With enormous courage and enthusiasm she started the first Waldorf Kindergarten in Tai Chung in 1995 with the help of Wendy Duff and Helen Cock, Australia. Since there are now trained Waldorf teachers in Tai Chung, preparations are being made with the help of parents to start a Class 1 in the near future.
State support for Waldorf School
The Ci Xing Waldorf School has been recognized by the local government in Lo Tung, which is revolutionary in the history of Waldorf Education in Asia. The school is working on becoming integrated within the state education system. In September it will receive a new building so that the ideas of Waldorf Education can increasingly be put into practice and take root in Taiwanese and Chinese culture.
Since the reform of state education has been ongoing for many years in Taiwan the time appears to have arrived when Waldorf Education can enrich the culture of Taiwan through a mutual exchange with the state education system.
YA CHIH CHAN
Ya Chih Chan
Class teacher and teacher for English and hand-work at Taiwan’s first Waldorf School. Co-director of the Anthroposophy Foundation.