Die Waldorfschule Windhoek
Namibia: The first Waldorf School of the country was founded in 2000 with 42 children in two grades. Today the initiative provides 13 grades, two kindergartens, a residential school, as well as an afternoon care, additionally supporting children when needed. In 2008 The Federal Ministry of Economic and Development of Germany granted money to the initiative in order to establish practical classes. Currently around 250 students attend Windhoek Waldorf School.
One Namibia, One Nation, is the principle being followed by the Namibian government since its independence in 1990, in order to close the gaps between the various ethnic groups. Not only the government, but also especially the people teaching younger generations try to foster the values, which, despite all diversity, help to unite the nation.
At Windhoek Waldorf School, students from seven cultural backgrounds come together in order to study collectively. On one hand, the official language of the country is English, whereas one just has to listen on the schoolyard, in order to find out that English has not yet made its way past Afrikaans. The language curriculum of the school tries to provide space for the language variety of Namibia. Apart from English and German the teachers at Windhoek Waldorf School teach Afrikaans and two additional African languages in grade 4.
In 2004 the school moved to a premise of 2,4 hectares at the city border. Ever since, ongoing reconstruction allows the school to create an environment, which is more and more suitable for the children’s needs. Thus, with the help of donations, the initiative was able to refurbish a building for a residential school. Today 24 children live there due to the fact that school is either located to far away from their homes, or it is simply not possible for their parents to pay for a daily ride home. The staff of the residential school has been able to provide a secure and intimate environment for the children, despite the little financial means.
When teachers noticed that especially students, coming from educationally deprived families, were rather struggling with the academic demands than other students, the idea of an afternoon school was developed. Between 1pm to 5 pm those students are being supported with their homework and receive individual lessons – for example in reading and writing. The afternoon program was started in 2009 and the teachers are very satisfied with it, as it clearly improves the children’s learning ability.
In order to continue to admit children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, Windhoek Waldorf School remains dependant on your support. 80 percent of the student’s parents are not able to completely cover the school fee and as a private school the initiative does not get governmental aid. The sales profit of their own products does not suffice to cover the financial needs. Despite all this challenges, Windhoek Waldorf School is putting into practice a whole new approach. The idea that students of Windhoek Waldorf School acquire professional skills next to their regular studies is a school model for the future.
More recent work of the school can be found in a video, highlighting the school's project "Hit the Beat" (summer 2013).