South Africa: Khanyisa Waldorf School is a very special school that cares for children with various learning difficulties. Currently, 80 to 90 students attend the seven grades of the initiative. Many different fates lead the children to this special education school, where they flourish and develop their talents...
In 1994 the Khanyisa Waldorf School opened its doors with one teacher and three students. The school grew rapidly and three years later moved to its present location in Plumstead, a suburb of Cape Town. In 1999 it was decided that Khanyisa would specialize in supporting children with learning difficulties. Since then, the school offers individual support to students that are not able to keep up with the pressure at public schools (which are often under-funded and have far too large classes).
The aim is to strengthen the children individually tailoring Waldorf education to their age and development needs. Every student, for example, is allowed to learn mathematics and writing proficiency at his or her own pace. The school thereby focuses both on academic education as well as the development of practical skills and life competencies.
Each student has his or her own strengths and is always able to develop a particular strength in a certain field through a variety of creative approaches, through movement, stories and practical problems. Accordingly someone who has problems with basic intellectual skills may develop a strength working with clay or wood, acting in a theatre play, and maybe even in eurythmy or gardening.
Even the plays are adapted to the learning difficulties of children. For example, Shakespeare is set in modern times and slang words are used. The story and the theme, however, are maintained. The aim is always to try and bring in aspects of the life of the students, so that they see that as human beings they are not less worthy than others, despite their difficulties in various areas.
Khanyisa Waldorf School is funded at 60% by donations and therefore continues to rely on the help of the Friends of Waldorf Education and their donors. Only in this way projects can be implemented, which lead to further growth of the initiative. Just recently, for example, five new classrooms were completed.