Harduf – The Pioneer Waldorf School in Israel
Israel: In 1989 Harduf Waldorf School emerged from the neighboring Kibbutz school (founded in 1982). It is the pioneer initiative amongst Waldorf schools in Israel and so far the only one that can offer all twelve grades. The approximately 500 students attending the school come from more than 50 different places.
A glance at the map shows that Harduf is situated in northern Israel at about the height of Haifa. A short walk takes you past many anthroposophic initiatives that came into being here over the years. Apart from the school there are four initiatives for curative education, a home for the aged, several kindergartens, a speech and drama school and a youth center there is also teacher training as well as a large biodynamic farm, which has gained quite a reputation all over Israel for the quality of its products, and since 1982 finally, the Waldorf school.
Harduf is situated on a hill, which it shares with two Arab villages. They maintain intensive neighborly relations among each other, because from the beginning, the work in Harduf was accompanied by the desire to foster intercultural understanding and to contribute to the peace process in Israel.
An example of this is Harduf Waldorf School, where Arab teachers are also employed and all children, enrolling in first grade, start to learn Arabic. Already since years, there are several projects between the Waldorf School and neighboring Arab schools. In addition, regular meetings are held between the matching grades of the concerned schools.
In the slightly more remote town of Shfa’ram, Mazan Ayoub, a former Arabic teacher in Harduf, works towards the foundation of an Arab Waldorf school in the context of the olive tree project - a Waldorf kindergarten has been established since 2003. The colleagues of Harduf support him and now there is a joint Waldorf teacher training for future Arab Waldorf teachers.
Harduf Waldorf School is not only a specific role model for intercultural understanding, but also the pioneer school of the Waldorf movement in Israel in general. In the meantime it enjoys a good reputation and great appreciation. The founder of the Harduf Waldorf School started early to work towards an official government approval of Waldorf schools. In doing so, they sought a dialogue with the public school system. By now the students at Harduf graduate with an officially approved certificate at the end of their school career. Thanks to the public approval the government covers the ongoing costs of the Waldorf schools.