On Japans most northern island Hokkaido opened a Waldorf school 1999 – Izumi-no-Gakko with now 93 children. This year the first pupils did their exam... The Michael College near the school spreads out the impulse through Waldorf courses and adult learning programs.
Cold wind and white snow blows over the children in a small Northern town of Japan. Without feeling coldness, they play around with the white powder snow, just enjoying running on the snow, making snow balls and throwing them to each other. “Children are sons of wind” said Japanese tradition.
The wind of Waldorf educational movement brows strong all over Japan, even in the Northern island Hokkaido, where our school is located in Date-city, surrounded by the sea and the mountains. 6 years ago our school was established for a boy age 11. Today he is one of the two young men who soon will find their way into the world.
The name of our school - Izumi - means Spring, where fresh water comes out. Our school wishes to be like a spring where new life comes about.
Parents are doing a lot to enable this school for their children. The school fees of around 360 Euro are 20% of a monthly salary. Most fathers are living elsewhere, because there are rather no jobs in Date. Perhaps our school will move someday.
Experiencing the beatuy of nature
Anyway, here we are surrounded by a beautiful nature. Children can play and experience nature. Outing, camping and climbing mountains are very popular activities here this school. Outing is the part of our curriculum, in particular of lower school curriculum. High school students have done all season camps including winter camps in the mountains and beside the seashore.
Farmlands are everywhere in this northern island, farmland of potato, of corns, of cows and so forth. So children can experience farm life. We visit farmers and experience cutting wool from sheeps, milking cows, and harvesting vegetables.
The native people of Hokkaido are called Ainu. They have been living in this land harmoniously with nature. Their spirituality is living on this land, even though many Japanese has come and built many roads and cities. We wish to learn from their spirituality, we tell Ainu stories to the children and teach them their craft work and their dances.
Our wish is to leave better world for children, for our young friends. Waldorf education was started in Europe, but its spirit is universal. The spirit is living in Japanese culture and playing a role to heal and transform it.