Waldorf Education in Uralsk
Kazakhstan: In Uralsk there is a state school, which has become the first public Waldorf School in Kazakhstan thanks to its Waldorf interested and trained school principal. 28 teachers work at the school and accompany the students from grade one up to matriculation standard. Currently around 230 students attend the school which is constantly growing further.
It is the first reunion of graduates from Uralsk Waldorf School. They come from everywhere, since many of them study in different countries around the globe. When asked whether they are different from other fellow students at universities abroad, they give a lot of answers: We have no fear to talk, no fear of the professors, we can do practical work, we can move, we can dance. Thus the question can be answered with a clear yes.
This success of the school is remarkable, given the many conflicts and disputes with or by public authorities. A true Waldorf education can be offered only from first through to sixth grade. Later on the grades are being checked upon the guidelines provided by the government on a regular basis. The final exams take place at the end of grade 11. In order to meet the requirements, the school has to cut down significantly on artistic subjects during high school.
The state threatened the initiative every now and then with a possible closure of the school. Concerns for example about a new building could therefore quickly transform into existential dimensions. Currently, negotiations with the school authorities seem to promise a safer future.
Parental involvement is still at the very beginning. At first it was difficult to overcome the rejection of Waldorf education at a public school and then, governmental intervention did the rest to prevent the direct and open exchange with the parents. If one takes a glance at one of the school bazaars and takes a look at all the offers on the tables, one can draw confidence that the school community is lively and creative and with time the relationship with the parents will improve and a lively exchange will establish. A start has already been made.
Furthermore the school community is very active apart from the daily school routine. In winter, a tributary stream of the Ural proves itself irresistible for joint excursions of grades from upper school. On such occasion the students enjoy skiing and racing down the slope with full speed. These activities, the drama projects in lower classes and the many artistic courses provide a holistic experience and release the students to the world enriched by many additional capabilities.