South Korea: The Waldorf movement in Asia has enjoyed quite a boost since the turn oft the millennium and one outcome is the Waldorf School in Seoul, South Korea, which now bears the name Cheonggye Free Waldorf School. Meanwhile, it provides education to about 250 students in 12 grades with 28 teachers, many of whom studied in Germany. Furthermore, the school library features over 70 volumes of Rudolf Steiner complete works, thanks to German donors. However, on its way to this reality the school community moved five times since its foundation in 2002. In 2009 it received the official recognition of the Hague Circle. On 23 April 2011 the initiative was finally able to inaugurate its own school building in a long-awaited ceremony.
Thanks to its extremely professionally organized and dedicated parents, the school community dared to purchase 1700 square metres of property with a bank loan in August 2009 and then erected a building designed according to the principles of anthroposophy’s spiritual science. With great care and caution the school’s building committee had developed these ideas and adapted them to local circumstances. "A beautiful mountain range winds from north-east to south-west. Below, near the end, where our school is located, it is sunny, bright and warm. The property however, is not quite flat, but slightly inclined. We say: The small children come from heaven, grow up, and then go out into the world to the distant countries. Our school is built along the slope. When the children come to us in the first grade, they are much closer to the sky and thus the lower- and middle school building is further up the hill. Then the students grow up and go out into the world, therefore the building for the upper school faces the valley,” sais teacher Mr. Jun-ho, whose daughter, attends 9th grade.
Located in a peaceful valley not far from Seoul the school is easily accessible by bus and offers a splendid view of nature to the urban children, when they look out of their classroom window. However, compromises have to be made in relation to the schoolyard, which is too small and also used as a parking lot. As an interim solution, a property was leased as a playground, which is situated in 200 metres distance. Currently there is simply not enough money for an additional purchase of land.
With great joy the school community celebrated the inauguration in bright sunshine against the backdrop of a blossoming apple orchard in the valley. Many guests attended, including representatives of the mayor's office of the district Cheonggye and friends from England and Germany. The performances of the teachers, parents and students with Korean drums, humorous eurhythmy and music proved to be highly entertaining. A rarely seen highlight was the cappella choir of fathers of fourth grade children, who had composed a school-swing, which they performed wearing red bow ties, expressing the individuality of the school: “We are the fathers of the fourth grade of Cheonggye Free Waldorf School. Join our choir, if you want to be real fathers of the school!”