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At the far end of the world

Like a long and narrow strip, between 90 and 400 km wide, Chile extends along 4200 km of Pacific Coast from the southern Cape Horn to the north. The country was formerly known as "El ultimo Rincón del mundo," - the end of the world. Today, Cape Horn is still the southernmost end of the inhabited world.

Waldorf education reached Chile through Claudio Rauch, who had studied Anthroposophy for four years in Los Angeles, USA. In March 1967 he founded the Miguel Arcángel School for children with learning difficulties as the first remedial education school based on Anthroposophy in South America. In 1970, Miguel Arcángel was officially recognized by the state and exists up to this day. In March 1979, a kindergarten opened in Santiago de Chile, out of which the Giordano Bruno School emerged and opened its doors one year later for first and second graders. Unlike in other South American countries, assistance and support for Waldorf educational initiatives in Chile in the early stages came exclusively from within the country.

In 1984, the Ministry of Education granted official authorization to the Santiago based Giordano Bruno School. Since then the Waldorf curriculum is generally accepted in Chile. The initiative, however, has decided not to seek financial help from the government, to remain independent and teach according to the Waldorf curriculum. Meanwhile, the school goes up to 8th Grade. Afterwards the students attend public schools. The directors of the public schools acknowledge the achievements of the Waldorf students and emphasize their extraordinary interest in everything.

Founded in 1984, another capital city based initiative - the "Colegio Rudolf Steiner" - now leads up to 12th grade. Since the school was bursting at the seams, a property was purchased on the outskirts where both kindergarten and school now offer enough space for the children.

Furthermore there is the Colegio Waldorf in Santiago. Following a recent restructuring, the initiative teaches students in grades 9-12. In 2011, the Colegio Waldorf received its official accreditation by the Ministry of Education. As a result students now benefit from the advantage to be able to take state exams directly at Waldorf school. Schools that are not accredited send their students to national exams that are held in sports halls with thousands of students simultaneously. This final exam at the end of Grade 12 enables students to enrol at university.

In the outskirts of Santiago, the social initiative "Kaspar Hauser" was established in 1994. Peñalolén is a highly innovative community in which people from all walks of life are living. Nevertheless, about 60% of the people live on less than 500 USD per month. The community tries to counteract this situation through a Job Centre, the mediation of microcredit’s and a public housing program.

Kaspar Hauser is contributing to the community with its kindergarten (with currently 25 children), its wood workshop and its embroidery. This especially helps women, who gain a sense of purpose from selling the products they make at Kaspar Hauser. Once a month, the initiative is also organizing a bazaar. Moreover, there are regular afternoon meetings with musical and cultural contributions, games, etc., and there is a library, where children are being assisted in completing their homework. All this is offered without any government support.

The “Seminario Arché” teacher training facility exists since 2009 and is now located in the Providencia district of Santiago. There are currently 20 students attending the four sessions offered during the week. About 25 students participate in weekend training. Most students come from other cities. Training to become a kindergarten teacher takes three years, the class teacher training lasts four years. Seminario Arché also coordinates the cooperation of the 24 Waldorf kindergartens that exist throughout the country.

Since the 1999/2000 school year there is a rural school in Limache, located between Santiago and Valparaiso. Only one year after its foundation the school already included a kindergarten and three combined classes. Angelica Vallespir and Jorge Gomez have the vision to build a cultural centre in Limache with a school, a training centre, a clinic and agriculture. Today Limache Waldorf School has three kindergarten groups and 30 children per class leading up to Grade 8. Compared to 2001, the school has grown incredibly. With its beautiful buildings, the initiative is a true oasis and the waiting list is correspondingly long.

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