A Role Model for Alternative Education
Latvia: Adazi Waldorf School exists since 1991. Its foundation can be seen as an answer to needs of many parents, who wished for an alternative to the public school system and thus supported the establishment of a Waldorf School. Today the initiative hosts 12 grades and around 200 students attend Adazi Waldorf School. Since 2000 the initiative is recognized as part of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project.
The open-air “Michaelmas” theatre performance of Adazi Waldorf School is known all over Latvia. As soon as autumn approaches, the preparations for the event commence at full stretch. A castle hill or a nature park has to be chosen as a performance location and the drama, in which all students participate, has to be rehearsed. Finally the time has come: the performance can begin. Following the drama performance, students, parents and friends go on a small field trip, in order to tackle various missions and challenges.
However, Michaelmas is not the only festival being celebrated in Adazi. Apart from internationally known public holidays as for example Christmas, the initiative naturally also celebrates days, which are characteristic for the Latvian culture. An example is the Latvian day of the Latvian mother tongue where people working in the field of culture are invited to Adazi. The School itself is also contributing by participating in a competition together with five other schools.
The weekly routine also knows its specialties. In the afternoon the School offers a variety of activities as for example dance or various workshops, as well as even a filming group, in which the basic elements of the film industry are being taught such as theoretical requirements and even script writing. Furthermore an orchestra is an integrated part of the school. Students from grades five to twelve participate in the ensemble and do not only bring classic orchestra instruments, but also accordion, saxophone, percussion instruments and other objects with a particular sound.
The school is being managed and administered by a private organizing institution, but nevertheless the initiative has to fight time and again against financial challenges. However just for the wish to admit children from children’s homes, money is necessary which the school simply does not have. For this reason it is important that the School in Adazi receives educational sponsorships, in order to remain open for all children.
Even though financial questions are often a difficult topic, the school has a quite successful role in another area. In the meantime, after long wrestles with the public authority, the Waldorf schools in Latvia have their own voice and serve as a popular counsel in educational questions or debates about an alternative school system.