Liceul Teoretic Waldorf – Learning with head, heart and hand
Moldova: Liceul Teoretic Waldorf in Chișinău was founded in 1992. To this day, it remains a state institution that continues to fight for pedagogical autonomy through many rounds of negotiations and connects state requirements to the Waldorf curriculum. Currently, the kindergarten and classes 1 through 12 are attended by more than 400 children and students.
When the country seceded from the Soviet Union after its collapse in 1991, a time of awakening began and a number of early Waldorf initiatives emerged. Up until today, however, the Waldorf School in Chișinău remains the only Waldorf initiative in the country that was able to surpass its baby steps and build a viable organism. With a lot of strength and commitment, the people at this school work towards Waldorf educational quality and a real sense of community.
Although the status as a state lyceum enables students to complete their schooling with the baccalaureate (A-levels) and provides the school with some financial support, subjects such as handicrafts, painting or Eurythmy are not funded by the state and therefore the parents have to pay for them. Moreover, the loving transformation of the formerly grey rooms into beautiful, inviting classrooms was done over the years by teachers and parents.
While there is still enough time for artistic work in the lower classes, this type of learning reduces as the exam pressure in the upper classes increases. Nevertheless, art is an important factor in bridging the gap between state requirements and Waldorf education. "Even though I had planned to do subject related work during the biology lesson with Class 6, the students entered so exhausted from one of the many examinations that a lesson was hardly possible," says a teacher. Thus, she made her students pick up paint and brush to bring back a little vitality and genuine interest, while they were painting wild animals on large pieces of paper.
From the beginning, the staff of the Moldavian school maintained contact to other Waldorf Schools and soon partnerships with the Uhlandshöhe Waldorf School in Stuttgart and the school in Bad Nauheim (both Germany) developed. Meanwhile, there exists a regular exchange program between students from Waldorf schools in Luxembourg and Romania. Class 5, for example, attends the Greek Olympics at the Waldorf School in Bucharest and competes together with children from different cities in Romania. This is an important experience for students, as they learn and practice different sports together and learn about teamwork, cultural exchange and tolerance.
The difficult economic situation of the country and the extremely low teachers' salaries force many colleagues to take on a second job to make ends meet. This makes it all the more important to get funding from abroad in order to support the teachers more and to improve the quality of education. In addition, the school would like to build a new floor in order to meet the growing demand for alternative schooling.
One person who was particularly connected to the fate of Moldova's first and only Waldorf school, was Alexei Frunza. He started as a dance teacher, but when the school was lacking a Eurythmy teacher, he began to study again. After four years at the Eurythmy School in Moscow and another year at the academy for Waldorf Education in Stuttgart (Germany), Alexei Frunza became the first Eurythmist of Moldova. Through him, the employees of the Ministry of Education got to know Eurythmy, when they were sitting in on his classes.
Unfortunately, a severe disease and the amputation of a leg ended his creative period as a Eurythmist, but also marked the beginning of his activity as head of the parents' foundation. Until shortly before his death he implemented many projects, which greatly improved the structural situation of the school. On 26 July, 2009, Alexei Frunza died. But his impulses, including traditional dancing, have become integral parts of school life.