20 Years of Waldorf Education in Cluj-Napoca
Romania: In 2012, the Cluj-Napoca Waldorf School celebrated its 20th anniversary. Cluj-Napoca is located in western Transylvania by the river Someșul Mic in an area, which is dominated by mountains and forests. Cluj-Napoca is the centre of the metropolitan region with the same name that includes seventeen other municipalities within the surrounding area. The total population of the metropolitan area is approximately 380,000. Currently, more than 200 students attend the local Waldorf School. The public acceptance is clearly proven by the growing numbers of children attending the kindergarten groups and the elementary grades.
Thanks to the substantial support of the Software AG Foundation, the school was able to obtain a large building on a hill in an urban development area. This building will be big enough to host all twelve grades with two parallel classes each.
Following the expansion that included new classrooms and a sport and music hall, the lower grades have enough space for high quality education. In accordance with government regulations, there is also a school canteen with a dining room and a student lounge for parents and visitors. A school mother runs the kitchen. Income from renting the leftover space has reduced recently. Apart from an office space the school only sublets a workshop and a storage room.
The new location of the school, the greater availability of kindergarten groups and the good work has strongly increased the size of the classes.
Since there are no possibilities for Waldorf teacher training in Romania anymore, the school is forced to entrust new teachers after a short introduction phase with a class and can only bring its new teachers closer to Waldorf education over time. This process can only work if former Romanian-speaking teachers serve as mentors to the new teachers. As a result there is an urgent need for local training program in Romanian language.
It is quite surprising to see how the initiative has managed to develop into a stable and well run school despite many difficulties. And the development continues as more and more parents are getting involved. This in turn requires the faculty to develop structures that ensure that the collaboration is steered in the right direction. Another challenge that now has to follow the intensive work on the external shaping of the school, is the development of a concept for middle and upper school and the strengthening of the inner substance that is required for establishing a Waldorf school.