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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Timisoara Waldorf School – high demand in difficult circumstances

Timisoara is the social, economic and cultural centre in the western part of Romania, located in the historical region of Banat, and starting point of what became the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Two years later, one of the first Romanian Waldorf schools was established here. Year by year another class opened as parents’ desire for an alternative education proved to be evident. Today more than 340 students in school and 110 children in kindergarten attend Timisoara Waldorf School, as there is no room for more.

Already early on a lack of space meant that the first grades were operating in three different public schools. Only in 2000 nine classes could finally move to bigger premises provided by the city. The school building itself though is too small for now 12 classes. It really drains a lot of energy to conduct a eurythmy lesson on stage (with closed curtains), while at the same time a sport lesson is going on in the middle of the hall and in the back students hammer and carve on workbenches during woodworking!

Families find us through word of mouth of satisfied Waldorf parents. While students in some public schools have to wear nametags with their test scores on them, parents appreciate our diverse, artistic lessons conveying freedom, critical thinking and joy for learning. Alumni like to visit us for our events - is that not a good sign? Adolescents come in flocks to our "open days". Many students switch to a school with vocational preparation after 8th grade, some continue with us. Internships at the children’s village, at an orphanage or in agriculture are special experiences that shape individual perception and increase social responsibility.

When in 2004 a foundation called all high schools to participate in a project for deprived children, our classes showed a great response. The students presented a convincing pantomime at the competition and correctly demonstrated how to treat those marginalized children - their contribution was excellent! Since then, three teachers and a number of young people are involved in a day care centre for these children, where they conduct eurythmy and theatre workshops and other imaginative activities. As a result many real friendships emerged.

And our troubles? The state pays teacher salaries and maintenance, but not the construction of new buildings. School fees are unthinkable as poverty prevails in the surroundings. A teacher earns only about € 250-300, a furnished room costs about € 150-200, food prices are similar to Germany - without a second job survival is impossible. We urgently need a canteen, because the parents are usually and inevitably both working and their children must be cared for throughout the day. We are grateful for any help!

Ingeborg Christoff

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