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St. George School – Pioneers for Curative Education and Social Therapy in Moscow

In the early 1990s a first curative educational kindergarten emerged in Moscow as a result of the joint efforts of educators and parents who had children with severe disabilities. At that time, all children with disabilities were excluded from the public educational system. As a result, the parents wanted to create a place where every child could learn regardless of its degree of disability.

A few years later, a first school class was opened in a small room on the ground floor of an apartment building. Soon after the St. George School ran out of space. Numerous efforts later, the school finally received a spacious building on the south-eastern outskirts of Moscow, surrounded by a park and a lake. With a lot of commitment and dedication friends, volunteers, parents and staff renovated the severely run down building in a joint effort. In 2012 the authorities announced that the building would be allocated for other purposes, but the school fought for their building and got the approval for another ten years. So now there is a certain security, but the running costs of the building still have to be covered by the school community alone.

In May 2005, the first batch of 10 students graduated and as a result the question became arose what these young people would do in the future in their social and professional lives. Still there were no social institutions available in the city where they could learn or simply just live. Therefore, the school established a social-therapy training-course for young people with disabilities. Now they learn and work in the workshops of the school. These include handicrafts and weaving, woodworking, ceramics, housekeeping, gardening and artistic works such as the staging of plays.

Today, more than 20 years later, St. George School has become one of the leading educational institutions for curative education and social therapy in Moscow, if not in entire Russia. About 40 children and 20 adults attend the institution. Moreover, the school has been officially recognised by the authorities and is still the only one to have achieved this. Students from various educational institutions do internships and training at the school and seminars for teachers from other institutions are organised regularly. St. George also started to become active in social work within the district, when the school with its experience helped parents with very difficult children and developed therapeutic courses and started offering eurythmy- and speech therapy lessons. Despite the unique and important work of the school, the government grants are hardly sufficient for the essentials. Teacher salaries are around just € 130 a month. By the end of 2014, the situation became even more dramatic, as grants for adult students were cancelled. Now the future of the school is uncertain again.

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