Russia: The first Russian Waldorf School was established in Yaroslavl in 1990 and it was also the first non-governmental educational facility in the region. Three years later, a kindergarten was also founded. Thanks to a strong German-Russian partnership, the school has managed to survive the financially critical situations in the past twenty years. However, just retaining its own buildings continues to be a challenge.
Meanwhile, three kindergartens exist on Wolnaja Street and the school provides education for children from grade one through grade ten. On Saturdays, the school also offers parent seminars with child care on their premises.
The school contributions are 40% of the average monthly salary. The fear of the school community is not only paying the high fees, but also that the City Council claims the right to use the kindergarten facility for its local public kindergarten. Furthermore, the school is just as much concerned about the preservation of its school building. The school plans to purchase the property if it can raise the necessary funds.
In the first ten years the school had to move four times, due to changes in government contracts. In early 2001 foreign language lessons were introduced at the Yaroslawl Waldorf School. From 2004 onwards, government subsidies have been dramatically reduced and the rent has increased. Just a year later, the number of students and teachers was reduced to one third. The ones who hung in there now love their school. They are proud that they were the only private school in Yaroslavl that survived the financial downturn. In the same year, the 11th grade managed to get the best average results in the final exams of all the local schools.
Furthermore, the school was able to establish partnerships with the Waldorf schools in Überlingen and Kassel (Germany) and now maintains a lively exchange through student internships and class projects. A fund was especially created for the purpose of enabling the students to travel between the countries. In 2009/10 students participated in a German-Russian joint venture project and artistically designed a playground called “bridges of brotherhood” that was officially supported by the city of Kassel.