Ukraine: Dnipro is located in the south-central part of Ukraine and is the third largest city in the country. In Soviet times the city was an important centre of the nuclear, arms and space industry and has developed into an important financial and industrial hub after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
In September 1994 the Waldorf school in Dnipro opened its doors and began offering classes with six teachers and 30 children in two grades. From the beginning, the initiative was supported by Waldorf teachers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They accompanied the teachers, students and parents in Dnipro in their development and provided advice and assistance.
In 2005, the first students graduated from Class 11 with a nationally recognized qualification, which enabled them to attend University in Ukraine. In 2015, the school celebrated its 20th anniversary with a big festival. Currently about 350 students attend the Waldorf School Dnepropetrovsk and about 50 children are enrolled in the associated kindergarten.
Each year, the Waldorf School Dnepropetrovsk also celebrates the traditional Maslenitsa festival, which signifies the passage from winter into spring. At the school this festival is themed "spring with the world" and each class presents a different culture. Attendees of the festival therefore may enjoy European food, an Asian district with Japanese hairstyles and make-up, Indian hand paintings, Chinese magic or American amulets and Jewish jewellery. According to the tradition, the festivities also features a lot of Ukrainian dance, songs and pancakes. At the end of the celebration the Maslenitsa effigy (doll made of straw) is burned and with her all the negative aspects and failures of the previous year disappear.
The school uses the building of a former state-owned kindergarten, which was renovated with the help of parents, teachers and friends from Europe. About 35 teachers are currently teaching the students and in particularly the subjects handicraft and art enjoy an excellent reputation due to high quality teaching.
The challenge in many subjects, particularly at the advanced level, is to find a common path between the state curriculum and Waldorf education. The school works closely with the state educational institutions and uses the officially recognised Waldorf curriculum, which was developed several years ago by state education officials and a number of Ukrainian Waldorf teachers.