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Waldorf Education in Greece

Greece: So far, three Waldorf Kindergartens have been established in Athens. Unfortunately their development is quite difficult, because the Greek law does not allow an official authorization of the initiatives as a kindergarten. Due to this fact, the initiatives run small groups, each caring for about seven to eleven children. Since a few years, there is an aim to found a Waldorf School and currently future teachers are being trained in courses.

A lot of effort and patience was necessary until Waldorf Education could develop in Greece. At first a small group of people tried to make the ideas and aims of Waldorf Education public, in order to arouse the interest in a Waldorf Kindergarten. Unfortunately when this finally happened there were no Waldorf educators available. Therefore courses were established with the aim to train future Waldorf kindergarten teachers.

What began as parents work in 1998 and teachers training from 2000 onwards, eventually lead to the foundation of a first Waldorf Kindergarten. But now it was the Greek law, which got into the initiatives way. Since one could not officially work as a kindergarten, the initiative was registered as a small children-group. During the following years further kindergartens were opened as small children-groups. The constant problem of space, which requires regular moving, is a common problem of all Greek Waldorf Kindergartens.

Because of the Friends of Waldorf Education, which mainly organized the publicity work, regular teachers training and summer conferences are an integrated part of the Greek Waldorf movement. Apart from two groups with 18 students there are also several parent-groups working together. Additionally there is a course for the training of educators, which works closely with one of the kindergartens and thus the trainees are intensively and from the beginning involved with practical work.

The aim of the Greek Waldorf movement is not only the public authorization of the small children-groups as kindergartens, but also the foundation of a Waldorf School. Until the children are five years old they are allowed to attend kindergarten. After that they have to go through a transfer year until they start school at the age of six. It will probably still take a while until a Waldorf School will be able to open, but already now a group of teachers are thinking about the educational contents that would one day form the basis of the new school.

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