Argentina: Lago Puelo is situated some 1000 Miles southwest of Buenos Aires, not far from the tourist center of San Carlos de Bariloche and the Chilean border. Right there, some parents began teaching their children by themselves in 1998. Out of their dissatisfaction with the public school system developed the Waldorf School "Crisol de Micael". Currently about 75 children attend the 6 elementary school classes and one kindergarten class. The aim is to teach children values such as freedom, responsibility and respect for life.
At the autumn festival each grade and kindergarten group contributes something from the harvest - different types of grain, corn, apples, nuts, colorful autumn leaves, and especially the products that were made in the classroom: jams, fruit juices, canned fruits and cakes, which were baked in the clay oven and on the fire. Also, handicrafts made of natural materials are being presented. The kindergarten children perform several music pieces, then the festival continues with fun games: sack races, egg running, jumping, fishing, throwing rings...
In search of an alternative to the big city life, the founding families came to Patagonia with goal to raise their children holistically. It was important to them that their children would be perceived in their individuality and would grow up in a socially just society in harmony with nature. After great initial difficulties, the school moved into a former residential building in early 2002. Since late 2003, there is a separate kindergarten building on the adjacent property, which was made available for use. Three years later, the parents built a new classroom adjacent to the residential building for the elementary school.
The school works by means of self-administration, in which the teachers together with committed parents address the important issues of the non-profit association at weekly meetings. Since September 2009, the Friends of Waldorf Education also send volunteers to Crisol de Micael through their “Weltwärts”-program.
Still the school receives no government support, which means that all teachers' salaries, rent and all other running costs must be financed from the income of school fees. This is very difficult and is currently only possible because the teachers work with a minimum salary and some children benefit from sponsorships by donors of the Friends of Waldorf Education. However, the school is able to guarantee education for children coming from low-income families.