Escuela de la Ciudad de México: Waldorf in the heart of Mexico City
Mexico: Around 20 million people live in the Ciudad de México urban conurbation, which has been one of the largest conglomerations world-wide for years - and all at a height of 2300 M. In the long, stretched out Valley of Mexico, divided up into different landscapes of hills and of small volcanic cones, the mild climate provides pleasant basic conditions of life.
It is Juan Berlin who may be thanked for the region's Waldorf educational impulse, a man who was able to get out of Nazi Germany in 1939, and who, after a long journey, settled down in Mexico, where his family had already arrived some years earlier. On reaching retirement age and concluding the first phase of his professional life, he dedicated himself to translating Rudolf Steiner's works into Spanish, and to building the country's Waldorf movement.
This was successful on a formal level at the third attempt, and in 1979 the "Asociacion Pedagogia Integral" was founded, by Pilar Fenelon, Isabel Fenelon, Laura Larios and Ana Maria Hernandez. Which provided the legal structure for the "Centro Educativo Goethe", from 1981 onwards. The "Centro de Arte" had already began its activities in September 1980, working with around 80 children. As part of this arts center, Isabel Fenelon started a kindergarten in 1981, and five years later the elementary school was founded. Veronika Lozano then began her work in the kindergarten and continues to direct it to the present day.
In 1987, the kindergarten and the two school classes moved premises into a building owned by a grandfather from the school, who wanted a better school environment for his grandchildren, and who could offer the building free of charge. Margarita Castagñon, the mother of these grandchildren and a famous classical guitarist, also began to connect herself to this growing educational impulse.
In the meantime, Pilar Fenelon had returned from her teacher-training at the Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar in Mannheim, Germany, and took on the job of teaching the oldest class. Since that point in time, she has worked as a teacher, and later as mentor and advisor at the "Escuela Waldorf de la Ciudad de México", as the school is called today. The middle school (grades 7 to 9) was added around 2008, with Castañón as coordinator and mentor for the new middle school teachers who were then needed.
Today, the Waldorf School can be found spread out over three buildings, with some quite long distances between these different campuses. Learning at these spread out locations is very heavy-going for students, parents and teachers alike. It was a huge relief, when it was possible to purchase and empty and thoroughly vandalized school building earlier this year. In a very short period of time, with everyone working together, the building could be transformed into a condition in which lessons at least for the middle school could take place this fall already.
The Friends of Waldorf Education were able to contribute through a large donation and a still larger interest-free loan from our South America Fund. It would be a big relief for the school, if it could continue to receive your most generous donations.