Peru: Pro Arte, a cultural association founded in 1984 in Lima, serves as an umbrella organization for four Waldorf initiatives: including a kindergarten with a bakery and since 1992 a Waldorf School with more than 200 students. Both initiatives are situated in the suburb Cieneguilla. The other two initiatives are the Music Association Pro Arte and since 1994, the teacher training facility Goethe-Schiller.
Children of farm workers, guards, merchants or housekeepers, whose parents live of 150-200 Euros a month and children coming from wealthier families – two groups of people which otherwise would not even meet – attend school together, are becoming a community. This contributes to the fact that Cieneguilla Waldorf School is even more exceptional in the environment of the Peruvian school system as it, being a Waldorf School, already is. The main concern of Pro Arte is that the school is open to all children, poor and rich, and the teachers hold on to this principle, despite a constantly difficult financial situation.
The School is located on a property of 3000 square meters. During the first years only a kindergarten and a bakery were being built. Over the year’s construction continued thanks to generous donations and the profit of the bakery. Thus making it possible that the school is able to host the grades 1 through 11 today.
Next to a playground a school garden was established, which has quite a remarkable variety of vegetables, giving it a special significance, as the children are aloud to take home vegetables from the garden. This brings about that some parents allow their children to attend school instead of begging on the streets.
The small orchestra, mainly being developed by two volunteers of the “Weltwärts” program, is a crucial integral part of the Cultural Association Pro Arte. Despite the fact that classical music usually barely arouses interest in Peru, the first public concerts of the orchestra have been a great success. An experience, giving the students a feeling of pride and gratification and motivates them to continue their musical work.
While the school offers a good education, supports musical skills and offers job-preparing courses in the higher grades, the Goethe-Schiller-Seminary trains the teachers of future student generations. The training lasts longer than usual (5 years), but therefore it is based on the principles of Waldorf education and is accepted by the government. Furthermore a three-year course is being offered for already working teachers, in order to instruct them in Waldorf education.