Uruguay: The basis of the first Waldorf School was provided in 1967 with the opening of a Waldorf oriented kindergarten in Montevideo. In 1974 the first grade of the “Colegio Novalis” got under way. After more than 30 years the decision to close down the school had to be made in 2008. But as it turned out this end actually marked the beginning of a new initiative: a kindergarten and the still sprouting Waldorf School “Cruz del Sur”.
The first impulse of Waldorf Education in Uruguay, the second smallest country of South America, developed in its capital – Montevideo. More than half of the population lives in this city. The vast grass plains and forest regions of Uruguay adjoin to Brazil and Argentina towards the inner part of the continent and drop away in the East towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Since the right of a free school choice is an integral part of the Uruguayan law, the foundation of a Waldorf School did not have to face insurmountable challenges. With the support in teacher’s training from Buenos Aires, the Colegio Novalis developed very well, even though Waldorf Education was hardly known in the country.
The school surmounted several challenges over the years, but it could not stop various developments which eventually led to its closing in 2008. This step meant a huge gash, as it marked the end of the work of the married couple Grams, who founded the initiative and dedicated themselves to it for decades. Nonetheless it quickly became clear that a group of parents and teachers wanted to carry on the impulse of Waldorf Education in Uruguay. Thus the Waldorf School Cruz del Sur came into being.
Within just two months, a new non-profit supporting association was founded, maintenance work was carried through on the school premises, new teachers were prepared for their assignment to teach the future class 1 & 2 and finally the initiative was publicly announced. On March 11, 2009 11 children in grades 1 & 2 plus 12 kindergarten children enrolled in school in a festive act. The enrolling ceremony was planned with very little means, but nevertheless marked a touching beginning of school time in the children’s lives as well as for the initiative itself.
In order to allow children to attend school, even though some of their parents are not able to cover the school fee, the initiative keeps on searching for donations and educational sponsorships.