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Waldorf Education in Spain

Spain: In the 1970’s, when the Franco regime was in its final throes (the dictatorship lasted from 1936 to 1975), only a few people in Madrid and the Canary Islands knew about anthroposophy and Waldorf education. At the time those interested in Waldorf education even had to meet secretly. In Spanish bookshops it was impossible to find the work of Rudolf Steiner. Today all this seems quite weird given that the Waldorf approach has also taken its foothold in Spain.

The first Waldorf kindergarten was already being planned when the Franco regime was still in power and was finally founded in the spring of 1979. A German-Spanish family donated a property to the kindergarten including a house that needed renovation. With the help of donations from Stuttgart, and many friends, this house became Spain’s first Waldorf kindergarten, which has developed to host five kindergarten groups today and from which the first Waldorf School emerged in 1990. Now the initiative is called Escuela Libre Micael and is located in the district of Las Rozas, Madrid. It is the first and largest Waldorf School in Spain.

Waldorf education continues to spread and there are now several Waldorf schools throughout the country.

One of them is the Waldorf School in Benidorm close to Alicante. The school was initially founded in Altea when a seventh grade opened in the 2002/03 school year. Only later did the school open a first grade and a kindergarten. In the 2006/07 school year, the initiative moved to Benidorm where it is located today with grades one through six and a kindergarten. This is where the problem starts, because in Spain the Primaria includes grades 1 – 6. With the 7th grade the Secundaria begins, which must be approved independently.

Today 90 children attend the Waldorf School in Benidorm and 25 children are enrolled in kindergarten. Since the school year 2011/12 for the first time there are two kindergarten groups. The language of instruction is Spanish, even though half of the children are Spanish and half of them are foreigners. The next goals of the initiative are to obtain official recognition of its Primaria and when established, apply for the approval of the Secundaria. The building requirements for the official recognition of the Primeria are met. Therefore if all goes well, the school will receive its licence very soon.

The El Til•ler Waldorf School in Bellaterra, near Barcelona, comprises the Primaria with grades 1 - 6 as well as four kindergarten groups, with 20 children each. In June 2011, the first children that were ever enrolled at the school have completed their sixth grade. Unfortunately, it is not possible to expand the school on the current property. Therefore the initiative works towards purchasing their own land and buildings, in order to build up a Secundaria, i.e. grades 7-10. The project development is still in the beginning stage, as the school has to find a property first and then raise the necessary funds. Nevertheless, there is the hope of being able to open a Secundaria already in 2013.

In Olot, Catalunya the La Llavor Waldorf School is situated. This small school has started in 2004 with three children in kindergarten. 2006 a second kindergarten group opened, followed by a combined 1st and 2nd grade of nine children in 2008. In 2010 the school established a second building. The first building hosts a toddler group, grades 1-3 and the office. The second building hosts the kindergarten and a kitchen and dining room. A small wooden building on the property has burnt down recently, yet another wooden building is located some 100 meters from the forest and is home to the senior class. Unfortunately the authorities shut down the school with its 60 children during the 2012/13 school year, because the structural requirements did not meet the Catalan laws. Parents and teachers want to continue to work and are urgently looking for other options.

The Vers el Sol Waldorf School in Girona was founded in 2004 and has already moved six times. Currently the initiative rents an old farmhouse from 1802, which is located between fields – right at the center of the triangle of Figueres - Olot - Girona. Currently, 32 families are involved in the school, 18 children attend kindergarten. Unfortunately this school was closed for the same reasons during the 2012/13 school year.

Furthermore there is a Waldorf School in the district of Galapagar Madrid, then there is the Escuela Waldorf Artabanus and the Autonomous Community of Aravaca, both also located in Madrid. Another two Waldorf schools exist in Lugo in Galicia and in Vitoria in the Basque Country.

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