Óbuda Waldorf School, Hungary
Óbuda Waldorf School is an independent alternativeschool in Budapest, the capital city in Hungary. It was founded in 1991 as a kindergarten by parents' initiative and the first classstarted in the following year with 19 children.
The first class teacher, Attila Szecsodi, has been the headmaster of the school since that time.
It educates according to the principles of Steiner Waldorf Education.
Today classes range from kindergarten to the upper schoolwith an enrolment of over 440 students. In the first 4 years of the primary school and in the 9th year of the upper school there are parallel classes.
The school has its own building for the lower and middle classes, and a place is rented nearby for the use of the upper school.
The current Erasmus project - Achieving Together - is the fourth in a row of Comenius projects. The first three have been bilateral, this is the first multilateral venture for the school.
Joining international projects has always been a priority for the upper school since they offer wonderful opportunities for students to develop and maintain different skills. Being young citizens of a small nation and language it seems essential to gain confidence in communicating in foreign languages, to understand what it means to be part of the European Community, to raise cultural awareness and show empathy towards different cultures and people.
Working together on a specific task strenghtens the students' interpersonal skills - they very often make long-lasting friendships - and they can take pride in the outcomes of their common efforts.
Freie Waldorfschule Saar-Hunsrück
Freie Waldorfschule Saar-Hunsrück was founded in 1997and educates according to the principles of Steiner Waldorf Education. It is located in the German Bundesland of Saarland and is in a rural location, not too far from the ancient Roman city of Trier.
The school now has 320 pupils and offers education from Class 1 up to Class 13. Only half of all pupils study for the German Abitur; the other pupils leave the school after Class 12 to work or to take up apprenticeships. The Upper School students have 2 blocks of practical work experience each year. The pupils in Class 9 experience agriculture and handwork, those in Class 10 undertake surveying and work
Experience, Pupils in both Classes 11 and 12 have social practice, which lasts for three weeks. This is a very positive experience for the students with very positive feedback from the managers.
The school also has a little farm with goats, sheep, chickens and cows. This is an integral part of the school and every morning children from Classes 1 to 7 go to the farm on a rota basis. They produce vegetables which they then sell thus learning many skills. Should a child experience problems in class, it is possible for them to help out at the farm and the effects have been proven to be beneficial.
The school is particularly interested in developing longer pupil exchanges for individual pupils and sees motivation of students and teachers as a goal. It is also looking forward to developing an exchange programme with Strasbourg (only
200km away) with a view to strengthening interest in the French language. Integration and increasing co-operation and self esteem are further goals, which the school is hoping it can improve by working with its partner schools, not just for the duration of the project, but looking into the future too.
Ecole Michaël de Strasbourg
Ecole Michaël de Strasbourg was founded in 1946 and follows the Waldorf curriculum. It is the oldest Waldorf school in France. In the eighties there were 2 schools in Strasbourg, but they amalgamated in 1998. It is one of only 6 Waldorf schools in France that has an Upper School. The school building itself was donated to the school and is like a mini chateau. However, it is in constant need of renovation and the parents work on it every year. Also, there is very little outdoor space as it is in the city centre.
There are 30 teachers, 20 of whom are full-time. There is no state funding for the school, although 4 teachers are paid by the state. Parents pay according to their salary. Classes 1 to 8 have an average of 15 to18 students. Some classes are two classes joined together due to lack of numbers. Class 5 in the school already has connections to a school in Germany, in Offenburg. Unfortunately the school loses pupils each year, with many leaving due to financial problems. This places a strain on the budget.
The school organises lots of exchanges with English speaking countries - USA, Canada, Australia. The Erasmus project was felt to be important by placing co-operation with other countries at its forefront, allowing the exchange of pupils to be facilitated. This would also make the learning of other languages something that was usual, not unusual. With Strasbourg being in some senses at the very heart of the European Union, it seemed only right that the school was involved with other schools within Europe to help foster the co-operation that goes hand in hand with being ‘European’.
TED Aliaga Koleji Vakfi Özel Lisesi and TED Aliaga Koleji Vakfi Özel Ortaokulu.
TED schools are Turkish Education Council Schools. They are private schools, funded by the private sector, the state and the families, whose children attend the schools. The schools were established on the modern secular principles of
Atatürk. There are 25 TED schools in Turkey and a TED university in Ankara.
The Izmir school is the 7th biggest in Turkey and was established 25 years ago. It has a Kindergarten (ranging from 2 years to 5- 6 year olds), Primary (classes 1, 2, 3, 4), Middle (classes 5, 6, 7, 8) and Secondary (classes 9, 10, 11, 12) Schools. By law all these parts are separate schools with a different set of regulations. All pupils study the national curriculum and have 10 hours English a week (from Kindergarten through to Class 9). After Class 9 English is reduced as the students are studying for university entrance. From 4th grade they have 2 hours of German a week until graduation.
There are 80 students in the middle school, 80 in the high school. The school has 24 full-time teachers.
The strengths of the schools are in folk dance and chess (which is taught from Kindergarten). The classes have a maximum size of 24 pupils but most classes have between 15 and 19 pupils. Parents pay if they can afford the fees, but many pupils have scholarships up to the age of graduation.
The schools hope to gain from an exchange of ideas and sharing experience. It had already been involved in a transnational Comenius project and found the fact that pupils could meet with similar-aged pupils from other countries and nationalities to be beneficial. English is a very important part of the school’s curriculum and the workshops offered a fantastic experience for the pupils as they were able to co-operate with other students and not only develop different skills, but also to gain confidence in communicating in foreign languages. Cultural awareness was increased as well as gaining confidence in being away from home in a foreign environment, with all that that entails.
Ringwood Waldorf School
Ringwood Waldorf School is located in the south of England, near the sea, the New Forest - a national park and Stonehenge – a UNESCO site. In addition it is only 1.5 hours drive away from London.
It was founded in 1974 with 6 children. It now has 6 Parent and Child Groups, 3 Kindergarten and Classes going from 1 up to 11. It has 250 pupils with classes of about 20 pupils in the lower school, although some classes are smaller. The school is a privately funded one, with no state funding at all. The school relies entirely on
parental contributions. This can place a hard financial burden on some families and the school operates a sliding scale for some. Charging tuition fees to visiting foreign students helps with the financing of the school overall.
In the Upper School, pupils have the opportunity to take their GCSE (state exams) in Mathematics and English Language, although there is no obligation to do so. The school is looking to provide another form of qualification that will be recognised by universities and which will allow the school to follow the Waldorf curriculum up to Class 12 and university entrance level.
The school has a very strong sense of community through all age groups. Music also plays a very important role throughout the school. With its involvement in the Erasmus project the school hopes to raise the profile of languages, so that pupils will develop a greater interest in language learning and will understand the value of learning a language.
Interaction with partners will also counteract the feeling of EU phobia, so that the school and its pupils will feel part of a bigger community. Pupils who take part in Erasmus activities feel a great sense of achievement due to co-operation and pushing their own boundaries in terms of what they can achieve. Never has the importance of co-operation and cultural understanding been greater than at the present time and the school feels proud at its involvement and the advantages that it has brought.