WALDORF100 beacon projects

October 2018

Some of the beacon projects of Waldorf100.

Waldorf-One-World-Day. Meeting the world and discovering ourselves

It is 5,782 kilometres as the crow flies from Berlin to the Indian village of Jaisalmer. Krishna is waiting there anxiously for my email. He has asked what needs to be done to establish a Waldorf school in India. What approvals are required and how does he explain to the parents that the children in this school are not beaten.

Technology has enabled us to bridge ever greater distances in an ever shorter time and be in contact with people. But I wonder whether it is the same with the inner distance, from person to person. What can bridge this distance? I think that, just as with our technical knowledge and skills, in questions of education a view of the inner developmental conditions of the human being is required which is just as clear.

It is the concern of Waldorf education to be guided by such inner quality standards in its work. Today this educational impulse has developed into a worldwide movement centred on the ideal to help young people discover their individual freedom, equally with the respect for and solidarity with other people. This is the impulse which guides the worldwide campaigning day Waldorf-One-World-Day which makes the idea of a bond encompassing the world a reality – if we don’t just think and feel it but also do it. In the anniversary year, there is an invitation to join a very special activity in collaboration with the Waldorf100 relay, a sponsored run which links all the schools around the world with one another. Be it a simple run to the neighbouring school through a star run between several schools in a region to a relay through the whole country. With the Waldorf100 relay, the runners are giving a visible sign of their connection with the whole world so that our hearts are wide open in every encounter.

About the author: Jana-Nita Raker coordinates the world wide pupil action day Waldorf-One-World-Day of the Friends of Waldorf Education.



Dragon fever

“What do they get to eat?” queried one visitor to the Greifswald school championships in dragon boat racing when once again a boat from the Free Waldorf School crossed the finishing line with no apparent effort and a safe lead over its competitors. The good food may well have contributed to the success; the eurythmy probably too; and most certainly the pronounced community feeling with which the pupils from classes 7 to 13 climbed into the boat. It also helped that from the banks of the river Ryck fellow pupils, teachers and the younger classes cheered the paddlers on with all their might. And: all pupils daily walk past the cups in the corridors of the school which tell of the victories and successes of our teams in the local, regional and even German dragon boat championships. That is an incentive for everyone: “This year we’ll take the top positions again!”

The Greifswald Free Waldorf School has been hit by dragon boat fever since 2007. It is a great team sport which demands physical effort, a feeling of rhythm and good teamwork. Two boys or girls sit next to one another on each of ten benches and paddle with a steady rhythm to propel the boat, weighing two tonnes, through the water. At the back, the sweep steers the boat and ensures that it maintains its course; at the front, a drummer beats out the rhythm. Managing the course at high speed requires not just strength but also willpower – and of course good coordination of all movements because a common rhythm makes things much easier.

That we are champions over short distances is something we know already. But now we have given ourselves a new challenge. The hundredth anniversary of the Waldorf schools is approaching. And for the concluding event of the festivities the Greifswald Waldorf School will make the journey there in a dragon boat: we will arrive by water in Berlin punctually on 19 September 2019!

About 190 pupils and teachers will paddle non-stop for six days in nine teams. We will start on the river Ryck in Greifswald. Then we will continue along the shores of the Baltic, the river Peene, through the Oderhaff, along the rivers Oder and Havel to the river Spree. That is about 400 kilometres which will demand all our strength – not to mention the willingness to get in and out of the dragon boat on moving water from the accompanying steamer, calmly passing through boat lifts and locks, not giving up in rain and wind, overcoming waves and (counter) currents, being on the water at dawn and dusk in the twilight... When we reach the Tempodrom on 19 September, we will have learned what perseverance means!

The preparations have begun – not just the training on the water (as happens every spring), but also the planning of all the logistics. Now that the dragon boat season has started, the idea has taken hold of the whole school – and everyone is filled with enthusiasm. Who would not want to contribute to this very special trip?

Anne Wolf

About the author: Anne Wolf teaches English, Spanish und free religion at the Greifswald Free Waldorf School.

Wood Harmony

“What is your favourite kind of wood?” That is a question which craft teachers rarely get asked. And if the questioner then continues: “And what does it sound like?”, that requires some considerable thought. But at the craft teachers’ conference at the Engelberg Free Waldorf School in 2017 every participant was confronted with these questions in front of a running camera. The film is finished and with that a worldwide project has started. An individual tone is captured at over a thousand Waldorf schools around the globe – that is the idea. In 2019 a thousand unique tones will harmonise into a combined sound. First as a world premiere at the craft teachers’ conference in Loheland in the week before Easter 2019 and thereafter in September in Berlin, from where it will be sent around the world as a documentary film.

A craft teacher of course asks immediately: “What can I do?” Very simple. Choose your favourite kind of wood, test what it sounds like, split off a section, as dry as possible without cracks and 60 centimetres long, round it off with an axe or draw knife and carve or burn the name of the kind of wood and your school on it. Important: do not drill a hole in the wood. We intend to do that together at the craft teachers’ conference in 2019. Then wrap it up and send it to: Loheland-Stiftung, z.Hd. Thom Hein, Loheland, D-36093 Künzell, Germany. Please remember not to send any wood which is prohibited from export for ecological reasons.

Listening to the sound of wood, Thomas Verbeck

About the author: Thomas Verbeck teaches woodwork in the middle school, smithing and stone carving in the upper school and English in the lower school of the Remscheid Rudolf Steiner School.


Contact: t.hein(at)loheland.de, m.pappert(at)loheland.de

Trees in memory of the deceased

A hundred years of Waldorf education is based on the work of tens of thousands of personalities who throughout their life devoted their energy to this idea. They also formed the foundation for this great movement. This initiative is intended to commemorate and thank them. Deeply rooted with widely spreading branches, the tree is a symbol of life as such. It combines past with future development – in gratitude for their durability, loyalty and hope.

We call on pupils, parents and teachers to plant a tree for the deceased as part of the year of celebration in 2019. This can be done in many different ways, for example as a free-standing tree, a group of trees, an avenue or a copse. Lend a hand to  make a mark, to plant a living memorial for names, a memorial  which can be understood as a gesture of “growing towards one another and together”. For further information and help contact LAG Baden-Württemberg, Libanonstr. 3, 70184 Stuttgart or send an email to info(at)waldorf-bw.de

Andreas Stohlmann

About the author: Andreas Stohlmann is a class teacher at the Schwäbisch Hall Free Waldorf School

Star run

Eighteen Waldorf schools and four Waldorf training establishments in Berlin and Brandenburg will participate on 9 September 2019 in a run to the centre of the city – the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin-Mitte.

They will come from all points of the compass and flow together into a great river in order then to greet and develop an awareness of one another. Every school will present something about themselves at the destination which they would like to show in public.

The Cottbus Free Waldorf School is the furthest away. More than 120 kilometres have to be covered to the Brandenburg Gate, something that cannot be managed on foot. But it can be turned into an excursion in which part of the way is run. In contrast, it is a mere stone’s throw for the Berlin-Mitte Free Waldorf School, something about which the runners are almost a little bit disappointed. Most of the schools are between twelve and twenty-five kilometres distant and will decide for themselves how they will manage that: perhaps using the assistance of a bicycle or maybe also a bus or train. The important thing is to be involved and come together! The run on 9 September forms the start of the two-week central events in the region for Waldorf 100.

But there are also various projects spread over the whole of 2019 so that overall it will be a very special year. Coming together to the centre from the periphery also reflects the overall situation well for we are already learning to know one another better through the preparations for this special anniversary year. The people delegated by the individual schools to meet monthly and have an overview of the preparations as a whole form a working group. In addition, specialist conferences came about which did not exist in this form before. A model for us were the eurythmists who have managed for almost twenty years to organise a joint performance each year with contributions from the upper schools of the Berlin and Brandenburg schools. That made us think, this also has to be possible in other subjects! Thus we will bring together a performance of the class plays in two marquee projects and stage musical contributions from several schools in a joint performance.

The joint preparations followed by the celebrations themselves for the hundredth anniversary provide a very good basis for working on the future together – because in future doing things together will be more necessary than ever.

Dorothee Kionke, Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburg