Domestic report: Italy

By Karen Chapman, Cristina Laffi, April 2018

While the number and distribution of Waldorf Steiner schools and kindergartens in Italy has not changed noticeably in the last years, there has been an increase in the number of members of the Federation, bringing numbers up to 32 members, with another 12 applications in progress.

1. The Steiner-Waldorf schools’ movement and the Italian Federation

Overall, the number of pupils registered has risen from 3600 in 2013-2014 to 4180 this year. Thanks to the constant activity and networking of the Federation, there is growing cohesion and cooperation among the member schools, which has led to the creation of several regional associations.

These regional associations are now able to take over some of the responsibilities of the national Federation:

  • monitor and support new Steiner-Waldorf educational settings,
  • facilitate events for the parents or between classes from different schools in the region,
  • organise public conferences, meetings among administrators, further training days for teachers, etc.,
  • represent the schools in dealings with public institutions and the regional ministerial offices.

2. Identity of Steiner-Waldorf education in schools, registration of Federation logo

The increased diffusion of work at local level is generally helping to enhance the identity of Steiner-Waldorf education in Italy, and to give the movement greater public visibility. It aims particularly at further developing quality care in the schools.

The Federation has now registered its logo, which may be used only by recognized schools and kindergartens and distinguishes them as members of the national Federation.

3. Italian Waldorf Parents’ Network and ENSWaP

In the past few years, a mature and responsible national parents’ association has developed. It is organized in regional working groups that are coordinated at national level. This association is also working closely with ENSWaP. The existence of this active parents’ network has been an enormous help in tackling many recent political challenges.

4. Law on compulsory vaccinations and school enrolment

In July 2017, the Italian Parliament approved a controversial law, obliging all children up to 16+ and the adults working in certain sectors, among which schools, to be vaccinated with 10 different vaccines. Parents who fail to vaccinate their children are obliged to pay financial penalties up to €2500 and the children may not be accepted in pre-school settings. In 2018, the compulsory coverage will be extended to the older children, although those who are not vaccinated cannot be excluded from school because that would be a violation of the Italian Constitution.

This law has generated insecurity among parents and in schools and pre-school settings throughout the country. While compliance is clearly within the sphere of the individual freedom and responsibility of parents, there are repercussions on education providers who accept non-vaccinated children.

The Italian Federation and its members have therefore pro-actively worked with parents to find sustainable and non-discriminatory solutions at school level. Thanks to the untiring work of representatives of the national parents’ association, a pool of lawyers is now offering legal advice to the Italian Federation and all schools in need.

5. Steiner-Waldorf Upper schools in Italy and Italian-speaking Switzerland (Ticino)

Over the past 2-3 years the teachers of the 3 Italian-speaking Steiner-Waldorf Upper Schools have met regularly in an attempt to deepen Rudolf Steiner’s impulses for the education of young people in the third seven-year period and to develop an outline and content suitable for and coherent with the Italian culture. These meetings were enrichened by the differing socio-cultural contexts and the characteristics of the strands of study of each school.

This group of Italian-speaking teachers has now undertaken to participate in the new international formula for further training for the upper classes suggested and developed by our colleagues in Kassel and Dornach.

6. Waldorf100: Towards the Centenary 2019 – in brief

A whole series of preparatory events are scheduled in 2018, leading up to a national/international event in 2019, organized by the Federation in cooperation with the Waldorf School in Reggio Emilia. Regional and local projects will also take place throughout Italy.

The postcards project is working well and has been very much appreciated by pupils and teachers.

Karen Chapman (ECSWE) & Cristina Laffi (International Forum), Via Rudolf Steiner, 2‐4‐6 ‐ 31020, Zoppè di San Vendemiano, (TV), Italy

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