Vienna: Montessori and Waldorf cooperate over higher education entrance qualification

By Barbara Chaloupek, March 2013

After several years of preparation, everything is set: Waldorf and Montessori are cooperating in Vienna to prepare their children for the “International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme” (IBDP), a higher education entrance qualification. The name of the pioneering project: Campus Vienna West.

Qualifying for higher education at Campus Vienna West means: “We are particularly concerned to ensure that the students understand the practical relevance of the theoretical content they learn.” 

The first students to attend the Campus will be the pupils from the current class eleven of the Vienna West Waldorf School which has been in existence since 1993 – for the last three years with an upper school.

“We wanted an upper school but were also quite clear that a final exam like the Abitur, in which everyone basically has to learn and manage on their own, is not what we had in mind,” says IB coordinator Jutta Zopf-Klasek. One possible alternative: the International Baccalaureate as it has been offered for decades by international schools. It includes foreign languages and also involves self-reflection and communication subjects just like any other school leaving exam; some of the learning takes place outside school. In Luxemburg the proof was then found: Waldorf and IB are quite compatible.

The Vienna Waldorf school went one step further: hardly more than a kilometre away from its Vienna West location, upper school plans were also being considered at the largest and oldest Montessori house in Austria.

The two of them found a common interest in the IB: the Matura, as the general school leaving exam is known in Austria, was only concerned with regurgitating knowledge. Progressive education was after something different: personal development and strengthening competences such as independence, creativity and the ability to work in a team, the new partners said.

The “International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme” (IBDP) is run over two years and – following a selection procedure – is also open to children from other educational paths. The first Montessori pupils are expected in the 2013/14 school year.

Further details: www.campus-wien-west.at

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