The Freie Interkulturelle Waldorfschule is a comprehensive school with a special pedagogical orientation. It is a member of the Waldorf School Association (www.waldorfschule.info) and of the Regional Working Group of the Baden-Württemberg Waldorf Schools (www.waldorf-bw.de). Currently, about 280 pupils from 35 nations are taught in 12 classes.
Multicultural Atmosphere in Classrooms and Among Staff
One of our goals as an "intercultural" Waldorf school is the promotion of intercultural dialogue. We encourage our pupils to approach foreign cultures with respect and regard them as something that promotes their own development.
How do children of various origins, nationalities and religions learn to live with each other? Our school faces this challenge with a special concept.
We work towards the following goals:
- for a reciprocal understanding and a fruitful coexistence of people from different cultures and social classes;
- for a world where every individual can develop their abilities regardless of their cultural background;
- for the opportunity to experience diversity as strength and wealth, and letting this be part of each student's life
- for a world in which differences no longer lead to isolation, fighting and restrictions.
We oppose the so-called "Clash of Civilisations", especially after the 11th of September. It was on purpose that we set up our school on 11/09/2003. The Waldorf pedagogical concept goes thus back to its roots: it should benefit children who have difficulties with the educational system. We focus especially on the meaning of experiencing diversity and the type of education that promotes individual peace skills and tolerance. The students should be able to retain their own cultural identity in a multicultural, global world, and at the same time become aware of the biological diversity, and respect all life forms. The understanding and respect of democratic values is a keystone in everyday school life.
Living in a Multicultural Environment
Our classes consist of German children and children of other origin.This should be seen as a chance. The school curriculum with its basic human values orientation allows the intercultural approach of many subjects.
The active involvement with various cultures promotes tolerance and intercultural skills. This is the reason why our school name carries the word “Intercultural”.
The international teaching staff (about 40 women teachers and 14 men teachers from 14 nations around the world) work toward one goal: All children, regardless of their skin colour, nationality, religion or social origin, should have access to education according to the principles of the Waldorf educational theory. This theory is conveyed through the dynamic encounter of pupils and teachers.
Waldorf Theory and Practice
The Intercultural Waldorf school is an all-day school. Lessons start at 8 a.m and end about 3 p.m. An extended daycare program is available for classes 1-5. During lunch break classes 1-8 eat lunch together. Our cook and his team prepare daily fresh vegetarian meals.
All pupils are taught together from class 1 and they stay together in the same class until their graduation in the 10th, 12th, or 13th class.
No Class Repeating
All students go through 12 school years without having to repeat a class. The teaching plan of Waldorf schools is adapted to the inclinations and talents of the children. Therefore, from the first grade we offer diverse art classes apart from the other subjects. These art classes promote the creative skills of all children.
Main Lesson Teaching
To be able to approach the various teaching subjects from diverse directions,
subject areas are covered over a period of about 4 weeks. There are teaching blocks for Writing and Reading, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Geography, History, Physics, and Chemistry. These blocks are taught alternatively. The Main Lesson takes place in the morning hours. Subjects which require a constant practice such as Foreign Languages, Music, Handwork, and Gymnastics, take place after the Main Lesson: these are the so-called specialist subjects.
The Class Teacher
The Waldorf educational theory attaches great value to the trusting relationship between teachers and students. In this context, the class teacher is an important attachment figure, especially for the lower classes. Usually she/he is the person who teaches the students every morning the Main Lesson.
Work Placements/ Traineeships
In the upper classes, students are encouraged to gain practical experience. Whereas earlier only the teacher has evaluated, now students learn how to evaluate their own work results and so to train their own critical abilities.
7th class: Forest work placement (10-14 days during autumn or winter)
8th class: Guided tour of a company
9th class: First professional traineeship (3 weeks) in another company; agricultural training on a farm (3 weeks in spring)
10th class: Survey internship (1 week); second professional traineeship (3 weeks) in another company
11th class: Social work traineeship (3 weeks) in a social institution
12th class: Thesis, acting, artist diploma
Future Career Choices
Work placements, application consulting and future career choices are offered centrally in our school. Currently, the 9th and 10th classes are completing 3-week internships. In personal advisory discussions we focus on the individual strengths and interests of the students so that we can identify appropriate internships and training companies. Furthermore, in the 10thclass a seminar takes place concerning the subject application and work placement. We try to make sure that students who finish school with a Realschulabschluss (a diploma attesting to a level of secondary education) or a Hauptschulabschluss (lower secondary school leaving certificate) can go directly to appropriate companies and complete a traineeship.
Excursions and Class Trips
The lower classes have one afternoon per week for a school trip: first close to the school and later also to neighbouring towns. From the 3rd class we also plan class trips which promote enormously the integration of the classes. Social and personal abilities are acquired, while the environmental awareness is strengthened.
School Reports and Certificates
Waldorf schools do not have any usual grade system. The class reports consist of a detailed description of the performance, the performance progress, the talents and the efforts of the student in single subjects. All students can leave the school with a Realsabschluss (secondary level education certificate), a Fachhochschulreife (completed vocational training) or the Abitur (A-Levels, after the 13 th) at a partner school.
A Special Teaching Plan
Supplementary German Language Course
About half of our students are not native German speakers. „Deutsch als Vertiefungssprache“ is a German language course for students who have no solid knowledge of the German language. This subject is offered for classes 2-10. If a child has reached the desired language level, she/he can start anytime learning French.
Cultural Education and Interaction Language
For classes 3-8 we offer cultural education which through diverse experiences brings closer students from different cultures and countries. Children of the 1-2 classes also receive together two teaching hours „interaction language course“ in languages which many of their classmates have as mother tongue: currently Polish, Spanish, Croatian or Turkish. Thus, they learn the language and culture of their classmates through a native-speaker teacher.
In the afternoon we offer projects including Physical Activity, Sensory Perception and Fine Motor Skills Development. Children work with their hands, they train their sensory perception and learn social skills and language. This type of class is offered twice-a-week for classes 2-6. The outstanding event of the year is the Project Week, during which all students cooperate across classes and are often helped by parents, teachers and classmates in order to make a presentation.
Waldorf schools usually offer from the 1st class two foreign language courses. During the first school years foreign languages are taught holistically, verbally, via imitation and are practically oriented. Through repeating, through collective recitation, through singing and dancing, the foreign language is rather experienced than learned. In the 4th class, basic grammar is introduced and development of vocabulary is emphasized.
This subject allows children to learn the consequences of act and failure to act in the nature. They experience their own creative energy while dealing with the processes of nature.
Handwork and Art
Handwork and Art subjects are an essential part of the school curriculum for all classes. In the 1st class handwork is taught for 2 hours and from the 5th class it is complemented by Handicrafts lessons.
In Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography of the higher classes, children should deal with the perceived phenomena and develop definitions for them. In the lower classes, children experience the elements such as fire, air, earth and water in the garden or during house construction. In the middle classes these elements are explained in detail. In the secondary level general laws and explanatory models are developed.