Published on June 25th, 2016 | by ECSWE0
Report: Council Meeting 15 – 17 January 2016 in Luxembourg
The ECSWE Council meeting on Friday evening started with the presentation of the Luxembourg Waldorf school. The Luxembourg school opened in 1984. In the early years, the school only offered primary education. Legalizing the upper classes was difficult because of the language requirements. The fact that this small country has three state languages, Luxembourgish, German and French, led to many interesting questions. The multilingual setting is also reflected in the school life. Children speak Luxembourgish in kindergarten; switch to German in primary school and continue secondary education in French. Teachers report that although children are growing up as multilinguals and easily switch between languages, multilingualism comes at the price of a more superficial language instruction in the mother tongue.
On Saturday, Frans Ebskamp presented the first results of the annual ECSWE survey. Further analysis and more info from some countries are still needed before the results can be published.
This presentation was followed by brief reports on ECSWE’s Advocacy:
- Georg Jürgens spoke about the Presentation of Struwwelpeter 2.0 Brochure on Media Competency and Waldorf education at the Lifelong Learning Week in the European Parliament.
- Georg Jürgens and Rosmarie Bluder reported on ECSWE’s participation in the meeting of the Alliance for Childhood in November 2015. During the meeting, ECSWE presented its plans for the Symposium in January. There was also an interesting presentation on the importance of children playing outside.
- Richard Landl reported on the cooperation with the Universal Education Foundation. There are many shared concerns and goals. A joint follow-up to the Luxembourg Symposium should be explored.
In the morning session, the board also highlighted the need to hire a second person to support Georg Jürgens in the ECSWE office. The Council gave a green light to hiring a second person on a part-time basis.
Then, Philipp Reubke reported on the international activities of the International Association of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE). They held their last meeting in Israel. IASWECE is actively networking and collaborating with other organisations to be more efficient and effective in their work. In his presentation, Philipp Reubke reminded us of the fragile balance between chaos and form that must be kept in any pedagogical institution. He also reflected on the challenge of adapting the spiritual elements in Waldorf education to other World religions and highlighted the importance of imaginative free play to reduce violence, overcome conflicts and deal with cruelty. ECSWE is planning a joint meeting with IASWECE in Tartu, Estonia 14th – 16th October 2016.
Aušra Puskunigienė presented a brief guest report on the Lithuanian Waldorf movement. The movement started in the 1990s. Now there are 500 students and 80 teachers. The 21st anniversary of the movement was celebrated recently.
Afterwards, the Council split up into working groups to reflect on the possible follow-up to the Luxembourg Symposium on Pluralism in Assessment and the influence of testing and assessment on the curriculum in Steiner-schools.
The afternoon sessions took place in the Luxembourg’s History Museum. After a brief guided tour through the eventful history of the city, ECSWE held an extraordinary AGM to approve the budget of 2016 and to postpone the elections of the next board to then next Council meeting in May. The Council then discussed two different proposals for the board elections procedure.
The last afternoon session started with Daniel Hering’s report on the situation of the Swiss Waldorf schools and was followed by an comprehensive update on the Diploma Project and recent developments with regards to the delivery of the SSC in Europe, a presentation of the ACTS-Project launched by the UK, Norway, Finland and Denmark and a brief report on the status of the EPC Project.
On Sunday morning a domestic report from Spain was presented by Alberto Caballero, before Ellen Fjeld Køttker reported on the latest activities of the Pedagogical Section, the preparations for the World Teachers Conference in Dornach and recent meetings of the International Forum. Her report included reflections on the situation of the Waldorf movement worldwide that has to find pedagogical answers to a world troubled by wars, acts of terrorism and mass migration. In these troubled times, Waldorf education can provide guidance and a language of unity. To reflect the international character and the diversity of the Waldorf movement, the International Forum held meetings in South Africa in 2006 and in the United States in 2015. The latter helped to establish new relationships with pedagogical colleagues in the US.
Iztok Kordis reported on the meeting of the European Network of Steiner Waldorf Parents (ENSWaP): an informal network of Waldorf parents and others interested in the well-being of children. The next meeting takes place 7-9 October 2016 in Veszprém, Hungary.
Association of Waldorf Initiatives in Ukraine
Representative to ECSWE