It was the time when everything underwent radical changes. Everything, including education. That year, a small club was created by teachers seeking their own path. Interesting, enthusiastic young teachers from schools and universities arranged meetings and discussed everything they’d come across in pedagogical press. Among different options of modern pedagogy, Waldorf, which was based on Anthroposophy, seemed the most attractive.
The club participants met a group of Stuttgart Waldorf School teachers and alumni, who came to Irkutsk. The guests astonished the Irkutsk teachers so much that they wanted to know by what means they educate such self-sufficient and confident young people. What is that so called “Waldorf” education?
Thus the club became “The Waldorf Education Club” But there was too little information about Waldorf. However a coincidence helped to find fellow people interested in this subject. A club called “Aristoteles”, which was located in Moscow, also became a center of Waldorf initiatives of the country. Later there was a meeting with Anatoliy Pinski, who later became the principle of Waldorf School 1060 (Moscow), the first translations of Waldorf teachers’ lectures came out of a typewriter, the first festivals were organized for the children by what was at the time the Waldorf-inspired club.
That led to the following events
- A visit of Hans-Joran Hardt, a social educater from Finland
- A seminar on curative education by Annelie Graffe (Finland) that facilitated opening centers of curative education such as “Talisman” and “Semeinaya Usadba” (Russian: The Family Settlement)
- Establishing of the cultural center “School of the World” by Igor Livant
- Organization of the West-East Congress: Mission of the Baikal region.
- The nursery school seminar with Annelie Graffe and the opening of Waldorf Kindergarten in Irkutsk.
- In the beginning of the 90’s different international stunts such as Anthroposophic Arts festival IDRIANT and “Arts Caravan” would reach Irkutsk. They attracted a lot of teachers and parents towards Waldorf Education.
The Waldorf education united the teachers who felt that there is a need in a new view of a child and the parents who didn’t wish their children to be taught as in the Soviet pedagogy. All of them were young, eager and creatively interesting people who believed that parents meet their children for a reason. The children of the Waldorf Club participants were reaching the first-graders’ age which brought a question ‘what school will they go to?’
In a pavilion in the yard on the Pioneer lane 3, which is located in the center of Irkutsk, moms and dads were sitting and during their conversation they decided that in two years they will do whatever it takes to create a Waldorf School for their children. In two years their children would be old enough to go to the first grade. The names of these “historical” people were Svetlana and Mark Meerovich, Tatiana and Sergei Nikolaev, Oleg Shenderov and his wife Irina.
Brigitte Müller opened a two-year teacher training which finally terminated the preparatory stage by giving the Irkutsk Waldorf School (which hadn’t been there at the time) its main character, the first teacher Elena Odnokurtseva.
The first parents would look for the new school’s building and repair it all by themselves. They’d also create a cozy atmosphere in the first grade classroom. It wouldn’t have been possible to buy out the building, which consisted of large shared apartments, without Brigitte Müller’s personal contribution. And the renovation wouldn’t have gone without Igor Livant, Volodya Brandenburg and other volunteers.
In the building located on Marata Street, 11 the school opened its doors for the first first-graders. From now on a new teacher meets their own first grade.