2019 has come to an end. Our new classroom block is complete and was inaugurated with the All African Anthroposophic Training. 115 people from all over Africa coming together to learn about human development and social competence - inspired by anthroposophy and including workshops on Waldorf Education, Anthroposophic Medicine, Biodynamic Farming and more.
Joan Sleigh joined us from the Goetheanum to teach the workshop on Waldorf Education.
Johannah Birth from Germany taught about story telling in the kindergarten, a hands on workshop in which they created silk angel mobiles. Andrea Seeman taught a very important workshop on children with special needs, which brought very different ideas to people struggling with special needs children - some of them being parents, others teachers. Her workshop expanded their sense of who each child is and created new possibilities for meeting them more fully. Judith Tabberner and Julia Schaad brought a session on midwifery and nursing and caring for the child during the first three years. Oftentimes people here take their children to the clinic when they are sick and often they only get panadol or aspirin. This workshop gave power and agency back to parents and caregivers learning and remembering many indigenous and anthroposophic simple herbal remedies to nurture the young child.
The training put Kufunda and Anthroposophy on the map in Zimbabwe and many more people are expressing an interest in learning more about Waldorf education, home-based care and biodynamic farming, in particular. We look forward to being a part of supporting this interest to develop.
As the rains have begun this November, the biodynamic farming team is turning the whole farm into a biodynamic farm - expanding from the initial biodynamic work in the vegetable garden of the farm. The children continue to be an important part of the learning in this domain, although their work remains primarily focused on the garden - making compost, harvesting the biodynamic preparation plants, mulching, and whatever is needed at a given time.
In July the children of the school went on a school visit to the airport, going on board an airplane and learning much about flight. In November they went to visit a traffic school, learning about traffic rules and how to be safe on the roads. They enjoyed riding bikes in a safe model road.
We had a wonderful St Michael’s Festival in September, with the children having created the Dragon that was then tamed during the festival.
In September/October we had a Danish high-school graduate visit who brought rhythmic gymnastics lessons to the school each Friday which everyone enjoyed.
This year saw the establishment of the School Development Committee with a small team of parents stepping in to support the development of the school. We already feel a difference as they are addressing important aspects of the school including more outreach to new parents.
We closed the school term with a wonderful Rain Festival. After the worst drought in 100 years, the school and the children celebrated the return of the rains with grace, delight and beauty.
The first weekend after school close we hosted a morning performance and up-cycling holiday workshop for our children and children from the community. It gave us an appetite for more holiday programmes!
Looking Ahead to 2020
We are intending for at least one of our teachers to join the East African Waldorf Teacher’s training. We have seen the deep impact the on-going training is having on Elizabeth Madanire and wish to continue building our foundation of Waldorf.
Our collaboration with the resource persons from abroad is continuing, strengthened by the AAAT. We are in conversation with Michael and Briar Grimley to come and spend some time with us in March 2020, two elders from the Waldorf movement in South Africa. They have wide ranging experience of supporting Waldorf schools from their own work. Michael is a teacher trainer of Waldorf, among many other things, and Briar founded a Waldorf school many years ago. Troels Ussing from Sanduko in Denmark will be coming in February offering a workshop ‘A Call for Imaginative Forces’ bringing ways to work with imaginative forces to come to a deeper understanding of the human being, of nature and of social life. Troels has for many years been a core supporter and mentor to the Mbagathi Waldorf School in Nairobi. We met him there during the Waldorf 100 Celebration.
We also have young people joining us next year. Three students from the Youth Initiative Forum in Jarna Sweden, all Waldorf Graduates, will be joining us to work with bringing artistic expression to our school, to help with the biodynamic farming and to support our work with horses and children.
We look forward to entering into a year of deepening and growth in 2020.