LIFE IS OUR CURRICULUM.
“There is no difference between living and learning. It is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate”
John C Holt
Our ideal is a place where students don’t take any classes they don’t specifically ask to be taught. They can spend their time doing whatever they want, as long as it’s not destructive or criminal – reading, playing video games, cooking, making art. A place with no teachers but mentors and inspiring figures. A place where kids establish rules and decide on consequences by a democratic process whereby each member of the community has one vote. A school where children learn without being taught.
The primary reason children do not learn in schools is fear: fear of getting the wrong answers, fear of being ridiculed by the teacher and classmates, fear of not being good enough. This is made worse by children being forced to study things that they are not necessarily interested in.
Our school is based on the model of self-determined learning in a democratically organized school community.
Our free school has an essential mission to fulfil until the age of great choices – to help the children discover who they are and what they like to do with love and passion. On this simple truth are built, we believe, the stories of adult happy people. And when you know who you are and where you want to go, you find yourself in front of a road that you will travel with your head held high to the end, no matter how many challenges may arise along the way. Just like in real life because, in fact, school should prepare us exactly for that, right?
Oana & Liviana – Waldkinder founders
OUR TEAM IS THE GREATEST!
“I like the way children question everything and how self driven they become when the matter of learning makes sense to them. In a Lernwerkstatt I support them in their discoveries and walk them through the process of owning their way of learning in order to solve problems or develop strategies on a variety of subjects.”
“I am Max, I am a programmer and I hope to share my passion and knowledge of the field with the children at Waldkinder. I have made Romania my home more than 13 years ago after emigrating from Germany.”
“My name is Smaranda and I have been a kindergarten and school teacher for 15 years, working both in the traditional and alternative systems. I teach with great passion and responsibility helping the child to act, wish and think for themselves to find their own path in life.”
“I am an engineer and in winter I am a ski instructor. I practice different sports and this makes me smile a lot. I want to pass on this joy to children. I am a creative person and I would like to invent, repair and build things with the children.”
Corina Popa / Koko
“In the past 25 years I have been playing with children trying to develop their speech and other skills through games. Besides playing with children, I love nature and challenges. These are the main reasons for joining this school.”
“I am an ecologist. I have a great passion for Mother Earth and I like to build, model, invent, edit and put together a great variety of things. I transmit little children information about the beings around us, their food relationships and their importance in the ecosystem.”
“I have been teaching high-school students for 40 years, but the last 2 years with the Waldkinder have brought me nothing but joy and amazement. Now I am ready to continue to teach the school-age children using the same tools: games, songs, movement and stories.”
“After more than 20 years in creative industries and studying in Barcelona how circular economy will work in the future I join the school project to build a better world by creating classes based on circularity, creative mapping, meta competences, developing personality skills without boarders, but with dos & don’ts.”
“I’m here to offer kids the gift of music, acting and emotion. Together, we will discover instruments, our voices, body movements and electronic devices which in turn will transform lyrics into pieces of art. And will bring forth personal expression, emotions and creativity.”
“As a child, I felt attracted by everything aesthetics related – shapes, textures and colours and I would experiment as much as I could. When I was finally unconfined, I made a professional choice for the beauty field, the one that would allow me to work freely with shapes, colours and textures.”
“Since my studies, I have been concerned with questions of democratic education which also played an important role during my work as a trainer of educators and primary school teachers in Germany and Romania. The aim of my pedagogical work is to help children develop an independent, critical and sol attitude throughout their lives.”
“My name literally means “blessed”. And this is exactly how I feel and act. I believe that playing, moving and creating are the best languages to help convey a feeling of real connection. Working with children makes me feel more alive than any other experience – I get energy, enthusiasm and joy from nurturing their innocence and their uncomplicated ways of seeing the world. Singing, smiling and just being in the moment – these are the core skills of a happy person and this is what I intent to cultivate in my work with the kids.”
We trust children and their natural ability to learn
We practice democracy
In the school assembly, the pupils and employees decide democratically about all matters relating to everyday school life. All have equal voting rights.
We respect children as any other individual, nature and diversity
We take responsibility
The pupils share responsibility for their learning path and the school community. They actively participate in the school organisation.
We foster an inclusive community, open to the world
We live as a family
The pupils organise their everyday school life in a mixed-age community. The employees accompany and support them.
We foster autonomy and sense of self
We build on children’s own initiative
The students learn individually according to their interests and talents. Waldkinder offers a stimulating environment for this.
We are so stuck on the idea that children must be forced to learn that we can’t even imagine that a child might be better off learning without being forced.
Peter Gray, Phd
Firm foundations in a values culture of equality and shared responsibility. Respect breeds respect. Trust breeds trust. Compassion breeds compassion. Tolerance breeds tolerance. Listening breeds listening.
Collective decision-making where all members of the community, regardless of age or status, have an equal say over significant decisions such as school rules, curricula, projects, the choice of their mentors and teachers and even budgetary matters.
Self-directed discovery: Learners choose what they learn, when, how and with whom they learn it. Learning can happen inside or outside of the classroom, through play as well as conventional study. The key is that the learning is following the students intrinsic motivation and pursuing their interests.
EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW
If children are not taught in a classical sense how and what do students learn in a democratic school? Democratic schools promote the natural ability of children to develop and educate them-selves, at their own pace and in their own individual way. Many learning processes take place “between the lines” in the area of so-called informal learning. Our students’ learning is shaped by curiosity. There is no predetermined path in which direction or how profound their curiosity will lead them. The school offers a stimulating environment in which the students encounter diverse areas of interest. In the mixed-age community, the students learn a lot from and with one another.
Why is it so important that both parents are behind the school philosophy? This school is not as “simple” as it appears. The decision to send your child to a democratic school should be in line with your own values. We offer parents close support in the form of discussions and information material. We support parents of our students in the process of finding out whether the Waldkinder school matches their own values. Most families go through periods of doubt and difficulty in school. If a parent does not feel comfortable with the school philosophy, this can lead to great uncertainty for a child.
How is the school organized? The school assembly meets weekly and decides democratically on all areas of everyday school life. It consists of all students and adults working at the school, who each have the same right to vote (one vote each). Responsible persons or working groups are set up for all tasks and areas of responsibility of the Waldkinder school. The school assembly defines their area of responsibility. Then working groups develop the rules and detailed processes and present them to the school assembly for approval. Examples of this are the legal WG, kitchen WG, aesthetics WG or the WG for electronic media, woodworking room, sports, outdoor activities.
JOIN OUR TEAM
We are always looking for people who share our passion and understand our vision of education in nature. If you are interested in joining our team, we are waiting for you with a CV at email@example.com
It is essential to feel at ease in the middle of nature and to be able to adapt to unforeseen situations, to be open to new challenges and always eager to discover new things. Experience and training in any pedagogy model are appreciated & the German language at a medium level is a plus
A dedicated minibus is waiting for you, taking you to the school every day and a wonderful team with whom to share delicious lunches and snacks. Plus the most beautiful days spent with free and curious children.