[It has become a tradition in our newsletter to ask a new participant at the ENSWaP conference to write about their first experience of such a meeting. This time Gabriela from Poland took up the task and wrote the following. – Editor]
My first ENSWaP experience is about community. My expectation before the conference was to meet some people, and to listen to some lectures and eventually point out some sensitive issues in the Waldorf parents’ network. But there was much more than that. I talked with many involved and free thinking people, both teachers and parents of Waldorf schools – we bestowed mutual attention on our similar problems and issues concerning education that happen to be almost the same in every country. So it was great to find the place in the group of people that appreciate Steiner’s method of education, listen to the voices of parents especially, listening to the stories of their big involvement in both establishing schools and helping things run later on.
For me this voice was the most important, as I come from Poland where Waldorf education, in spite of its history of more than 10 years, we often struggle with very basic issues, like having our own and efficient buildings for school, enough financial means to run the school, applying for establishing the lyceum level so we could educate our children up till university, and many more.
The community is something we slowly start to understand these days. The possibility of sharing issues, problems, exchanging experiences and planning solutions and projects is something we can definitely move forward when we have the same or similar thinking group of people that have space to listen to each other. So I appreciate for finding this feeling of community with ENSWaP. This also gave me the idea of the bigger picture: how we, as parents of children educated in the Steiner Waldorf way, can be vital voices in the development between schools, also internationally, and also in the context of being legitimate platforms represented in Europe.
As the world definitely needs more creative and innovative people, people that are not chained in their schematic roles, the Steiner Waldorf organisations bring the alternative (though in fact so well-known in Europe) education. By making its voice heard, both from the teachers’ wing (ECSWE) and parents’ wing (ENSWaP) we give a chance to Steiner Waldorf education to be a live education seen and heard in Europe by all children and families.