Waldorf Education – Just Like in the Movies!

Ute Hallaschka

As a project for the station Bayerischer Rundfunk, director Maria Knilli has filmed students at the Freie Waldorfschule Landsberg over the course of several years. Her unique long-term documentary series traces the students’ development from grades one through eight (ca. ages 7 to 14). It provides a unique glimpse into regular school life, showing us examples of their daily work and play. We are very close – in the center of the action – and yet the camera is inconspicuous and the children pay no attention to it. From their first day of school they had become accustomed to being filmed.

Part One of the documentary, Guten Morgen liebe Kinder (Good Morning, Dear Children), is about the first three years. Part Two, Eine Brücke in die Welt (A Bridge to the World), was broadcast just recently. Here we can observe the everyday school life of students in grade four to six.

If you watched Part One, you will remember the enchanting atmosphere of the beginning: the enthusiasm, the curiosity and the trusting spontaneity of the young school children. In Part Two, we meet them again as young adolescents. They have become more independent and possess critical thinking skills; they are crossing the mid-point of childhood. All their relationships become transformed. Yet, something that remains throughout the changeful years is the children’s profound relationship with their class teacher. The intelligent, warm-hearted woman with a good sense of humor is an educator straight out of picture book. Watching her teach makes you want to be a child again and have her as your teacher. The parents who are interviewed in this second part seem to feel the same way. They all point out how very different their own school experience was and marvel at how eagerly the children go to school each day, to a Waldorf school they experience as “their” school.

The third and final part of the documentary is scheduled to be broadcast in 2015 and is another opportunity for all those who have been wanting to know what happens at a Waldorf School. What do they do differently?

Both films have come out in German on DVD and can be ordered at: www.guten-morgen-liebe-kinder.de

Eine Brücke in die Welt. Grade 4 to 6 at the Waldorf School. (DVD) A film by Maria Knilli, Run time: 90 minutes.