The first check-in round engaged 31 interested kindergarten teachers with the question: What do you expect from this workshop? “That I come to understand more and more of the Waldorf pedagogy, until I am a real Waldorf kindergarten teacher.” “That I can make the Waldorf pedagogy the pedagogy for all of Zimbabwe.”
The workshop came at the beginning of a three-week journey to all 13 already-inspired kindergartens, and to two new ones. The kindergartens could be separated into two categories: those that are a part of a primary school and thence are financially secure, and those that are mostly in private initiatives, which provide the basic services for the rural population and outside of this must work for every financial support.
Why are we concerning ourselves at this moment with these 13 kindergartens? Kufunda Learning Village works together with 11 communities of different levels from the entire country, who wish to actively take part in the formation of a new Zimbabwe. An important aspect of this is the upbringing of children and, therefore, the kindergarten.
For five years now, summer seminars have taken place in Kufunda. The school whose turn it is to host can build on a solid foundation and thus concentrate on the practical applications of the subject at hand. Working with the motto, “The world is beautiful, the world is good, the world is true” (R. Steiner), we have devoted ourselves to the beauty of our kindergartens, with the creation of many beautiful, colorful and practical decorative elements and toys, so that they can be habitats for very busy children. Playing ourselves, we have experienced how the children can play with these play objects, and what such play might look like. We have occupied ourselves with the children’s drawings as an expression of child development, and with the color wheel as a foundation for watercolor painting. Well-equipped with material for further study, the women have gone back to their everyday lives.
Their biggest problem at the moment is that they must wait an entire year before they can show me their newly-designed kindergartens. That puts their patience and ability to persevere to the test! Their boundless idealism encourages these women and me to carry on. I hope, with the help of IASWECE and the Simba Kufunda Association, to continue this valuable summer seminar for a long time to come.
Johanna Birth, Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Görwihl, Germany. She taught courses several times In Zimbabwe with the “Simba Kufunda” Association.