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Summer Newsletter – 2003

Posted by on September 26, 2012

Dear Friends,

We apologize that our newsletter is a little late this summer. We have been working very hard with many developments to tell you about!! On May 12, 2003, we began our 4th school year at Tashi Waldorf School with 60 children in 3 kindergartens and a class one and two. We will begin a class three in April 2004 and the new classroom is now under construction.

Our most exciting news is that in September 2002 a funding proposal was submitted to the "Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung" (BMZ), a ministry of the German Federal Government, to fund the remaining construction needs at Tashi Waldorf School. This proposal was written and managed by Mr. Jürgen Bartzsch of Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V., Germany.

In late December 2002, BMZ granted 22,500 euro to CON to finish building the facilities at Tashi Waldorf School. The ISIS Foundation of Bermuda contributed 4,500 euro and Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V 3,000 euro to make up a total project funding of 30,000 euro. The project includes building, furnishing and equipping 3 new classrooms and building two interior washrooms, a kitchen and a retaining wall in the valley to prevent landslides. The work started in February 2003 and will finish in October 2003.

The result is that our main school building is now completely built, furnished and equipped with 3 kindergartens accommodating 40 children and classrooms for grades 1 and 2, along with a school hall and washrooms. A small one-story building is having a second floor built as a classroom for grade 3, and the first floor accommodates a teacher training room and library. There is now a wonderful library with books on Waldorf education and its curriculum, stories from all over the world especially from the Nepalese and Tibetan cultures, and books on the arts of the Himalayas. Our teachers now have such wonderful resources!!

A wonderful play structure has been built in the garden, which incorporates a slide, ladder, jungle gym, rope ladder and sliding pole. Jamie, a gifted carpenter from New Zealand’ spent 6 weeks with us designing and building this structure. The minute it was finished the children were so excited to use it and we had a special grand opening early one morning. We would also like to thank Lena Wolfrum and Bridie Fahey who both volunteered at the school this spring helping in the office and with the children.

The new kitchen is a dream for our cooks Bharatama and Monita. There is now plenty of space and light and proper cooking equipment for their challenging task of preparing snack and lunch for 70 people every day. In the old kitchen, which was a third of the size of the new kitchen, they thought they needed a third person to help them. But upon moving to the new kitchen with an industrial cook top and dedicated water supply, they no longer feel they need extra help at all.

The work to prevent landslides in the valley has become a real community project. Mr. Maheswar Ghimire, an organic agriculturalist, is our designer on the project. The valley will be terraced and planted with bamboo, lemon grass and other vegetation with root structures that will hold the earth. As one half of the valley belongs to neighbours, they will join in the project providing their labour.

We would like to deeply thank all of the individuals and organizations involved in this amazing project. Our school is fully established now with all the facilities and materials needed to educate and care for our children and teachers.

On the education side, Kate Bryant from New Zealand, arrived in April to spend this school year with us mentoring and training the teachers as well as taking on the very challenging work of adapting the Waldorf classes 1 through 3 curricula with the Himalayan cultures. Kate is amazing as she goes through the markets finding local goods and traditions to blend into the lessons in the classes. Tibetan rug designs feed form drawing. The colourful bracelets Hindu women wear are wrapped in thread to make the geometric shapes created by the multiplication tables. Local games have been found to help the children with their math’s.

Kate has also been working very diligently with all of the teachers to create a solid foundation for observation and record keeping of the children’s and teachers’ progress. Then there is the enormous amount of work and study in researching the stories, gods and goddesses and festivals of the Hindu and Buddhist religions to find the appropriate elements to bring to the children. And finally she leads the teachers through their lesson planning daily and helps the kindergarten teachers to develop new circles, songs and stories. We are so thrilled and deeply grateful that she is with us!! We do however desperately need someone to take over from Kate when she leaves in March 2004. Please contact us if you are interested and we will send you more information.

The on-going Seminar Program was put on hold this year. After much discussion, Meyrav, Marjorie Theyer and Kate felt that the teachers had received so much training during the past 3 years that they needed time to put into practice what they had received and let further questions form. Kate held a 3 day seminar in July entitled “Integrating Mathematics in the Early School Years: Kindergarten to Class 3.” The topics included child development, children’s learning processes, the relevance of mathematics in life, curriculum planning and presentation, and math’s in physical and artistic activities. Angela Querido a Waldorf teacher from Bristol, England was able to join in on the last day bringing math’s in movement, where everyone had lots of fun. 22 people attended the seminar.

We are so delighted to report that 32 of 50 children now have dedicated sponsorship at the school. We would like to warmly welcome our new sponsors to the family here in Nepal and thank you for helping the children to have this wonderful education. To our existing sponsors, as always thank you for all of your support, and you should have received your annual child sponsor reports in July. We would like to ask our sponsors to send us their photo so that we may introduce our community to all of you.

We would like to thank the Christchurch Waldorf Community for the lovely warm sweaters, the Wolfrum Family and friends for the gifts of school supplies, clothes and books, the Mount Barker Waldorf community for beeswax, the Calgary Waldorf community for vitamins, toys and educational materials, and Angela Werner for watercolour paints. We would also like to welcome Renate Wolfrum and Barbara Bartzsch to our pashmina business. Both Renate and Barbara are so very generously selling pashmina on our behalf in Germany. If you wish to contact them please let us know.

If any of you including parent, teacher or student groups are interested in travel or trekking in Nepal, Sikkim or Tibet, please let us know and we can help you organize a truly memorable experience in the Himalayas.

We close this newsletter with much excitement and thankfulness in our hearts for the tremendous help and support you have all given us over these past 3 years. We are so happy to tell you that we are growing, thriving and blooming here in Nepal.

With sincere thanks and best wishes,
Everyone at Children of Nepal & Tashi Waldorf School