Our school is called the Freie Waldorfschule Greifswald and, together with the kindergarten and the after-school care, belongs legally and economically to the not-for-profit «Association for the Promotion of Waldorf Education Greifswald». In this respect, we are not a state school or a private school, as is often thought, but a state-approved alternative school. We have our own pedagogical concept, in the centre of which is the growing human being, i.e., the child’s physical, mental and intellectual development. In addition to teaching and school events, our school has to be managed in a range of areas on a day-to-day basis: this includes finances, examination procedures, personnel matters, property management and many other tasks. In part, these are areas that are covered in a state school by a principal, the school board, the local council or even the Ministry.
The teachers at our school are free to decide for themselves how to organise the management of the school. We have decided to manage the school together internally and externally – and to manage it ourselves. All teachers who are permanently employed, preferably with a fulltime position, can participate in the management of the school. Three weekly conferences/meetings are used to exchange ideas and agree on tasks: these are the pedagogical conference, the technical conference and the school management conference. In addition, there are other committees, but these usually just involve a few colleagues, parents or students. For example, elected parents and staff members with legal and financial expertise are involved in the Board of the Association.
Learning for the children
Teachers organise our school to best serve their striving for the development of the students. Those who are fully responsible for everything concerning the school and who share in the decisions made develop an awareness of the diverse processes in and around the school. In acting, thinking and feeling together – sharing in this common work – it is possible to shape the school anew again and again. This is a learning process for the teachers involved, in that they can bring their own abilities into the social sphere and, in so doing, develop and further shape the potential which lies dormant within them. It is not individuals or specialists who set the direction of how the school will develop and make decisions about finance, learning content, hiring new staff or the distribution of tasks. The pedagogical tasks that the students set for the teaching community and the consensus of the approach to these tasks by those involved in the meetings determine all facets of school life.
Once these tasks have been identified and discussed in the various meetings, their implementation is placed in the hands of individuals or groups who work at the school, for example, teaching in the classes, the planning of the school budget, the organisation of examination procedures, the technical organisation of everyday school life, the maintenance of school buildings, and much more.
Teachers, caretakers, administration staff, parents and sometimes students are the ones who can organise and carry out these concrete tasks. The selection of suitable people is usually made by the teachers participating in the various meetings. Who can be trusted with the task to be fulfilled? Who can develop themselves further with this task? Who is able to be selected in the first place? What support is needed? How should feedback be provided to the meeting when the task is completed? The commitment to take on any task is always linked to the freedom of the individual. Whether they take it up and for what period of time must be decided by the person themselves, after the College of Teachers has outlined the task to them.