A look into the past: the development of the WOB

Inspired by the desire to establish a Waldorf high school in South Tyrol that was based on the basic ideas of Rudolf Steiner and motivated by the knowledge of the undiscovered potential of Waldorf education, Doris Laner-Theiner and Markus Feichter, parents and board members of the Waldorf School “Christian Morgenstern” in Merano, founded in September the Waldorf High School for South Tyrol in Bolzano. After the establishment of the cultural and educational association EUROB (European Association for the Promotion of Waldorf Education Bolzano), Markus Feichter became the first president and officially took over the organizational direction. Once or twice a month, with the support of a start-up consultant, a meeting on the EUROB mission statement took place. A first result is the founding of Waldorf teacher training in Bolzano (WAB).
In 2005, the first 2-year part-time vocational training to become a Waldorf teacher began. In August of the same year, the 1st Artistic Summer Week took place as part of the WAB at the Waldorf School Meran with Ulrich and Simone Eise, Martanda Jost and Peter Hart with drama, sculpture, music and descriptive geometry.
In September 2006 the WOB starts with the first 9th grade at the Free Waldorf School “Christian Morgenstern” in Obermais / Meran with 6 pupils. It is the second Waldorf high school in Italy besides Milan. In the same year the WOB starts a collaboration with the Waldorf School Innsbruck and a group of teachers as well as a collaboration with the Humanistic Gymnasium “Walther von der Vogelweide”, Bolzano. Likewise the WOB becomes a member of the Federazione Waldorf in Rome and in the Anthroposophical Adult Education Academy in Vienna. In 2006, the WAB also received recognition from the World Federation of Waldorf Schools, through the Pedagogical Section of the Free School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach (CH).
In the first half of 2007, a joint project of pupils of the 9th grade of the WOB and the Free Waldorf School, Innsbruck was created. In addition, a joint art trip to Florence was organized as part of the Art History epoch.
In June 2007, an informational trip to the Waldorf Schools in Überlingen, Stuttgart-Uhlandshöhe, Ulm-Illerblick, Munich-Ismaning and Salzburg was held with provincial councilor Otto Saurer. The bureaucratic obstacles were overcome after the trip and all existing Waldorf schools in South Tyrol met the required criteria of the school board and obtained the status of a recognized school. In June 2007, the WOB moved to Buozzistraße 18. Grades 9, 10 and 11 were comprised of 47 students.
The number of students increased to a total of 60 students and the first 5 exchange students from New York, Boston, Baltimore, Canberra and Graz were welcomed for 2 months. We also organized the second sailing trip from Elba to Corsica in collaboration with the Free School Glonntal.
The school’s own garden was being built on the 5th floor of the school, which was brought to life with much effort and time. The school community grew to 100 students.
The first diplomas were awarded to the pupils. On average, between 10 and 20 students per year now successfully complete the WOB.
15 teachers taught at the WOB, 6 teachers also at the WUB.
The WOB celebrated its 10th anniversary in the auditorium “Galileo Galilei”. Also, the 2nd Waldorf Music Festival “WATCHAMACALLIT” with 10 hours of live music and other artistic performances took place. Former and current students, parents, teachers, friends and supporters from near and far travelled for it. The Waldorf Intermediate (WUB) fulfilled the required criteria of the Italian School Office and in December 2016 also attained the status of a recognized school.
A year of great changes, the association’s board became more involved in the bureaucratic process of the EUROB, older teachers said goodbye and younger teachers joined in. The cooperation with the equivalent Waldorf school “Nuovo Liceo, Milano” strengthened further. The status of the WOB progressed well and the 3rd Waldorf Music Festival “WATCHAMACALLIT” took place on the 2nd of December.
In 2018, two former South Tyrolean school headmasters will be “brought on board” to accompany the process of equality in a goal-oriented way.
Countless working meetings with pedagogical representatives of the German and Italian school authorities and the regional councillor for German education Philip Achammer should prepare the way to equality well between 2019 and 2020. The WOB supports the great international initiative Fridays for Futur to the best of its ability. Thank you Greta! One third of the roof garden will be totally dug up and re-insulated in summer 2019!
Will go down in the history books as there is (almost) a total worldwide school ban “thanks” to a virus! Pupil numbers and new enrolments totally collapse! As a consequence, WOB moves from the industrial zone to the Kaiser-Au in the countryside to a small farm after school in these crowned times.
The school year in the new green campus is very very pleasant. Horticulture and agriculture take on a new importance. We successfully complete a school year with few students and one class successfully graduates from Warnborrough College. From autumn onwards, the number of pupils rises again to 63 which is very pleasing. As at the founding of WOB, in 2006, we again decide to build 3 construction containers, gaining a new, warm large classroom.
As nice and pleasant as it was, the new campus became too cramped for us and so the school moved to the new large, green campus, another railway station further on to Terlan. In the 800 year old Marstallhof we find a large outdoor area on a 6 hectare site and the 3rd floor under old beams is furnished for our purposes and necessities.
We have settled in very well, the classrooms are quiet, warm and bright and the outdoor area with workshops, garden and forest under Maultasch Castle are very fitting and liveable. The WOB accreditation process is in full swing and nearing completion.