Imhoff Waldorf School is set on the hill side of beautiful Kommetjie, the parents and children walk down a bumpy dust road, past goats and horses, the sound of chickens in the background into what feels like a farm land in the middle of the country side. Wooden class rooms scattered between trees and indigenous planted gardens, a rope swing outside the office teaming with young children waiting their turn, the sound of laughter and singing in the classrooms. Hang on it gets better…
The School installed a sustainable “green” energy system that powers the office. The school had to get power to this building because of the need for an alarm system as well as the obvious constraints of running an office in this day in age without power. The office harnesses the energy from both the sun and the wind. A wind turbine can be seen just behind the office and the roof has solar panels on them. After some teething problems the green energy system is running smoothly. The classrooms however have no electricity at all and never have! The children work with the aid of the sunlight coming in through the windows and it has been decided to keep it that way for now. Imhoff Waldorf School recently received green flag status by the WESSA Eco schools program and not only uses green energy but has a number of other inspiring elements to the school.
Waldorf Schools work closely with nature and it is key to their curriculum. The class 3 children are doing farming this year and have started a vegetable garden which is watered from the rain water tanks. The High School also has a vegetable garden and has set out to grow enough veggies for a Creche in Masipumelele.
The school also recycles all its waste and almost every class has its own compost heap and some classes even have worm farms. The school plans to start a recycling project, getting the local farm involved as well as the public.
I asked if the green energy system has inspired parents to take this example into their own homes and whether the children felt encouraged to take this out into the world. They once asked a group of grade 7 students whether they felt that going to school in a green environment had impacted them. The kids responded by saying that they felt confident with these technologies and that the love of nature had truly been instilled in them.
It was also agreed that there is definitely a cross pollination between the school and parents and a sense of community has come out of this, all working together to care for the earth. The school also has a wonderful outreach program, selling second hand books, clothes etc … to raise money for children who would not normally have the opportunity to do so.
A school is a wonderful platform for teaching our youth and guiding their parents and in turn reaching the greater community AND THE WORLD! I have been truly inspired and I hope this has inspired you to change the way you think and maybe even challenge your child’s school to make a difference.
Sasha Wainwright, Project 90×2030