Die Waldorfschule

‘Our’ school closed on Friday 13th July, 2018 and won’t reopen in September. Shared values, so many memories, great friends, festivals and the rhythm of the year, committed teachers, a way of life. Gone. I won’t try to convince you, but the world would be better if the Steiner method was widely used. Thanks to all the staff for giving Valentina and Sebastian a great start in life.

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Accusations, rights, wrongs, emotions, recriminations, meetings, hope, new team, hopes dashed, the school regulator, comparison with Germany, Daily Mail, Hemel Hempstead Gazette scoop of the century, lessons carried on and our two enjoyed them.

Last week was full of events, which Jane, Valentina and Sebastian took part in. The Dailly Telegraph could have sneaked a photographer to watch bohemian, wealthy, middle class liberals mourn the demise of the school. I hope that there was space to dock the leased 3-series amongst the twenty year old cars belonging to the people wealthy enough send their kids to ‘an elite Hertfordshire school with fees up to £10,000.’ The stories of complete sacrifice people made to give their kids a good start isn’t newsworthy. It stretched us to the absolute limit, and we didn’t do a lot of other things.

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Change had to happen, the school had to comply with the regulations of the day. To those, who made complaints, thanks. During the evening on the last day, it chucked it down. Those nourishing rains were to germinate the seeds of the new, better school which will spring up. In the last four years, I’ve seen hope and wonder amidst despair. There is always hope. I dream one day that there will be four hundred Steiner schools in UK, as in Germany, state funded and accessible to all, as in Germany. I close by giving special thanks to five people. Inga, who taught both Valentina and Sebastian in Kindergarten, Denis, who was Valentina’s class teacher, Tiggy who was Sebastian’s class teacher, Jane, who persuaded me to support Waldorf education and Meredith, who we met in Beauchamp Park in the northern suburbs of Sydney and who told us about the newly opened Steiner kindergarten.

This is one of the many emails and conversations we’ve had about the school.

Dear Sebastian,

You didn’t want your Dad to get sick. You didn’t want your school to close. You are being affected by things you can’t control. I am sure that you feel angry, sad and disappointed, and other times you forget about it all. I want you to know that you are a very brave and strong boy and that I love you very much.

Love from Daddy

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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