By  Aban  Bana

          The tenth Waldorf Education Teachers Training Seminar was held in Khandala, which is a hill station in the Sahyadri range, about 100 km from Mumbai, India. The venue has always been the D.C. boarding school where the accommodation is quite cheap and the food is very good, healthy and pure vegetarian. Mr. Basavaraj, the administrator of D.C.School, is aware of our needs and what we deem important, and cooperates accordingly.

          This year there were sixty participants during the first week of our seminar, mainly Waldorf teachers from India, Nepal and two from Europe. The second week, which was specifically for teachers from mainstream and Waldorf-inspired schools as well as from NGOís, had twenty-five more participants. Lecturers at the seminar were Peter Patterson, Geert de Vries, Helga Bay Mueller, Leonie Le Maistre and Aban Bana.

          There would have been even more participants, but for various reasons they couldnít come. One group of teachers from the Tribeni Waldorf School in Dhaka, Bangladesh, didnít manage to raise enough funds for the trip to India, and another group from the Roshni Waldorf School in Lahore, Pakistan, didnít get the required visas. The lone participant from Kashmir was unable to come due to the death of his neighbour. We sincerely hope that all of them will be able to attend the Khandala seminar in May 2009.

          Subjects on offer at the Khandala seminar were the theory and practice of Waldorf Education right from kindergarten up to the upper school, as well as artistic and creative subjects like painting, black and white and form drawing, geometry, singing, recorders and Indian flutes, games, speech and drama as well as Eurythmy.  The day would begin at 7.30 am with Morning Circle and end at 10 pm with presentations from the various schools and NGOís. Several of the seminar participants work in Non Governmental Organisations for the welfare of underprivileged or handicapped children.

          This annual residential seminar, which started in May 1999, has been instrumental in bringing Waldorf Education to hundreds of teachers in the Indian subcontinent. Not only have Waldorf teachers profited from the high quality of the subjects on offer, but many teachers from conventional schools have been inspired to take on a new approach to child education.  Some of these teachers have started their own Waldorf inspired schools or have modified the curriculum of the main stream schools in which they teach. Two years ago a group of teachers from Mumbai met at this seminar and decided to start classes for the underprivileged children in the suburb of Goregaon. This initiative now has over a hundred children and that number is steadily growing. 

          We are very grateful to all the teachers who have taught at Khandala, especially Geert de Vries and Chris Bennett, and to those who have financially supported the teachers, like Nana Goebel and Philip Martyn. Our seminar fees are quite low, as we would like all to attend.

For details about the Khandala Waldorf Education Seminar in May 2009, please contact Aban Bana: