Russia: Zhukovsky is a city located along the Moscow river, about 40 kilometres southeast of the capital. The Free School was founded in 1992 by a joint initiative of graduate teachers from the Waldorf Seminar in Moscow and parents wanting Waldorf education for their children. Today around 100 students attend 11 classes.
Zhukovsky is the country’s centre of aircraft technology and a considerable number of inhabitants are scientists, engineers, and designers. It is therefore a challenge for the school to combine the “high-tech mentality” of the town with the holistic and artistic approach of Waldorf education.
Besides focusing on Waldorf educational elements, significant attention is directed towards final exams, where students regularly achieve good results in various competitions and Olympiads. Often they obtain medals for their academic achievements when graduating. Similarly, teachers also constantly improve their professional skills and receive awards in pedagogical contests within the city as well as the Moscow region.
A great part of school life is the relationship with partner schools in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. Several classes have already paid visits to foreign schools and students of those schools in turn visited Zhukovsky. Moreover, music and theatre activities at Free Shool are taken beyond the scope of the educational curriculum. In fact, the school band “Alternativa” excites the local crowds during several concerts every year and a theatrical troupe regularly stages great plays.
Currently the school is mostly funded by parents and only one-fifth of the budget comes from government contributions. For the future the school aims to move some classrooms into new buildings as well as to separate the kindergarten. Although already a lot of reconstruction projects have become true thanks to the efforts of the parents that will not be sufficient to ensure future growth.