The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education

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Published on December 20th, 2016 | by ECSWE

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Joint ECSWE & IASWECE Meeting in Tartu, October 2016

A joint meeting around common concerns

All over Europe, Steiner Waldorf schools and kindergartens find themselves confronted with the same challenges that affect the quality of childhood. They all have to deal with the question of how the digital transformation of society affects child development, and how to foster childrens’ media literacy without compromising our holistic and developmental pedagogical approach. In other words: how to preserve the essence of childhood and adolescence in the digital age?

ECSWE and IASWECE and the Association of Estonian Waldorf schools jointly explored answers to these questions during a public conference in Tartu, Estonia between the 14th and the 16th of October 2016. More than 80 international delegates joined the conference “Education in the Digital Age – A Challenge for Parents and Teachers. Aspects of Media Education in Steiner Waldorf Pedagogy”

ECSWE and IASWECE then held joint workshops during the weekend, bringing together early childhood educators and school teachers, a historical moment! 

As an ECSWE representative I strongly feel that we should collaborate much more, also within our movement. Our aims and targets are the same, and our viewpoints are so close that putting our strengths together seems like the natural thing to do. Moreover, spending time working on common challenges also fosters a good working spirit and makes our mouvement stronger.

Of course, shaping and structuring our common visions takes time – and a lot of talking and listening. And that is one of the ideas behind the creation of ECSWE. Personally, I really enjoyed the group work and felt that we should invest more energy in the development of our group working skills – the art of hosting workshops and harvesting the ideas developed in meaningful conversations with our European colleagues. In large scale international meetings,  group work is the only way to truly involve all of the participants, and that is what it should be for a delegate. We should have a chance to be active in the meetings as it is a waste of time to bring everyone together if there is no co-creation and real ‘harvesting’ out of the conversations held – just sharing information can be done differently. I am so happy that ECSWE meetings are evolving more and more towards this participatory and co-creative spirit.

In addition ,the social capital that is created in ECSWE meetings cannot be underestimated. Collaborating via phone, e-mails, etc. is so much easier when you have met the person in real life! Over the years, many ECSWE colleagues have become friends. Throughout these years, I have often joked that I meet ECSWE delegates more often than my relatives. But it is true…

In our Tartu meeting we also had the very special chance to get to know our Estonian colleagues. It was impressive how much effort – and fun – they had put into the evening programme! Thank you so much!

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The positive atmosphere in Tartu inspired me and my colleagues Outi and Tina from Finland to start a new blog ‘In Steiner – Steinerissa bongattua’.  That is something fairly small and simple, but it is a start: a visible thing to show one side of the international work. We want to encourage all delegates to do something like that – to share their thoughts and visions with their fellow countrymen and also with the greater international audience.  Because if we do not share what we are doing, nobody knows…

Pia Pale
CEO / Federation for Steiner Waldorf Education in Finland
ECSWE representative
pia.pale@steinerkasvatus.fi
+358 (0)44 3588826

 


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