Where Waldorf Education Blooms

Turkey. The Waldorf movement is still young in Turkey. Nisan Eskicioglu works with teachers who want to train as Waldorf teachers. An interview.

Nisan Eskicioglu (Source: Erman Güneş and Serkan Yılmaz)

How did you first encounter Waldorf education?

I studied Fine Arts and Theater in Venice and worked for the Venice Biennale in 2013. There, I saw Rudolf Steiner’s chalkboard drawings in the main pavilion. I remember being fascinated and wondering, “Who is this person?” I was so curious and intrigued that I decided to write my final thesis on “Art in Waldorf Education.” I also found a Waldorf Teacher Training near Venice. After graduating, I completed a two-year full-time teacher training course there. My first job was as an assistant kindergarten teacher at a Waldorf school in Bologna. I then returned to Turkey to be part of the first initiative in Istanbul, the Nisan Imece Waldorf Kindergarten.

What is involved in the work you are doing in the schools in Turkey?

If a teacher is already interested in Waldorf education, the water flows effortlessly. Teachers who are interested in creating safe spaces for children quickly feel a resonance with everything I bring in from Waldorf pedagogy. I often see changes in the atmosphere of the classroom the very next day. For me, it’s mainly about helping the teacher understand the nature of a child and what a teacher really is from a child’s perspective. I also focus on inspiring a reverence for human beings and nature and a certain curiosity about life. If I can help teachers realize that their job is not just a job but a way of life, change is easy. My work usually accompanies a teacher during their Waldorf education teacher training.

What future do you see for Waldorf pedagogy in Turkey?

We are already seeing Waldorf pedagogy blossoming throughout the country. Alanya has a Waldorf school; in Istanbul, there are several Waldorf kindergartens and a Waldorf elementary school, which is a family initiative. There are many people who are interested in a Waldorf teacher training. Eğitim Sanatı Dostları Derneği (ESDD) (The Association of Friends of the Art of Education) has been doing great work since 2009. However, we still need more support from Turkish families. And we need more time to connect Waldorf education with other areas of anthroposophy. We still don’t have eurythmists or anthroposophical doctors who can collaborate with the schools. But, I am sure they will join us when the time is right. This country is so interesting, full of surprises and joie de vivre. Parents are looking for alternative education in these times and want their children to connect with life in new ways.

More at Eğitim Sanatı Dostları Derneği

Translation Joshua Kelberman
Photo (Title image) Xue Li

Corrections (13.03.2024): For a few expressions, the translations was corrected.

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