There are 6 legally registered, private, Waldorf-inspired kindergartens in Istanbul, 1 in Izmir, 1 in Eskişehir, 1 in Alanya and a playgroup in Bodrum. There are initiatives in Alanya and in Istanbul for a Waldorf-inspired school. A new kindergarten is forming in Çanakkale.

Looking back. After founding the “Waldorf Initiative Istanbul” in October 2008, we organized a Waldorf symposium, and later founded “The Association of Friends of the Art of Education” (ESDD) to begin the Waldorf Early Childhood Education Training Seminar. The first seminar took place from October 2009 to July 2011 and afterwards, from 2011- 2015 we organized several deepening courses. We completed our second Training Seminar, which began in 2015, in August 2017. We’ve started the third Training Seminar in January 2018, it will continue till August 2020. We’ve also started the first Teacher Training in August 2016 with an opening seminar, it will continue till August 2020.

Whenever international trainers come, we organize parent evenings, and we are trying to organize mentoring visits twice each year for all the initiatives in Turkey.

Training. The 1st training seminar took place one weekend each month for a total of 600 hours, based on the IASWECE Guidelines for Training. The 2nd seminar had three blocks each year and several deepening seminars in between, for a total of 550 hours. The third seminar has three blocks each year and several deepening seminars in between, for a total of 550 hours. To complete the training, all seminar students must spend a month in a Waldorf kindergarten for practical training and write a thesis paper.

Collaboration. This year we attended the 5th Children Biennial, in which we have taken part since 2011. We have also attended the Alternative Education Symposium with presentations about Waldorf Pedagogy. In October 2015 our 1st Turkish Waldorf Initiatives Gathering took place and the 2nd was held in April 2016 in Bodrum.

One of the most important issues in Turkey is to find long-term mentors. Since we are a bridge country between east and west, the political and economic situations make it difficult to found independent-minded holistic education systems, but on the other hand, more and more parents who are awakening do not want to send their children to public and private schools, and the will is growing to develop Waldorf education in Turkey. Another burning issue for us is to find ways of collaboration between parents, teachers and legal bodies in order to found independent kindergartens.

From the beginning IASWECE has supported the training seminars and mentoring activity in Turkey.

Tarhan Onur is the founder of “the Association of Friends of the Art of Education Istanbul” and has been devoted for many years to the development of Waldorf Education in Turkey.

Website of the “The Association of Friends of the Art of Education” Egitim Sanati Dostlan Dernegi  – Waldorf Girisim Istanbul” (ESDD). Uluslararası Steiner/Waldorf Erken Çocukluk Eğitimi Birliği