EUDEC Member School:
Address: Halde, CH-6208 Oberkirch, Switzerland
Contact person: Florence Emmenegger
Year founded: 2009
Number of students: 15 (2010 incl. Kindergarten); final goal: 30 – 40
Number of staff: 7 (mostly part time)
Age range of students: 4 - 16
Type of funding (government/private): private
Lindenschule is a school for children of kindergarten age up to the 9th class. It was founded in 2009, in a small town along Lake Sempach, about 20 minutes from Lucerne in the central part of Switzerland. Children, starting in the 1st class, attend school four days a week, living working and learning together as a family. School attendance is required between 9 AM and 5 PM, with additional supervision provided starting at 7:30 AM and ending at 6 PM.
In weekly group meetings, the students discuss current activities and interests, reflect on and work to address conflicts, and plan for group activities. Additionally, the children talk about and define their individual study goals, assisted by one of the coaching adults.
The setting of the school is exceptional: Lindenschule is situated on a certified organic farm with a forest and brook nearby. Living in the midst of a productive farm, with animals and surrounded by nature, the children are immersed in the cycles of the season. In the school’s small garden, children help to plant, tend, and harvest produce, which they then use for their own lunch. In this way, each child comes to understand, first hand, organic agricultural production. Here, then, the children have an environment in which to move as they wish, live out their adventures, and be creative in all they do.
The daily routines and freedom enable the children to put down their roots as they choose. Working, playing, and exploring with other children allows each to discover his or her individuality and core values, which then can be developed within the mindful school community. The children work efficiently and in a concentrated manner on their individual study goals, which they set for themselves with help from a staff person. At the same time, they learn to recognize their rhythms and own ways of working and to adjust their actions as they work toward their goals.
Learning in such a close community and with daily contact with nature, students develop mindfulness and respect for how everything and everyone is connected, and they are motivated to contribute to this whole. They develop confidence in their own abilities and experience the contribution that every individual brings to something, be it a project, a conversation, or a game.
An American-Indian tipi and a Mongolian yurt are used as classrooms in addition to several traditional inside rooms. The school provides these various learning spaces – from inside rooms to farm fields, stalls, and natural environments – with the hope that this is an ideal setting for developing personal human diversity. Our goal is that each student will be motivated from within to recognize, develop, and live his or her full potential and in turn contribute valuably to the human and natural world.