AND SO THE RAPHAELI WALDORF SCHOOL STORY BEGAN…
In 2008 discussions began regarding the establishment of a Waldorf School in Plettenberg Bay. Several people had connections to and experience of this kind of education. Gabbeh Wellens had worked in Camphill Hermanus, a Waldorf home, farm and school for special needs children. Rain Martin had trained as a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher. Maria Shearer and Claire Randon had been pupils of Michael Mount Waldorf School in Johannesburg. Rose Shearer had run a small Waldorf inspired school in Cape Town and Sue Gurney had been a class teacher at Roseway Waldorf in Durban. With their support, Gabbeh started home schooling in Wittedrift in 2009. Sue Gurney joined as a teacher in July 2009, Claire Randon and Maria Sheerer started the Kindergarten on a separate property in Wittedrift in January 2010 and Yvette Worrall, a Waldorf teacher and eurythmist from Cape Town joined Raphaeli in May of that year.
The name ‘Raphaeli’ was chosen by the founders. It recalls the mission of healing of Raphael, an archangel acknowledged in Hebrew, Mohammedan and Christian texts and whose mercurial healing nature is found under many names in other cultures. It has been said that in our times all education is remedial and we all have special needs. We strive to meet these through the inspired understandings of the child that Waldorf Education can give. Our goal is to develop strong and healthy individuals who have a will to work; who are inspired to learn, explore, understand and create; and who have a strongly anchored sense of responsibility for themselves and others.
The Primary school and Kindergarten moved locations as they outgrew several premises. In July 2012 Leathem Farm in Piesang Valley became the home of both schools. In 2014 Raphaeli was granted developing school status by the South African Federation of Waldorf Schools, making us the first Waldorf School on the Garden Route. In 2016, Cecil Monk’s persistence took Raphaeli a step further – to full registration as an Independent school. Finally, January 2019 will see the school grounded on its own 21-hectare piece of land overlooking the breadth and beauty of the bay and the mountains beyond.
From one pupil in January in 2009 to 116 children from diverse backgrounds in the community, we have come far and are excited to plan for an expanded Primary and Kindergarten School with visions for a High School.