Founded in 2005, Ein Bustan is an award-winning Waldorf school and community center located at the meeting point of the Jewish village of Kiryat Tivon and the Arab villages of Hilf and Basmat Taba'un. All activities at Ein Bustan are conducted in both Hebrew and Arabic and the school currently hosts early childhood classes, two kindergartens, and an elementary school that currently runs up to third grade. Ibtisam Zubidat, a teacher in Ein Bustan says, "Ein Bustan awakens a feeling of optimism and hope. It is a microcosm of how things could be.”
Shepha Vainstein, Highland Hall alumni parent, co-founded reGeneration, a local non-profit organization, to generate awareness and support for Waldorf education in the Middle East. After a visit to schools in Israel and the West Bank Vainstein became convinced of the critical role that education plays in building interpersonal and intercultural bridges across divides of cynicism and despair, and recognized the power that Waldorf Education could have in bringing peace to the region. "In over 1000 Waldorf schools worldwide, children benefit from a sense of harmony, creativity, and fairness that leads them into lifelong action in the service of what is good and just."
In Israel there are currently 16 Waldorf schools, educating 4,000 children, and the number is growing at the rate of 10% per year. A Waldorf teacher training curriculum is offered at the prestigious David Yellin College of Education in Jerusalem. To date, no openly flourishing Waldorf school exists in any of the 22 Arab countries, though interest for them to develop there has been expressed in Palestinian communities and in Iraq. “Waldorf education leads the imaginations of the children to freedom and does not impose a particular world view upon them,” says Schlomian.
reGeneration is an interfaith non-profit organization whose mission is "to seed the Middle East with an educational philosophy that embraces life, learning, the arts, the earth and all the children." For more information about their programs visit http://regenerationeducation.org/