Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides
“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist … using technologies that haven't been invented … in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.” –Richard Riley, former US Secretary of Education under President Clinton.
Tucked away in the mountains of Limassol, about 20 minutes from the sea, you’ll find a school like no other. The Island Private School, an English-speaking, progressive type of school based on the Waldorf system, has begun operating and is the first of its kind in Cyprus. It currently has 350 students, mostly from international backgrounds, and has a 700-student capacity. There are more than 85 teachers and staff on hand, the majority of them brought in from around the world, with 2 librarians who, between them, speak a total of 11 languages. Impressive to say the least.
The story of the school is an interesting one. It was founded by Alexander Shkuratov, a Russian businessman who moved his family to Cyprus in 2015. When asked why he chose Cyprus, Alexander replied, “…because of the friendly people, the climate and the common religion”. But according to Alexander, he and other parents were having difficulty finding a school that could provide a more holistic and natural way to educate their children.
After the success of his company, Prodly.co, the IT entrepreneur decided he had to establish a Waldorf school on the island. And it could not have come at a better time given the influx of Russian-speaking families to Cyprus brought on by the war in Ukraine and the deteriorating situation in Russia. "We were able to obtain the permits to establish the school in less than four months, which is a record for Cyprus," he claimed.
When asked why the Cyprus government was so accommodating, he said it was because the presentation was organized and, most importantly, there was a particular need to accommodate Russian-speaking children who could not adjust or assimilate in Greek-speaking schools. “At this time 70% of our students are from Russian-speaking countries, but we hope more locals will enroll,” Alexander said.
The school is a breath of fresh air for Cyprus. It currently offers 2 paths, according to Alexander, and parents can choose between the Waldorf system or the International Baccalaureate system, something that no other school in Cyprus can offer in tandem. But the IT executive from Silicon Valley cannot say enough about the Waldorf system, “It is essentially a feelings-based system that aims to engage the children in thinking, feeling and doing. It gives the children skills in leadership, critical thinking and creativity, preparing them for the jobs of the future.”
The Waldorf concept is most popular among progressive, liberal-minded parents who are looking for alternative educational choices for their kids, it is increasingly gaining popularity around the world. Most notably in Germany, the US and the Netherlands. For more information, you can click on their site https://isl.cy/ or call +35725752575.