18/09/06

1st Day of School in the "Independent Anne-Sophie School"

Künzelsau. At the beginning of the new school year 2006/2007, the official opening ceremony on Monday morning (September 18, 2006) also marked the beginning of school for the first students of the Independent Anne-Sophie School in Künzelsau. Led by the motto for the new school year "living together, learning from each other and being there for each other", the 48 elementary school pupils entered the new "learning rooms" that for the time being are housed in the former agricultural school at Zollstockweg in Künzelsau.

Franz Zipperle, managing director of the charitable Würth Foundation that is in charge of the Independent Anne-Sophie School, welcomed the guests of the opening ceremony with a quote by Martin Luther: "When the number of schools increases, the country is on the right track." Bettina Würth, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group and initiator of the school thanked the children and their parents for the trust and confidence placed in the school. "I hope that this first generation of students standing here today really experiences and learns what we have thought about and designed in our many reflections and considerations," is how she ventured a glance into the future. Prof. Reinhold Würth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group's Family Trusts, too, gave a congratulatory message: "When these children talk about their time in school later and can say that the time they spent in the Anne-Sophie School was the best time of their youth, of their life even, then we will really have set a lot of things in motion." Wolfgang Schiele, principal in charge at the Stuttgart regional board as well as the mayor of the town of Künzelsau, Volker Lenz, wished the school all the best in their greetings.

The framework program of the official ceremony was designed by both the schoolchildren and their teachers. The very lively song performed by the children and titled "Getting up, approaching one another, learning from each other and learning how to deal with each other" as well as the presentation of this year's motto in the form of a performance of music and dance on the part of the teaching staff put everybody in the right mood for the first day of school.

The basic educational concept

Prof. Richard Meier, one of the most prominent educational experts in Germany was commissioned with the setting-out of the educational concept. Learning in the Independent Anne-Sophie School is modeled after the Bodensee-Schule St. Martin in Friedrichshafen. Maria Montessori's idea of "help me so I can do it myself" is the focus of education and teaching and undoubtedly results in a changed understanding of one's roles both on the part of the teachers and the students. This type of learning is aimed at fostering and promoting every student based on his or her individual starting position. It is Bettina Würth's wish that every child attending the school will leave the Independent Anne-Sophie School as a winner.
Ulrike von Klitzing, former principal of the state-run Reinhold-Würth-Elementary School in Künzelsau-Gaisbach who is very well versed in the educational and teaching methods of the elementary school will be the principal of the Independent Anne-Sophie School. Frau von Klitzing is highly pleased: "Now we can put into practice with the children what we have intensively planned and designed for more than a year!"

Differences to the classical teaching methods

The principal difference to the classical teaching method is the students' individual learning. The students either learn by themselves or in groups. More than two-thirds of the entire learning period are set aside for this. There is no fixed timetable with fixed units of 45 minutes. Each week, a new weekly schedule is prepared. This weekly schedule is not subdivided by subjects, but determines the necessary learning priorities for the individual students and the group. The different learning phases are structured rhythmically: independent work in silence, networked classes and project work. So, concentration, quietness, joint learning and physical activities alternate and constitute a healthy balance.

Another, clear difference to the classical school system lies in the performance review of the schoolchildren. There are no traditional "grades". The reformed educational school system intends to represent the all-embracing, comprehensive development of a child and not standardized knowledge.

The Independent Anne-Sophie School started with two groups of elementary schoolchildren on September 18, 2006 consisting of the first three years that are supposed to be enlarged to all four years in the following year. An expansion of the elementary school by high school levels I and II is also planned. The students of the Independent Anne-Sophie School can therefore finish their school career with a state-approved junior high-school or secondary school-leaving qualification or even with the school-leaving exam and university-entrance qualification (three years).