Talander School

„The 6th grade of the Talander School, Wangen (these are 13 pupils, 13 to 14 year old – 11 boys and 2 girls) is going to cross the Alps in July 2011, together with their teacher, their social worker and possibly some parents for a few days.  We will start in Tschagguns/Austria (arrival by train) and go all the way to Tirano/Italy (return on the Berninaexpress!), mainly following the Via Alpina Red Trail.

Talander is a school for children with “special needs”: children whose life hasn’t been easy so far for various reasons and who often have had to change school multiple times. The pedagogical motivation in challenging these children with such a crossing is the enormous gain in physical and social abilities through such an undertaking. Besides endurance, condition, sureness of the foot, orienteering skills etc, it will also reinforce social competences such as team spirit, sense of responsibility, consideration for the weakest, readiness to help and self-confidence, spirit of initiative etc.

To prepare for this trip the class has already walked long-distance hikes; the most recent was in September 2010, a one-week crossing of the Rätikon (Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein). This year on our trek through 3 countries (Austria, Switzerland, Italy) we will experience the different mentalities of the local population and their expression in language and culture.

We register the different natural spaces on our way to the South with all our senses. We especially pay attention to the different relief and landscapes, the diverse rocks, the varied flora and fauna, the distinct climatic conditions we encounter on the hike.

There the Alps present themselves to us as a unity with all their diversity, special living space for small-scale agriculture, coupled with soft tourism, refuge for rare animal and plant species. A nature reserve worthy of protection, which can be experienced in depth through the soft practice of hiking.

The whole project shall be supported by our municipality in Wangen (located on the edge of the Alps), the alpine club, the regional press and various large companies. Furthermore, communications on the effects of experience pedagogy measures (especially a crossing of the Alps) on children and teenagers with behavioural challenges shall be published in pedagogy journals. A film on the crossing of the Alps is also foreseen.

In Wangen in Allgäu (D), Tschagguns (A), Scuol (CH) and Tirano (I) we wish to present and discuss our project with representatives from the municipalities (major), the tourism organisations and the press.

On completion of the big walk, the effects on the pupils will be compiled, analysed and published in hopes to encourage other schools, teachers and more young people to initiate and participate in similar projects.”

Who are we? >>

The project was carried out successfully from 1 to 22 July 2011.
“In total our journey lasted 22 days. We shared with each other joy and quarrels, abundance and privation, fear and enthusiasm; we slowly worked ourselves up the mountains with our heavy rucksacks and ran down the slopes, had blisters on the feet and muscle pain in the legs, couldn’t go any further and still did; we insulted and hit each other and then got along again and apologised; we lost the way and found it again, walked on broad roads, stony tracks, narrow trails and hardly visible paths, we made 500.000 footsteps, walked 250.000 m with an elevation gain of 20.000 m, climbed up to 3000 m and went down to 400 m; we saw endless amounts of stones and water, very closely experienced wind and rain, snow and ice, glaciers and sun and stood up to them; we saw ibexes, chamois, red deers, roe deers, marmots and eagles from afar and hen, sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, lamas and horses closely; we experienced many different languages, cultures and people, slept in 18 different huts, inns, hotels and campsites, got to like various culinary dishes, met at the beginning and the end the mayors of Tschagguns and Tirano and received many presents, got pampered in the wellness baths in Scuol, SIMPLY EXPERIENCED AND LEARNT LOTS!”


Discover the short movie on the crossing:


The group brought back over 40 hours of film made by cineast Jan Trottnow, who came along them for the three weeks of their adventure. The Talander School is looking for sponsors to make these into a full or medium feature.

The day-to-day blog of the trip:
ViaTalander.blogspot.com (in German)

A full-feature movie realised by Sylvia Rothe is now available on DVD!

Contact: ViaTalander@googlemail.com, www.talander-schule.de
Download the flyer (340Kb)