My visitors today

Friday 24 October 2008

An Oktoberfest to build Conductive bridges in Germany

Erzsebet Híd, Budapest, Susie Mallett 2003

It is October and it is a Fest, but there's no meadow, tent or beer to be seen.

The real Oktoberfest is long over but here we all are at another Fest in Munich. ‘We’ are lots of Petö Institute-trained conductors, mostly from Hungary but also just one British one, that’s me, and a NICE-trained conductor who is German. Then in addition there are a few Keil Institute “conductive multi-disciplinary therapists” from Austria, and quite a few more “ pedagogic-therapeutic conductors” (PTKs) trained in Munich, all German.

We are all at the Jubiläumskongress, Konductive Förderung, called “Conductive Education builds bridges”, a celebration of 10 years of the conductors’ association in Germany, organised by the association in conjunction with Pfennigparade, a very big cerebral palsy charity based in Munich. In addition to the conductors and the other professionals mentioned above there are guest speakers, including doctors who treat the children, and people reporting on their experiences as a parent, a client and the founder of a centre. Dr Schaffhauser the Rektor of the Petö Institute will talk about the Petö Institute’s role in Europe and others will talk about their hands-on experiences in conductive and non-conductive work with children and adults with cerebral palsy.

I don’t think that any of us is actually quite sure what it is we are celebrating, apart from the fact that we are still here, the association is still up and running, and has managed to organise a congress every two years. Perhaps the petö-pur conductors are celebrating that there are still a few corners of the country where conductive pedagogy with conductors still takes place, and maybe others are celebrating the fact that so many different professions are joining forces to see the spread of centres offering “elements” of Conductive Education to an ever-increasing number of clients.

Whatever it is that we have to celebrate, we are here and I am looking forward to meeting lots of my colleagues and to hearing some of the speakers, to joining in on some interesting discussions and of course, at the Bavarian Evening Party, to drinking a Stein and watching the next twenty PTK’s (“pedagogic-therapeutic conductors”) receive their certificates. All in all there are now approximately 60 PTK’s in Germany, probably already more than the number of conductors in Germany.

I expect that over the course of the weekend I will begin to see what types of bridges are being built within the Conductive Education movement in Germany and start to get a feel of how stable these bridges are: whether they are bridges that will brings hoards of people rushing across the boarders, whether the bridges will carry well-wishers or critics, whether the bridges will be wobbly from the start, collapse under the heavy weight or stay suspended for years like the Erzsebet Híd, which is my favourite of all the bridges crossing the Danube in Budapest. We will have to see how things develop in Munich, and I will also be telling more about my view of the Danube river and its bridges over the course of the next few days.



Bundesverband der in Deutschland tätigen KonduktorInnen e.V.
The Association of Conductors Active in Germany

Petö pur – A German term to describe conductive pedagogy in groups, working with conductors, as carried out in the Petö Instutute, as opposed to anything else that may be sold as CE.

Stein – a one-litre German beer mug


Pfennigparade – training
PTKs –“pedagogic therapeutic conductors”: therapists, teachers etc. who have spent 20 weekends studying Conductive Education at Pfennigparade in Munich

Institut Keil

Institut Keil – training
With Vienna University. "Acadademic Complex Therapy Conductors": therapists, teachers etc. who have done the same sort of course at the Institut Keil in Vienna

Wonderful bridges

Erzebet Híd – Elizabeth Bridge
It lies gracefully in its simple, elegant and white colouring, protected to the north by the sturdy stone-coloured Chain Bridge and to the south by an over-the-top, decorative, green wrought-metal

Lanz (Szechenyi) Híd – Chain Bridgeánchíd

Szabadság Híd – Freedom Bridge

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