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waldorf school

By Loreth Beswetherick There is still no site and without a site, there will be no Waldorf school up and running in Whistler by September. But, that doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future. The timeline for getting a school underway is just a little less aggressive. Vicky Bunbury, one of a group of parents pushing for the establishment of a local Waldorf school said until a site is found, it’s difficult to get commitment from a prospective Waldorf teacher and to recruit students. "There are just too many unknowns. I think it is a little more realistic to aim for next year," said Bunbury. "We have had positive feedback from council but space in this town is at a premium," she said. The group of parents, which includes Stephen and Peggy Vogler and Michelle Kirkegaard, said they are not looking for council to endorse a particular educational philosophy over another but they were hoping for help in finding a site. Stephen Vogler said councillors have indicated they will look favourably on rezoning a single-family dwelling for use as a Waldorf school should the group wish to rent a facility. The group has also received positive feedback from Howe Sound School District superintendent Mike Fitzpatrick who indicated there may be a possibility of including a Waldorf class in the new elementary school planned for Whistler. Fitzpatrick noted, for example, that a Montessori class had been incorporated under the roof of a school in Prince George and that the Francophone program is a system within a system. Vogler said this is likely the best route. He said he has written to Fitzpatrick thanking him for his support and asking that a Waldorf component be considered for the school being planned for Intrawest’s new Spring Creek subdivision. The Waldorf system of education was founded by Rudolph Steiner in the early part of the 20th century. In a Waldorf school, the same teacher follows the children from pre-kindergarten through to the eighth grade in most cases. There is a Waldorf high school in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley area. Cultivating the imagination is a primary focus of Waldorf education. From a main lesson in the mornings, the curriculum unfolds with stories that go from fairy tales to myths and legends to understanding socialization. The focus is on the child’s heart, head and hands. Subjects do not focus just on facts — for example, a lesson on a pioneer’s life would include information about what the pioneers did with their hands and how they felt. Confidence and competence in the child are the goal, not only in academic spheres but also in art, handcraft, music and woodwork.