Whistler Waldorf’s Education Journal includes teacher’s/educator’s contributions for news, curriculum details and learning outcomes for student education at WWS.

Recent Gr. 9 Work: Chemistry Main Lesson Books


Glimpse into the Classroom

 Outstanding work for the Gr. 9’s Chemistry main lesson books

In our high school, every day begins with a two-hour lesson in a core subject such as science, math or humanities. Each main lesson block lasts 3-4 weeks, taught by teachers specializing in the subject. These lessons have an artistic or movement component that enhances the learning experience.

Grade 9 students recently completed an organic chemistry main lesson block. These are just a few pages of one student’s 30+ page main lesson book. Creating one’s own book anchors knowledge more solidly than simply reading a textbook and the enthusiastic pride students take in creating their books demonstrates a true joy in learning.

View some of the recent work by two of the Grade 9 students:

Sample Book 1                                                                                    Sample Book 2

Mindfulness and Reflection in Waldorf Education

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Aristotle, Greek Philosopher & Polymath

Mindfulness and Reflection in Waldorf Education

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) mandates that each school that carries the Waldorf name engage in a regular process of self-reflection, in relation to the principles that guides Waldorf Education.

This year the Faculty, Board, and PAC are to study three of the seven principles and ask the questions, “How is this principle reflected in our school?”,  “Where do we innovate?”, “Where do we shine?” and “Where do we face challenges?”

In the last few weeks, the faculty have begun reflecting on Principle 5: The conscious development of human relationships fosters individual and community health. 

Below are some reflections from our teachers. I’m touched by their honesty and their commitment to continue to develop themselves and our school:

  • Fostering relationships within the school community, parents, students and colleagues, is vital to the health of the school. It takes time to create these trusting relationships.
  • Recognition that vulnerability lives within interdependence.
  • There are three aspects of relationships: maintaining healthy relationships, deepening relationships, fostering new/challenging relationships.
  • Seeking to understand; asking more questions of parents to gain insight from their perspectives.
  • Our area for further focus is in building truly collaborative relationships with the parents and broader community.

In both philosophy and practice, the focus of the AWSNA accreditation process is on the development and nurturing of excellence, helping the school assess its strengths and weaknesses, and helping the school confirm the validity of its priorities and planning for growth. I look forward to working with the Board and Parent Action Committee, as we move towards further connection and reflection in the coming year.

Wishing you my best this holiday season.
With gratitude,

Rubeena Sandhu, Head of School

Establishing healthy social skills at an Early Age

Children are encouraged to share, to work together, to care for each other and to respect the needs of others.

Children help perform a myriad of tasks including preparing snacks, setting the table, sweeping, and washing up after meals. An emphasis on gratitude, intention of preparation, and table manners helps develop lifelong social skills and a sense of responsibility.

Learn more about the Early Years program or contact Admissions to arrange a private tour of the Early Years Centre.

Restorative Justice & Waldorf Education

“We can say ‘Peace on Earth.’ We can sing about it, preach about it or pray about it, but if we have not internalized the mythology to make it happen inside us, then it will not be.”

Betty Shabazz – American Civil Rights Educator

All human beings are valued and relational.  This is a tenet of Restorative Justice and a place where Waldorf Education and Restorative Justice principles completely align.  In Waldorf Education a meaningful bond between teachers and students is essential to both academic success and personal growth.  In Restorative Justice respect, dignity and mutual concerns form the three pillars of creating a cohesive and connected community.

This week the North Shore Restorative Justice Society worked with teachers to help us hold community building circles in an intentional way. Circles are a way people in many cultures have come together as a community to talk about important issues and resolve problems.  Circle process is facilitated through a talking piece, allowing for thoughtful reflection, attentive listening and an unhurried pace.

The objective for circles is that students will feel they have been seen, heard, understood and that they have given and received respect.

Rubeena Sandhu – Head of School

Drama – an example of integration in Waldorf education

” Speech and drama achieve one of the essential goals of Waldorf Education; to integrate thinking, feeling and willing. With this in mind, it is not surprising that this art form is present in every stage of our curriculum.”

Rubeena, Head of School

In our Early Years programs, creative free play makes use of drama and children become kings, queens, animals and more to complete their imaginative play. In our grades and high school classes teachers deepen main lesson learning with thematically linked performances. Every child in the class participates, uniting the class artistically and socially. Students gain self-confidence, appreciation and acceptance among their peers and completion of performances leads to a shared experience of pride.

Many students will likely never occupy a stage space again after school, but they will undoubtedly have gained a deeper understanding of themselves and human development along with a healthy dose of self-confidence.

Grade 8’s upcoming performance of Much Ado About Nothing marks the first class play of the year and I hope that you join us in celebrating these students’ efforts.

Rubeena Sandhu –  Head of School

The Importance of Teacher Parent Conferences

“Often parents find that their peers have the same questions, struggles and successes with their own children. It is so good to know your experiences are not yours alone!”

Rubeena Sandhu – Head of School

In the chilly nights of autumn, the thought of leaving a nice, warm, cozy home to attend a class meeting evening can be difficult.  So, thank you for leaving the comforts of home and utilizing one of the many gifts a Waldorf Education brings – regular parent evenings.

While teacher/parent conferences focus on an individual child and his/her social and academic progress, class meetings can deal with class learning goals, social-emotional dynamics, developmental milestones and academic aims. Often parents find that their peers have the same questions, struggles and successes with their own children. It is so good to know your experiences are not yours alone!

Throughout the school years, there will be many celebrations and some challenges; regular class meetings help parents keep in touch with it all – worth braving the cold dark nights, to meet the warmth and light of your children’s learning.

Rubeena Sandhu -  Head of School

Honoring the strength of human will, courage & initiative at Michaelmas –

“Each student must face their own difficulties in life… and Michaelmas both educates and empowers the children to find the courage to take on and defeat their personal ‘dragons’ and let hope prevail.”                                Rubeena Sandhu – Head of School
There is no mistaking that the time for our annual Festival of Courage or Michaelmas is drawing near!  The weather has changed abruptly, and autumn is upon us. In our school, two different pictures are brought before the children at this time. One is the image of the fall harvest and the other is the image of the hero who tames the dragon.

In common with Waldorf schools around the world we celebrate Michaelmas to find hope and honor the strength of human will, courage and initiative. The festival coincides with equinox, a turning point in relation to light and darkness in the world. Each student must face their own difficulties in life, both internal and external, and Michaelmas both educates and empowers the children to find the courage to take on and defeat their personal “dragons” and let hope prevail.

The students have been busy this week preparing – our youngest students have dyed and sewn capes and crowns; Grade 1 & 2 will bake our bread; Grade 3 & 4 will prepare our soup, Grades 5 & 6 will bake cookies and Grades 7 and up will help set up and serve.

We look forward to having you join us tomorrow – Friday, October 4 at 12:00 to participate and enjoy a bowl of harvest soup!

Rubeena Sandhu –  Head of School

The Three Fundamental Forces in Education: Balance in Teaching

Dear Parents and Guardians,

100 years ago, society and education had moved towards a more differentiated system, separating sciences from the arts, the arts from morality, and athletics from academics. Today, finally, educational systems all over the world are “catching up” to Steiner’s observations that separating these fundamental spheres of activity for children could be detrimental to their healthy development, and in fact, advocated that it is in their union that learning becomes an art, and education becomes a vital healing force in a young person’s life.

Rudolf Steiner mentored teachers, and called teachers to task, ensuring that their teaching incorporated a balance and integration of the arts, and sciences. This was, and still is, a fundamental basis for Waldorf Schools.

100 years ago Rudolf Steiner emphasized that the Waldorf approach was a great deal more than simply the application of a teaching method. His new art of education was born out of a knowledge of the growing child as a holistic being – embodying body, soul, and spirit.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Waldorf Education and we believe that one hundred years is only the beginning. In celebration, we will be highlighting the breadth of our curriculum over the course of the year and warmly invite you to join!

Rubeena Sandhu, Head of School

WWS Celebrates Waldorf 100

Celebrating 100 years of Waldorf Education

This year on September 19 – Waldorf education will be celebrated as officially 100 years old. Waldorf 100 was created to promote the 100 year celebrations and WWS is excited to participate, extending a warm invitation to you and your family to join us in several Waldorf 100 events at WWS over the course of this school year. As Waldorf strives to develop students’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner,  we look forward to celebrating each of these aspects at the events!

October 2019 

Bees to Trees Launch | Annual Festival of Courage  (Michaelmas)

Date:   October 4, 2019 

Time:  10:45-1:00 pm 

Waldorf schools around the world are aiming to have students of all ages participate intensively in the health of bees, from the lower to the upper grades, from harvesting honey to pursuing complex research projects. 

Join us at our Annual Festival of Courage where we will launch our Bees & Trees initiative by making pollinator seed cards and building a native pollinator hotel. 

January 2020

WWS Coffeehouse  

Date:    January 30, 2020 (Thursday) 

Time:   6-8pm  

The importance of art in our children’s education is undeniable. Join us for a social gathering showcasing the musical, spoken word, comedic, and kinesthetic talents of our community members including parents, students and faculty. 

Further details to come including how to sign up to perform! 

March 2020

Concepts out of Insight: Student Led Conferences 

High School Date: Wednesday, March 11

Times:  Session 1: 2-3pm & Session 2: 5-6pm 

Lower School Date & TimesVarious dates/times. Details TBD. 

Rudolf Steiner often told his students that they should not take his word for anything; he exhorted them to do their own research, find their own connections, and come to their own understanding. In a Waldorf school, we ask the same of our students. 

The world does not need adults who simply accept the conclusions of others. The world needs adults who have the imagination and the clarity of thought to conceive of creative solutions to problems that don’t yet exist. What could be more exciting and satisfying than leading your children to be those adults? 

Join us at this year’s student led conferences to celebrate our student’s research, connections and understanding.

Changing seasons; Back to School rhythms

The return of the school year brings us all together again while the summer days are coming to a close.  As the sun rays diminish we now begin to turn inward, and can be excited and challenged to turn also, to the fiery warmth of our school community in the fall.  The turning of the leaves are a beautiful vision, yet can be a symbol of a cyclic transitions within a familiar environment: the returning rhythms of school, the bustle of after school programs, homework and packed lunches, the complexity of old relationships and the challenges of new ones.

As the leaves turn, let us honour our students, our children, our colleagues and ourselves. As we adjust to the changing season, let us turn to each other as partners, and enjoy each other in another school year of growth and development for all.

Rubeena Sandhu, Head of School