Whistler Waldorf’s teacher’s/educator’s contribution

Why Student Led Conferences?

This year, the Lower School, and most recently the High School faculty and students, worked together to hold Student Led Conferences. Successful student-led conferences require changes in the role that teacher, student and parent have played in traditional parent conferencing. Teachers become facilitators, students become leaders and parents become active listeners and questioners.

Having students lead a conference with parents is a way to maximize student involvement as it promotes three elements essential to improving student performance in school: Relevance; why we are teaching what we are teaching to students: Responsibility; making the students more responsible for learning and: Reporting; engaging parents into the stream of student progress in learning.

It is now widely accepted by policy makers and educators that when parents are involved in their children’s education, children are more likely to succeed in school. Parent have great influence on school success by giving attention to their children’s needs and interests. The greatest influence on learning is not simply the methods used, but the ability to motivate a love of learning. What I enjoyed most about the Student Led Conferences was my engagement with the students and the quality of interactions between students, parents and teachers.

– Rubeena Sandhu, Director of Education

Early Childhood Appreciation Day

Today, we celebrate Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day, a day where we recognize the commitment, hard work and passion of our early childhood educators in BC. To witness young students get excited about going to school is remarkable, and it is because of the positive relationships and inclusive environment that our early childhood educators create in and outside the classroom.

Our students are fortunate to have dedicated staff contribute daily to their overall development and well-being. Through play-based and child-centered teachings, our early childhood educators bring age-appropriate programming that promotes each child’s physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social and creative development.

I would like to thank all of our early childhood educators for teaching and nurturing our early learners in the critical development states of life, for preparing our students for life-long learning and emotional well-being, and for creating a space where each student can experience a sense of belonging.

– Rubeena Sandhu, Director of Education

Experiential Learning in Waldorf Schools 

Students at Whistler Waldorf School participate in a wide range of experiential learning activities. Experiential learning in a general sense, is the process of learning through experienceIt is important to note however, that experiential learning in Waldorf Schools is not limited to creating projects or visiting a farm. If any of you have ever been moved by a compelling story, an eloquent song or a powerful play, you will understand the power of imagination for enhancing learning connections, and as an “experience” in its own right. 

Waldorf schools intentionally incorporate a broad and balanced range of imaginative, creative, and kinesthetic experiences within the academic program. Yes, even content like coding can be taught imaginatively. At the same time Waldorf teachers maintain a keen awareness of lesson’s meaning and relevance for a student’s senses, feelings and cognition so that they are actively engaged at each stage of their development.  As Henry Barnes, a long time Waldorf teacher once wrote, “When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf schools are designed to foster this kind of learning.” 

– Rubeena Sandhu, Director of Education  

Grade 12 projects: a culmination of a journey.

By their senior year, Whistler Waldorf Grade 12 students are practiced at relating to multiple points of view simultaneously in order to create an integrated picture of the world and their place in it. Our students’ final year is a time for them to synthesize and bring everything together—reflected in their capstone senior project. It’s from this solid place of self-knowing that they discover and pursue their purpose in a world that desperately needs their creative and innovative thinking.

Each year our high school seniors do independent research and year-long projects in areas that uniquely intrigue each one of them, from social justice to activism, to exploring the deeper roots of the human psyche to building motorcycles and more.  These capstone projects strengthen skills of independent thought and study that last a lifetime.

If you’ve ever wondered what the “end result” of a full Waldorf education is, this is a great opportunity to see it, and share it with your friends and family.

– Rubeena Sandhu, Director of Education

Building a ‘community school’ with events to connect

What does a healthy, successful school look like? 

What’s the most accurate predictor of academic achievement? It’s not socioeconomic status, nor how prestigious the school is that a child attends. One of the best predictors of student success is the extent to which parents and teachers engage.  The measure of a healthy school depends on the quality of relationships–chiefly the relationships among students, teachers, and parents. 

Teachers who connect with parents about their children’s education often see a profound change in their classrooms. Engaged parents tend to think highly of teachers, which improves teacher and student morale. Knowing more about a student’s family life helps teachers prepare and deliver lessons that better fit students’ needs.

That’s why Whistler Waldorf holds three class parent evenings each year, and events such as “Mom and Dad Nights”. Not only do these evenings focus on student life; they focus on connection and learning more about each other as we explore the principles of learning that live within our school.

I look forward to learning and laughing together at tonight’s Mom’s Night!

– Rubeena Sandhu, Director of Education