Head of School Update for End of Year

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.”—Japanese Proverb

Remote Learning & Online Learning – There is a Difference.

While September’s return may or may not include online instruction, it is important to understand the differences between different modes of delivery and what Whistler Waldorf School is offering your child.

What are the differences between online and remote (or distance) learning? – Online instruction is the facilitation of instructional material that has been developed with the intention for full online delivery. Remote learning, on the other hand, strives to re-create the classroom environment as the student learns at home. Students have scheduled times to participate in similar style learning activities as they had in-class, with people that they know from school. The Coronavirus pandemic necessitated a rise in emergency remote learning.

Benefits of Remote Learning – Since remote learning requires students to check in at set times, there is often a higher level of accountability which means it is harder for a student to fall behind. Remote learning also mirrors the traditional classroom, and for students who learn well in this environment, its structure is a benefit. Online learning, by contrast, is not designed to mirror the traditional classroom.

Remote Waldorf Learning – Certainly, none of us would choose digitized instruction over the beauty of face-to-face interaction in our Waldorf classrooms. Waldorf’s educational philosophy, built on 100 years of human relationships, was suddenly thrust out of the physical classroom and into the world of Planbook, Teams and Zoom.

However, it is those very potent human relationships, cultivated over time between our students and committed teachers, that have given shape and meaning to our school’s version of distance or remote learning. David Barham, Maine Coast Waldorf School, clearly highlights the questions that are in the forefront of the teachers’ minds as we plan our remote lessons:

  • Does this lesson meet the student’s current needs?
  • Is this lesson meaningful in the current context?
  • Does this student or that student need something entirely different right now, and if so, how can I meet that need?
  • What matters now? What is needed now?

These questions, and the value placed on the relationships between all members of our learning community will continue to be central to our work in September and beyond.

September Update: We hopefully anticipate B.C. schools will be in Stage 2 or 1 when school resumes in the fall. Stage 2 includes full onsite learning for grades K-7 and part time for High School. WWS is a small micro-school, and that may have its advantages. Currently we are applying for an application to have High School students return full time as well (yes, full time) based on our current HS class sizes.

Tuition Adjustment for Fall: WWS is committed to making Waldorf education accessible to all. If you have questions about tuition or tuition adjustment, regardless of what stage we are in, please reach out to Brian Gohlke, Director Finance.

Lastly, studying is an important part of gaining an education, but reviewing and internalizing facts and data will only get a student so far. What students really crave are those moments where they truly connect with their teacher and learn a lesson that no textbook or website could ever provide. Remote learning is a temporary measure in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis. We must continue to hold the long view when making decisions that impact our students’ 13-year educational journey.

Rubeena Sandhu, Head of School