What Our Parents, Staff & Students Feel
Below are a variety of testimonials collected from current and alumni parents, teachers and/or staff and reflections from Waldorf students with their personal thoughts on what our school has to offer students, parents and the Whistler community as a whole.
Nothing like a personal point of view from those who have experienced it.
Olivia & Desmond Kingsford, WWS Parents
Harvey Lim & Sonya Hwang, WWS Parents
We knew from the beginning that beyond our home and family, the place and community where our children would spend the majority of their time would be at school. When it came to choosing a school for our children, it was imperative to us that the school reflect our values of truth, responsibility, empathy, and respect for nature A rich experiential education that encourages them to think for themselves and takes them beyond their desks and outside the classroom combined with a solid academic and arts program, has cultivated a beautiful love of learning and nurtured their innate curiosity. We know that they are not just better students, but better people because of the school.
Craig Wallace & Ailin Toh, WWS Parents
Our children came to Whistler Waldorf School from an highly structured Hong Kong based International school.
We were attracted to Waldorf education due to the balance that it provides our children, a healthy environment of working with nature, developing and learning through physical and academic pursuits. An environment in which children are challenged to learn and not “taught to a test”. It is an academically rigourous education which is deeply rooted in the disciplines of humanities, arts and sciences.
As parents we have also appreciated that it is free from the premature introduction of technology.
Gabriella von Pfetten, WWS Parent
Over the years, I have come to see that there are so many things we value at WWS. The two most important things for us include the heart centred approach to learning and the ability to truly inspire each child to love learning. The approach is to connect with each child and draw out what really inspires them. I believe this to be fundamental for all human beings so that we are able to approach each day with joy, authenticity, balance and inspiration.One aspect of the school culture that I enjoy seeing daily is Ms. Moore, Theo’s teacher, who greets every child with her full attention. She shakes each child’s hand, makes eye contact, and demonstrates deep caring by asking them how they genuinely are. A simple gesture like this goes a long way in a world where there is so much rushing around and people are feeling more disconnected than ever before.
Robbie & Naheed Henderson, WWS Parents
We choose Waldorf for our children as we strongly believe in the values the school upholds. We are certain that the holistically embeded themes of nurturing relationships, divergent thinking, inclusiveness, curiousity and courage will serve our children well. These critical skills of humanity will help our children learn to grow and remain relevant to, and resonate with, transforming future global demands. And a true testament to the teachers and learning that make Waldorf so unique; our children wake up daily with a spark to go to school. Let go of all the barriers that might jump to mind when considering joining the Waldorf community. Once your child begins the journey, you will realize that the points of friction you initially imagined have dissolved and been replaced with a true sense of joy as your child enters a classroom where their emotional, cognitive, and physical health is thoughtfully held and nurtured.
Geoff Telfer, WWS Parent
We believe that the environment our child will face as an adult will be quite different than previous generations. The exponential pace of technological change, as well as globalization, means that creativity, emotional intelligence, and an appetite for learning will be required for him to thrive. The ability to memorize decades-old facts and skills to serve in life-long jobs and careers will no longer be the recommended route for success.
Our observation during our research was the fact that Rudolf Steiner’s design of Waldorf education in response to the Industrial Age is even more relevant to the current generation of digital natives than it was 100 years ago.I think Waldorf education is centred on “growing good humans”. This emphasis on how we relate to others and the world overall provides a wonderful foundation for a rich life. The holistic combination of introspection, embracing nature, human connection, and curiosity resonates strongly.
Shea Emry & Devon Brooks, WWS Parents
When we moved to Whistler, we felt like every kid we met had this charm and maturity about them. We thought ‘it must be the magic of Whistler’. But as time went on, we realized that – while Whistler is magical – it was a Waldorf education that all the kids who we found so inspiring had in common. That compelled us to learn more about the program, and when we did we felt aligned in the consideration around mindfulness, and the prioritization of addressing the relationships we have with ourselves and the world around us through self-awareness and communication. Our whole family has already experienced the deep values of Waldorf and have committed to navigating our future and finances to be able to have Clooney and Rozen continue their journey here. Whistler Waldorf. I couldn’t imagine a better place for a kid to be a kid.
Matt & Jennifer Palmer, WWS Parents
Through the years, we have watched our two sons flourish in Waldorf in all the ways we were told they would. They have developed a love of learning. They love to read. They enjoy school and are engaged learners. Both are developing into creative, critical thinkers. We believe that Waldorf is preparing our sons to be able to take on any challenge in life. They have developed strong characters and social skills, because of the way Waldorf education is structured, and these skills will serve them well no matter what they chose to do in life. As the economy changes, we know that employers are looking for people with all the skills and talents that Waldorf students have in spades. While we’ve heard many people call Waldorf “that granola school” or “it’s just an arts school” or “not academically rigorous”, we have come to understand that Waldorf is absolutely focused on academics, meeting all Provincial criteria, and that in many ways it is a science and math school that uses the arts as a key teaching methodology.
Jennifer Dodds, WWS Parent
It is widely known that the relationship between a teacher and his/her students is one of the most influential factors in a learning environment. Positive relationships between teachers and students are shown to have positive, significant, and long-lasting impact on students’ lives, both academically and socially. There are numerous reasons WHY I choose Waldorf for my child – its multi-disciplinary approach, hands-on teaching methods, rigorous academics and a curriculum that is based on a unique understanding of child development to name a few. Ultimately, however, I believe that human relationships are the driver for student learning. James Comer, Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center has been quoted as saying that “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship”, and the human relationships that I see at Whistler Waldorf are unparalleled. My daughters are blessed to have teachers who understand the power of connection, encourage them to take risks, and insist that they become the best that they can be.
Emma Wardrop, WWS English & Humanities Teacher
One of the things I enjoy most about teaching here is the relationships and the sense of connection I feel to both my students and colleagues. Teenagers can be given a bad rap, but it’s an incredibly transformational stage and working closely with a group of adolescents over several years is a very powerful experience. Helping a student struggle through the slog of a switchback on a Winter Trip one year and then watching them stand up with poise in front of a crowd to present their Grade 12 Project years later is profoundly fulfilling.
I am also continually inspired and awed by the creativity and compassion of my fellow teachers, and their wisdom has helped me in turn on my own journey. Being part of the web of this community challenges and enriches me.
Megan Hewitt, Education Assistant
I love how the curriculum connects to the development of the child. I love the focus on relationship, connection and responsibility. There is emphasis placed on the relationship between student and teacher, connection between student and nature, the world around the student, and the world inside the student.
The recognition of connection between a student’s heart, hands and mind. I also feel like there is a responsibility on the students and teachers to connect with and work from their higher selves.
Nina Moore, Grade School Teacher
I count myself so lucky to be involved with such a wonderful, passionate group of people from Whistler Waldorf School community since 2010. The children I teach are intelligent, kind, curious and have an amazing sense of wonder about the world. Waldorf education places a lot of emphasis of rhythm in the early years of school. Safely held within the security of a steady, rhythmical day, the children are free to discover who they are and what they stand for, to take risks and challenge themselves. The rhythm remains steady, and yet every day is different, new and exciting, because the children are always different, always changing and growing. It’s a pleasure to see and encourage.
Waldorf education is a social education at heart: forming relationships is key, yet when I first started teaching, I didn’t realise the impact that the relationships developed with parents would have on my life. I learn so much from the families and colleagues I work with, and I think it helps me be a better person, mom, friend and teacher. Personally, I also love that I can weave creativity, movement, music and art throughout my daily working life. The work I do feels meaningful – I hope I get to make a positive difference in children’s lives.
Katie Vogler, WWS Former Student
Ren Bennett, WWS Graduate
“So many teachers positively influenced me throughout my ten years at the Whistler Waldorf School ~ in no particular order I fondly remember Mr. Morgan for his vibrant teaching and funny humour. His Norse Mythology class is something I still remember to this day as well as his hilarious presentation of sex ed. Ms Wardrop’s Philosophy 101 Class is my single most loved main lesson block. Mr Power’s witty humour made math and chemistry somewhat enjoyable for my simple mind. Ms Franklin’s various science classes throughout the years were both fun and interesting and Ms. Blaike provided us with awesome adventures in the great outdoors.”
Waldorf Learning Reflections from students
“Why should there be Waldorf Schools? The objective and broad answer is that society needs educational diversity in order to push the boundaries and concepts surrounding how we learn. But there are more subtle reasons that Waldorf schools are imperative. These subtleties lie in personalities, in sociability, in kindness, and in deep thinking. Waldorf promotes using the head, hands, and heart in everything that a student does. These qualities sound quite traditional, but with the global challenges that upcoming generations will face, the thoughtfulness that Waldorf education teaches is direly necessary for the modern world to thrive.”