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School Guidelines & Policies

If your child is ill or absent: Please contact the receptionist at 604- 932-1885 extension 101 or Email Reception before 9am. If the receptionist has not heard from you by 9 a.m. a call will be made home to determine the whereabouts of your child. If the school was unable to contact you, a second call will be made by 9:15am. If it cannot be reasonably assumed that your child is safe at home the Missing Child Policy may be enacted. 

Here are the differences for Student Absences:

Precautionary/Short term – Email School  (absence up to 3 days)

 Extended Absence Fillable Form (3 days + requires form)

See also:

Attendance Policy,  Absence Programs 

On-site Illness & Covid-19 Policy ,  On-site Illness & Covid-19 Policy for Early Years

For students absent for an extended period:

Due to the significant impact on student learning, we respectfully request that you plan vacation time during school holidays. The Waldorf curriculum is experiential by nature and missed classes cannot be caught up in equal value with other work. Extended absences can also affect the government funding we receive for your child. Parents and teachers support each other in a partnership at our school: by enrolling your child you are subscribing to our programs, and in accepting your daughter/ son into our program we are assuming the shared responsibility for their education. We are accountable to the Ministry of Education that your child is meeting the learning outcomes as set out by the Ministry and that your daughter/son is receiving sufficient instructional hours.  

Extended Absences more than 3+ days (other than illness)

If circumstances necessitate an extended absence of more than 3-days (other than due to illness), an Extended Absence Fillable Form must be submitted to the Head of School a minimum of three weeks in advance of the proposed absence. It is the students’/parents’ responsibility to submit a proposal of how missed class material, content and credits will be made up.  Once the school is in receipt of the proposal, it will be reviewed by the teachers and the Head of School and when proposals are approved, an agreement will be reached between the school and the parents in order for the school to mark your child’s absence as excused. 

For Transitional Absence (during Covid-19)

If circumstances necessitate a transitional absence during Stage 2 or 1 of  BC Education’s Learning Stages during Covid-19, WWS is providing our students with educational support and oversight, while they are away. This pilot program is only available to those families who intend on returning to Whistler Waldorf School as soon as possible.

Transitional Absence Fillable Application Form 2020-2021 (long-term during Covid-19 + requires form)

See also:

Attendance Response Levels for High School

Absence Programs 

Covid-19 Pandemic Policies & Guidelines

Due to the nature of Covid-19 Pandemic changes and ongoing revisions to specific health regulations in our area, please see our Covid-19 update page for the most recent school  procedures and restrictions.

2021004 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan and Guidelines– This is a reference copy that WWS provides for the school’s general Communicable Disease Plan as of Oct. 04, 2021. For most up-to-date version, please view the Covid-19 update page.

Admissions Placement & Birthdate:

Our birthdate cut-off is Aug 31 for children in Kindergarten-Grade 3 and does not align with the public system in B.C. (Dec. 31st). There are a variety of factors that are considered when a student enrolls.  Determinations will be based on the criteria outlined in our Combined Class and Birthdate Admissions Policy with final approval from the Head of School. 

See also: Combined Class and Birthdate Admissions Policy

If a child is reported missing?

Teachers regularly take attendance at the beginning of each class. Playground supervisors stay on fields until all students have left the fields. If a child should be found to be missing from the class, the Missing Child Procedure will be initiated. 

See also: Student Supervision Policy

Possession, consumption, or use of alcohol or drugs on school grounds or at a school function is prohibited. For the purposes of this policy:  

  • “school function” includes any assembly, meeting, or gathering of students, or student field trips for school purposes under the supervision or direction of the Board, representatives of the Board, or the teaching or supervisory staff in the course of their duties;  
  • “alcohol” includes beer, wine, cider, and spirits, and “drugs” includes substances, the possession of which is prohibited under the Narcotic Control Act, or anything which contains such a drug or substance or any drug or substance designated a restricted drug under the Food and Drug Act, unless the person possessing or consuming the restricted drug was authorized under that Act to possess the drug.  

A student who has been found to have: • brought alcohol or drugs in or upon school premises or to any school function; • has in his/her possession alcohol or drugs; or • consumed alcohol or taken drugs and is found on any school premise or at any school function; has committed a serious infraction and may be expelled from the School. In the event the student has consumed alcohol or drugs or has in his/her possession alcohol or drugs, the School shall immediately contact the student’s parent/legal guardian and have the parent/legal guardian arrange for the removal of the student from the premise or school function. The School may immediately suspend the student pending an investigation of the situation in accordance with the Discipline Policy below. 

See also: Discipline Policy 

Procedures during an emergency:

The school is prepared to care for your child in the event of an emergency until you or an authorized alternate are able to pick him or her up. We have been advised to plan on being self-sufficient for 72 hours following a major emergency. Our school holds regular emergency drills and we encourage you to discuss how you expect your child to behave and respond during an emergency or disaster situation. Children will be released only to their parents or designated emergency contacts on your child’s medical form.  

See also:    Emergency Manual and Plans

Parking in Spruce Grove

Parking is available in the Spruce Grove Park parking lot. There is absolutely no parking allowed in the fire lane or drop-off zone. If you are leaving your car you must park in the designated spots. Please exercise extreme caution in the parking lot at all times as children may cross through at any time.  

Pets on School grounds

If you are bringing your pet onto the school grounds it must be kept on a leash and attended to at all times. Better yet, please leave your pet in the car or at home. Dogs, especially, can be very protective of their families and in some cases, children may be afraid of them. Likewise, we have students with severe pet allergies. No pets are permitted in the school buildings or permitted on field trips. 

How to communicate a concern…

There are countless ways WWS communicates with students, families and our staff so if you have any questions relating to communication and who you should reach out to best have your questions answered, please refer to the Contact List at the bottom of this page for specific contact names and emails.

For a general rule of thumb, the best way is to start with your child’s class teacher, especially regarding specific questions about class discipline, homework, student progress, academic standards and more. If there is a question that they can not answer, then the Early Years, Grade School and High School Chairs are the next best resource. After that, if there is still a concern regrading an unresolved issue, parents and staff are requested to follow the Communications Policy and reach out to the Head of School or Directors for more assistance.

See also: Communications Policy

Parents who enroll their children into the Early Years programs at the Whistler Waldorf School are encouraged to give the gift of a media-free childhood.  Consistent with Waldorf education’s emphasis on learning through direct experience, parents of children in the lower grades (1-4) are encouraged to foster and support the development of new ideas and attitudes based on real personal interactions, by eliminating media use during the school week, and minimizing it on weekends.  

During Grades 5, 6, and 7, it is appropriate for students to have a gradual and guided introduction to the applications and use of electronic media. During these transition years, use and exposure to media should be very moderate, under clear parental guidance and participation, and work towards the social and educational climate of the class. Media exposure can be a socially divisive influence in these years so care and attention must be brought in guiding the use of media during these years.  

The media policy in the High School recognizes that it is appropriate for 15-19-year-olds to learn to critically approach and effectively use media. The school recognizes the importance of media literacy, including educating students to understand the technological principles underlying (and the social transformations resulting from) electronic media, and seeks to meet this need through a curriculum that includes research skills, the science behind new technologies, and the social consequences of the ongoing media revolution. However, because excessive use of electronic media undermines teenagers’ living relationships to other people, the world around them, and themselves, parents should continue to monitor and limit their teenagers’ exposure to electronic media and maintain an open dialogue with their teenage children about the role of media in their lives. Parents can monitor and limit student exposure to media by locating computers and video games in open areas of the home, and by maintaining a space of media-free quiet for the challenging and creative schoolwork of the High School, particularly during the school week.  

Safeguarding personal information of parents and students is a fundamental concern of Whistler Waldorf School. The school is committed to meeting or exceeding the privacy standards established by British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and any other applicable legislation. 

See also: Privacy Policy

Morning Drop-off

Please do not arrive earlier that 8:15am. School supervision begins at 8:20. Parents are to drop their children to school on time, to begin the day with their class (8:20am to 8:25am). Outside supervision ends at 8:25 am. Students arriving after 8:30 are considered late and must sign in at Reception.  

Playschool (Little Cedars) parents are required to sign their children in and out.  

Afternoon Pick-up

PlayschoolIf a child remains in their program past the pick-up times stated above, a late fee of $1.00 per minute thereafter will be charged. Late pick up fee will be added to the next invoice. 

K-Grade 3: Children will be released from the teacher at 3:05. Parents are asked to send a note with their child if someone other than the parent is picking up and it is not the regular designate.  

If an unauthorized person arrives to pick up a student, the student will remain under the supervision of staff until the parents or regular designate has been contacted. If a child is not picked up within 15 minutes after dismissal, the school staff will try to contact the family and other authorized contacts. If the school is unable to contact anyone, the child will be taken to the office to wait.  

Grades 4-12: Students are dismissed at the end of the day and should know their mode of transportation home. 

Main Lesson

The main lesson is the heart of the school day for every child from Gr 1-12. Its extended lesson length goes from the beginning of school to the morning recess. For 3-4  weeks the teacher takes the class into a concentrated exploration of one subject. By taking a deep dive into a specific academic discipline, students have the chance to study each subject thoroughly and from a number of vantage points fusing the arts with the sciences. Main lesson subjects provide the major themes and a kind of identity for the school year. Waldorf teachers rarely use textbooks in the classroom in the early grades. The teacher penetrates the subject matter and brings the content they wish to impart into experience. The children create their own main lesson books relying on pre-digested material presented to them in conventional textbook. This allows children to absorb the material and make the learning their own. From discovering the alphabet in the first grade to discovering anatomy, students take part in the learning process by creating their own textbooks which are beautifully-drawn portfolios of learning  which  contains  stories, essays, poems, illustrations, math equations and more.

Subject Lesson

A variety of subject classes are offered including: Visual Arts (water colour painting, oil painting, clay and beeswax modeling); Handwork (knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, leather working); Physical Health Education (PHE); Drama/speech; Music (singing, recorder, guitar/string ensemble (violin starts in Grade Four); French; Practical arts (wood/metal work), Entrepreneurship, Media Studies, and Outdoor Education. 

Special Education

We promote inclusive access to Waldorf education in which students with special needs are fully participating members of the school community. Inclusion describes the principle that all students are entitled to equitable access to a positive and fruitful learning experience. The practice of inclusion is not necessarily synonymous with full integration in regular classrooms and goes beyond placement to include meaningful participation and the promotion of interaction with others.  

Although Whistler Waldorf School makes every effort to provide additional support for students with special needs, some learning and disciplinary challenges and diagnoses may be beyond the scope of available resources in our small independent school. In these instances, where we determine, after consultation with the student’s family, that we are not able to satisfactorily meet the needs of a student, we reserve the right to terminate the student’s enrollment. 

See also: Special Education Policy 

School Supplies

Waldorf school supplies are specialized, and the Parent Council purchases all required supplies in bulk on your behalf. Teachers are responsible for passing these items out as needed (paper, art supplies, notebooks, etc.). School supply fees are included on the annual Tuition and Fee schedule 

Playground @ School

Students’ supervision on school grounds ends at dismissal according to our dismissal procedures for each grade. Parents are responsible for supervising their children after dismissal.

Toys & Personal Items

Personal toys, books, and treasures should be kept at home since they may become lost or damaged and are very distracting to students.

We have students and staff in the school with severe life-threatening allergies (anaphylactic reaction). These allergens may include all nuts, soy, fish and kiwi. Simply touching a surface that has had an allergen product on it can generate these life-threatening reactions. We are seeking your support in creating a safe environment. If you’re informed by your class teacher that a certain allergen-causing food must be avoided in your child’s classroom, respect the request, and do not provide that food.  

  • Encourage your child to not share or swap their food or drink bottles with others. 
  • Encourage your child to wash their hands before and after eating. 

See also: Anaphylaxis Policy

We ask that parents pack a wholesome, nutritious lunch for their child with minimum packaging and that is free of corporate logos, cartoon characters, etc. The children require nutritious food for a successful day of learning. No candy or pop are allowed at school.  

In our playschool and kindergarten classes, we work with the children to prepare healthy snacks together, usually a cooked cereal, baked bread or organic grains with fruit or vegetables and a warm drink.  

A child’s birthday is a very special day. If your child is a having a birthday party and wishes to invite all of the children in his or her class, you are welcome to distribute the invitations at school. However, if invitations are selective, we ask that you extend them away from school. When choosing invitations that will be distributed in school, please refrain from those that feature cartoon characters or media-based images.  

Field trips are an important part of school life. Field trips, especially the High School Outdoor Education program form an integral part of the curriculum of the Whistler Waldorf School. It is expected that all students attend all field trips unless there are extenuating (documented) circumstance that hinder a student from attending. If students miss these required trips, they will need to complete alternate work to meet the curricular requirements. Signed consent forms are completed for all students attending field trips and we respectfully ask you not to contact chaperones or teachers while on field trips. If you have concerns or questions, please contact the administration of the school.  

See also:  Student Supervision Policy

Unique to Waldorf grade schools is the commitment of the Class Teacher to a group of children for consecutive years. Class Teachers and Guardians at Whistler Waldorf School are expected to loop with their classes for three to four consecutive years, with the exception if there is a K/1 loop and is dependent on the working agreement with administration at the time of hiring. If a Class Teacher is willing and has been approved to continue the foundation through the upper cycles, WWS will support them in doing so as per our Class Teacher Looping Policy. 

High School Class Guardian

The class guardian acts as an advocate for the students, leading them in class meetings, holding parent evenings, attending class functions, and arranging for class trips.  

Parent evenings are held each term to enable the parents and teachers to discuss the class as a whole. The teacher will speak about the background of the work being done with the children. A broad sketch of the children’s learning process at their current stage of development and a picture of the class dynamics are given. Parents can bring their insights and ask questions about changes their child may be undergoing. These meetings are very important. To miss them is to miss a vital link in the understanding of your child’s education and development. It is also a chance to get to know parents of other children in the class. For the child, parent participation is a sign of his or her involvement and support. The class community will only be as a healthy as the parent community.  

One-on-one parent/teacher conferences are scheduled twice yearly. Further meetings with teachers can be scheduled at any time during the school year to discuss student learning. 

Classroom visits are possible when a teacher invites parents into the class for special presentation or during an open lesson. They are also possible as part of School Tours during the enrollment process.  

Each class has a parent who has volunteered to assist with communication regarding special events and information for the class and perform other tasks that support the class and teacher.

The Class Parent sits on the school’s Parent Council and helps develop the greater social community of the class. This individual may call upon you to help organize or participate other class events.

Please label your child’s coat, sweaters, hats and boots. A Lost and Found basket is located in the wooden box in the Fieldhouse. All contents will be given to charity at various times in the school year, so please check it regularly for your belongings.  

Our weekly E-news is the school’s primary method of communication and is your most important tool for staying informed with what is happening or coming up in school. It contains important reminders and announcements regarding the upcoming week as well as glimpses into the classroom via photos.  

The Connect with Us section of WWS’ website is also a great tool for more information on upcoming events, community blogs and classroom updates for the school year.

Finally, we often share pedagogical resources and community news  on WWS’ social media platforms, as well as fun images of WWS happenings throughout the school year.

See also: Communications Policy,  Image consent & Privacy Policy

Our school environment is one where we wish to encourage and nurture reverence and a strong relationship to the living images and ideas that the Waldorf curriculum strives to provide. We value warmth, comfort, neatness and simplicity and ask that the clothing the students wear to school reflect these values. Our intention is to inspire individual creativity and expression and to create and nurture a healthy learning environment by limiting visual distractions and excessive marketing messages, whilst maintaining a spirit of expression and openness around dress. 

  • Students should come to school dressed appropriately for the weather. 
  • Indoor clothing should be free of logos, writing and slogans that are larger than the size of the child’s fist. 
  • Any logos, images or slogans should not be scary, disrespectful, offensive or overly distracting (at teacher’s discretion).  
  • Muscle shirts, spaghetti straps (less than two fingers wide), halters, and midriff baring shirts are not appropriate for school. 
  • Skirts and shorts should at a minimum fall to the student’s fingertips when standing. 
  • To allow for safe movement and various physical activities, clothing should be reasonably sized for the student (at the teacher’s discretion). At school festivals and concerts the teacher may request particular clothing to be worn. 

See also: Logo and Dress Code Policy

Use of cell phones or other personal audio or video devices by students is not permitted during school hours. If a student needs to have a cell phone to communicate with parents after school, it must be kept in their backpack and turned off until school is dismissed. If parents and students need to communicate with each other during the school day, they should use the school reception phone at the front office or call in to the administration. High School students may seek permission to use their cell phones during break times beside the reception desk. If a student is found to be using their cellular device during school hours, it will be confiscated and returned at the end of the day. A third violation will result in a phone being returned only to the parent. When determined by a teacher to be appropriate, phones may be used for supervised educational purpose. 

Homework can be a controversial subject, particularly in the lower school years. At the Whistler Waldorf School, we encourage full participation in classroom activities and the purpose of homework is not to make work for our students and families, but to complete the tasks the children have begun in order to establish good working habits and lifelong learning that continues outside of the school. Teachers may assign homework in the older grades if classroom expectations have not been met or to create an activity which helps with daily practice. Homework will be assigned according to the teacher’s discretion in the Lower School and in the High School according to our Homework Policy. 

See also: Grade School Homework PolicyHigh School Homework Policy

Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interest. 

We live in a Christian-Judeo influenced society and some of the celebrations and festivals of the year reflect that. Families who celebrate other religious festivities are encouraged to speak to their teacher about ways that they can share these celebrations with the class.

All members of the Whistler Waldorf School community must conduct themselves in a manner which shows respect for self and all other members of this community, whether they be adults or other students.  

At the Whistler Waldorf School, we have a code of conduct. We expect students to behave in a respectful way towards teachers, adults, classmates and towards property. Students are asked to follow the student code of conduct, even during after school hours. 

Each teacher is responsible for discipline in the classroom. Students will be approached in a dignified and respectful manner and asked to comply with these standards of behavior. If the code of conduct is not followed, we have discipline guidelines which will be followed. Our philosophy on discipline emphasizes the positive approach, in which the student is gradually led towards an experience of self-discipline.  

See also:

Discipline Policy

Code of Conduct High School

Code of Conduct Lower School

Students from Grades K to 7 are not permitted to leave the school grounds during the school day unless written permission is received that they may go home or to an appointment on their own. 

High School students may leave campus three times per week with signed parent permission and as outlined in the school’s “off campus lunch schedule”. If a high school student is late returning (2-3 times in a month) or fails to follow the school’s code of conduct and safety guidelines when off campus, their lunch privileges may be revoked.  

Online Learning

E-learning is coordinated for student prolonged absence and in some special situations.

PlanBook | Microsoft Teams Login

For general routine and classroom questions about discipline, homework, progress reports, academic standards, field trips, class meetings, an email should be sent to your teacher first and then your designated Chair if necessary. If you need an email address, Email Reception.

RECEPTION

Maeve Bellmore, Receptionist

General communication about:

  • student absences
  • sign-in/sign-out for students
  • short-term withdrawal
  • important school events & dates

ADMISSIONS

Jennifer Dodds, Director of Advancement

  • Admissions and withdrawal details.
  • School communications, marketing, public relations, etc.
  • To be added to WWS’ weekly E-news –  Cristiana Spooner, Communications Manager.

BUSINESS

Brian Gohlke

Brian Gohlke, Director of Business

  • Financial matters including invoicing, fees, payment errors, bursaries, etc.
  • For a Student Records request – Cassie Hields, Registrar

EDUCATION

Rubeena Sandhu, Head of School

  • More about a policy and/or procedure at the school
  • Question/Concern that is unresolved with a teacher or staff member due to process.