The Comox Valley Waldorf School officially closed its doors as the school year came to an end on June 12. The school opened in Tin Town in September of 2011, which was the beginning of a beautiful journey to bring Waldorf education to the communities of the Comox Valley. Waldorf schools offer a deeply engaging academic experience where emphasis is placed on creative and critical thinking and conscious community building. By exploring the world of ideas and participating in the arts, music, movement and engaged hands on learning, children develop healthy bodies, flexible thinking, practical skills, and strong executive-functioning. BC Waldorf schools meet BC provincial curriculum criteria while adhering to Waldorf principles and BC Waldorf teachers are BC certified teachers. There are seven Waldorf schools across BC and thousands of Waldorf schools across the globe. The school made the difficult decision to close its doors in February, due to a lack of available trained Waldorf teachers.
To commemorate its time in the valley the school found a way to honour its community members despite the obstacles presented by Covid-19 responses. The children, parents, alumni, teachers, staff, and board members of the school were invited to participate in a Gratitude and Remembrance Rock Garden project. Each member of the school community painted a rock as a show of gratitude and remembrance of their time at CVWS. Rocks were placed below the school mural that was erected on the wall of Lacasse Construction next to the field near the school. The mural was painted over many months during this school year by teachers and students. This mural will remain in the Comox Valley long after the school closes, to commemorate its journey as a school community and celebrate 100 years of Waldorf education globally. Principal Rebecca Watkin said “we anticipate and accept that the rocks will shift over time just as our community has over the years....some rocks will move, some rocks will be joined by siblings, some rocks will go off to high school. We hope that you can take it upon yourselves to add to the rock garden anytime you are struck by a feeling of gratitude, love or remembrance for CVWS”.
During the school’s final months, the Board of Directors of CVWS provided an invitation for any Waldorf initiatives to apply for access to the school’s resources. Out of this process two initiatives have taken shape so far: Hummingbird Homeschool will serve children aged 3-6 in a home-like, Waldorf inspired setting, contact Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Daily Wonder: The Home Learning Hub is an on-line hub that will serve parents of home learners in grades Kindergarten through Grade Eight with curriculum guides and support, see www.dailywonder.ca for more information. The Teachers and Staff at the Comox Valley Waldorf School would like to express a wholehearted thank you to parents for bringing their children to CVWS, for having the courage to step outside the stream, and for prioritizing character and community. A special thank you to Lacasse Construction for graciously taking on the task of hanging and hosting the school mural.
There reigned here spirit-strength in love; There worked here spirit-light in goodness: born from certainty of heart, and from steadfastness of soul, so that we could bring to young human beings bodily strength for work; inward-ness of soul, and clarity of spirit.
This place was consecrated to such a task; and young minds and hearts here found servers of the light, endowed with strength, who guarded and cherished them.
-Adapted from Rudolf Steiner
Comox Valley Waldorf School Closing
February 22, 2020
The Comox Valley Waldorf School (CVWS) is familiar with change. We have been in operation since 2009 (2011 in a building) and each year has brought its gifts and challenges. Each year the board and faculty work to ensure that what they do, and what they offer, is in line with the vision and mission of the school. Sometimes this realignment has meant shrinking, sometimes growing, and sometimes other significant changes such as combining or separating groupings of students. One thing that has always remained when the dust settles is the love of Waldorf education and the desire to see it flourish. This love continues today even as the school has made a difficult decision regarding its future in the Comox Valley.
Nine years ago, the school began as a dream. A few parents in the Valley were looking for a school that did not yet exist, and so they created it. Before moving to its current location, it was in the hearts of a few parents who began a parent group and organized gatherings. This energy grew to include a few more parents and then led them to start a non-profit Board to begin to get a school off the ground. In 2011 we were gifted the use of a building including renovation costs to turn it from a health practitioner’s space into a school. The school opened in Tin Town in September of 2011, which was the beginning of a beautiful journey to bring Waldorf education to the communities of the Comox Valley.
Waldorf schools offer a deeply engaging academic experience where emphasis is placed on creative and critical thinking and conscious community building. By exploring the world of ideas and participating in the arts, music, movement and engaged hands on learning, children develop healthy bodies, flexible thinking, practical skills and strong executive-functioning. BC Waldorf schools meet BC provincial criteria while adhering to Waldorf principles.
Hiring trained Waldorf teachers has always been a challenge. In fact, aside from the founding teachers, our school has never hired a Waldorf trained teacher. Instead we have hired people with university degrees (BC teaching credentials) and a deep interest in Waldorf Education who begin their Waldorf training once they begin teaching. At the end of the 2019-20 school year three of our Waldorf trained teachers, and one mid-training teacher, are moving on from the school for a variety of reasons. Postings for these positions have been up for a while and we have received only a couple of applications, none of which reflect the training necessary for the jobs. Across North America there is a severe shortage of Waldorf trained teachers, the struggle to find teachers is not unique.
A lack of trained teachers has placed the school in an impossible situation. We have come to see, after endless searching and meeting, that the school is no longer viable, and the Board and society members voted to dissolve the school at the end of the 2019-20 school year. The board would like to acknowledge what a privilege it has been to work alongside such devoted teachers and admin staff over the years. Without their tireless dedication, love and support, CVWS could not have been possible.
Because of its thorough contemplation of child development and human connection, Waldorf schools offer a supportive, unique space for families and teachers to work alongside each other. The Comox Valley Waldorf School would like to thank all the families that have provided the opportunity to bring Waldorf education to them over the past 9 years. Our sympathies go to our colleagues, children & parents who will be losing a school that has provided a distinctive curriculum, opportunity for creative learning and a consciously built community since it was first established in 2011.
It is the school’s intention to maintain the running of the Board, with a view to re-kindling the school when the time comes again as we know that there is an interest to keep the spark alive. Focus will be on building a healthy community of dedicated parents and through that energy draw trained Waldorf teachers to the valley. The last remaining months of this current school model will be spent celebrating the life of the school as well as supporting the community through their grief and loss, helping everyone move toward acceptance and gratitude.
"I am impressed by the Waldorf teaching philosophies. My three grand-kids are living proof of this successful approach! But the school offers much more than high academic standards. They are creating a generation of independent thinkers with leadership qualities, social skills, compassion, and a recognition of their place in the universe." - Jacqui - Grandparent