The Comox Valley Waldorf School is closing at the end of the current school year. Photo by Comox Valley Waldorf School

Comox Valley Waldorf School closing

The Comox Valley Waldorf School (CVWS) is familiar with change. It has 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.

A lack of trained teachers has placed the school in an impossible situation. They 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.

Hiring trained Waldorf teachers has always been a challenge. In fact, aside from the first two founding teachers, the school has never hired a Waldorf trained teacher. Instead, they 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 the Waldorf-trained teachers, and one of the mid-training teachers, are moving on from the school for a variety of reasons. Postings for these positions have been up for a while and they 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.

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History of CVWS

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 Rebecca Watkin and Michelle Nagle who started 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 they 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. This was the beginning of a 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.

Board will be maintained

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.

It is the school’s intention to maintain the running of the board, with a view to rekindling the school when the time comes again as they 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.

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 thanks all the families that have provided the opportunity to bring Waldorf education to them over the past nine years. Their sympathies go to their 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.

CourtenaySchools

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