The Comox Valley is blessed with many excellent public and independent school choices. Among them is the non-profit Saltwater Waldorf School, operating out of the Tin Town neighbourhood of Courtenay since 2011. This March, weekly tours will be held for parents who are interested in learning more about Parent & Child, Preschool, Kindergarten or Grades 1-7 programs.
In addition, a preschool and kindergarten open house will be held Saturday, March 10 from 9–11 a.m.
Waldorf education has been embraced around the world since it began in Germany in 1918. While some of its concepts were initially considered radical, Waldorf schooling quickly spread as it was recognized as an effective way to develop well-rounded citizens in a strong academic environment. Now, it is the fastest-growing educational movement in the world, and its approaches are being adopted by mainstream educators, including in British Columbia. Recent provincial curriculum updates included the time-tested Waldorf approach of project-based learning, where students gain math, reading and other practical skills as they work on interesting projects in a multi-disciplinary way.
The Waldorf approach to social-emotional learning is also being incorporated into B.C. classrooms.
While the Saltwater curriculum meets provincial criteria, there are still differences. Arts, music and time outdoors are important components of the school week. Knitting, woodworking and movement are as big a part of the curriculum as social sciences, geography and languages. Classes are smaller, so students get more individual attention. Technology is not used in the classroom, and parents are encouraged to place limits on screen time at home. This is so children can focus at school and develop their creativity — an important part of becoming an independent-thinking adult. (Ironically, many parents from the tech sector, particularly in Silicon Valley, have placed their children in Waldorf Schools.)
As the school grows, it is welcoming more Comox Valley families into its community. A tuition assistance program is available for families of limited means. For more information on tours and the application process, see saltwaterschool.com.