Have You Been Searching For Us?
Waldorf education is indeed one of North America’s best kept secrets. If you are a searching parent you may find us, and like many of our families, uproot from far away places to make a new life in the Cowichan Valley.
Why do people make these enormous life changes in order to bring their children to Sunrise Waldorf School?
Waldorf education is based on the developmental needs of the growing child, and this has proved successful for over 80 years, particularly in Europe where it is well known.
The first Waldorf school was opened in Germany to educate the children of factory workers. The founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner, had insights that will serve children well into the millennium. Scientific studies and the latest discoveries in the developmental learning needs of children are continually reaffirming what Waldorf schools have been practicing all along.
Our Waldorf Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms are a pastel, draped space with the warmth of natural materials and the smell of freshly baked bread. Everything is designed to serve the young child’s tender senses which absorb everything so deeply, and where every word and gesture of the adult has to be worthy of imitation. Rhythm, Ritual and Reverence are 3 important R’s at SWS.
Our Waldorf grade school classes have specific age appropriate curriculums that excite the children and the teacher. A teacher’s class is his or her ‘family’ from grades 1 through 8; to be nurtured, challenged, and taught in the most imaginative and mobile way possible. Main lesson blocks are taught for 3 or 4 weeks by the class teacher, and supplemented by teachers who are specialists in their field - French, P.E., Eurythmy, and for the older grades, handwork, woodworking and music, including orchestra. To see the workbooks and artwork created by the children is, in itself, a reason to visit the school!
However, Waldorf education is not for everyone. Our school is small (partially funded as a Group One Independent School with B.C. certified teachers) with class sizes generally between 15 and 23 students each. We do not have all the resources to meet the needs of some children. We are not a last resort for children who have had unfortunate experiences elsewhere, or who have difficulties that prohibit them from thriving in a disciplined and social atmosphere. A family intake interview with the class teacher is a requirement to obtain admission into SWS.
We find that children do best in school when they have been protected from the influences of television, videos and computer games in their formative years. Our school has a media policy regarding these in order to help support the best learning environment possible for our children.
A focus of Waldorf education is to teach in such a way that students will have a desire and motivation to learn, and naturally develop a moral uprightness. We strive to complement the values of a caring home, respecting each other and all the gifts of nature. We do not teach religion, but we are a spiritually reverent community of diverse beliefs, who are accepting of the Christian calendar and who acknowledge the creative force of spirituality.
At SWS the school community shares in a full agenda of festivals and celebrations, and parent interest and volunteer work is vital to the health of the students and the school.
Learn More about SWS by booking and appointment to visit in person, join us for an open house event or plan to attend one of our community festival events, see the Calendar.