Life At Kelowna Waldorf School
Each school day at KWS begins with the old fashioned school bell, rung by a student and a teacher. Children gather in front of their classroom doors and then are greeted individually by the teacher with a hand shake as they enter the classroom to start their day. It is important that the day begins with eye contact, that the connection is made between the student and teacher.
The full British Columbia curriculum is taught with approaches based on the developmental stage of the child. The goal is to teach children to think differently about subjects, often through experience, such as touching and manipulating objects, personal movement and music. German and French are taught from an early age through songs, poetry and movement. Music is a daily part of instruction and the arts are integrated into all aspects of the curriculum and learning.
Class sizes are kept small with 10 to 15 children per class. Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational; the pedagogical method seeks to bring about understanding of the world’s cultures.
Special Event: Anthroposophic Medical Conference
October 13-15 2017. Click here for more information.
School Events and Festivals
The celebration of festivals is an important part of Waldorf education. A festival is a joyous celebration of life, and has the quality of lifting us out of the ordinary and into the mysteries and magic of the rhythm of the seasons. Throughout history, festivals have emerged from people’s connection with their spiritual life and their search for the meaning of human existence. The celebrations are interwoven with the life of the earth and the cycles of nature.
Many faith-based traditions recognize the spiritual realities behind different passages during the year, and that is why special observances cluster together on the calendar. In the Waldorf tradition, festivals are meant to reflect the spiritual reality of what is happening to the earth during important passages during the year.
For example, we can experience the autumn in a natural way as we watch the colorful changing of the leaves, feel the crispness in the air, and taste the tartness of a newly picked apple. We can experience it also, in a spiritual way, if we begin to perceive the beauty around us. The awe of a special sunset can quicken a sense of reverence, stir us to voice a few poetic lines, or feel an inner peace. A common experience of joy and reverence is what allows a festival at a particular time of year to unite a whole community.
Singing, dancing, stories, food and sharing are all a part of the festivals of the year. The following are some of the festivals and events celebrated at the Kelowna Waldorf School.
When: September (First Wednesday of School)
- Grade 8’s welcome grade 1 students to the school with a rose
- Grade 2 provides tea and treats to grade 1 parents while the grade 1 students receive their first main lesson
When: Late September
This festival focuses on strengthening our will forces & facing our fears as we enter the days of the year with less sunlight. The younger classes present a traditional play about St. George taming a dragon. The dragon is harassing villagers & dwarfs forge a sword of light made with meteorites sent by St Michael to assist St George in his courageous quest to offer a deed of Light to the villagers. This festival also actively involves the children’s & communities will forces in a community work morning to prepare the school grounds for winter. Parents & Children collectively prepare Community Harvest Soups & the making of “dragon bread” to be shared by all.
When: October (Friday before Halloween)
Martinmas (Lantern Walk)
When: November (First Week)
Martinmas, which honours the life & deeds of St. Martin, is celebrated when the days are growing shorter & the nights colder. St. Martin of Tours was born in 316 & died Nov. 11, 397. One cold night St. Martin, a Roman soldier, was riding his horse through the gates of a town and saw a beggar shivering. He did not have money to offer the beggar, so instead, took off his own thick red cloak & tore it in two with his sword. He then gave half of his cloak to the cold beggar. Children, who witnessed his kindness, ran back through the streets with their lanterns to tell the townspeople. On St. Martin’s Eve it is a tradition all over Europe for children to carry lanterns through the streets singing & telling the story of St. Martin’s deeds of kindness & compassion. According to these old European customs the lanterns carried by children in the streets serve as symbols of our inner light shining forth to be seen & shared by all. St. Martin’s story is one of many stories in all cultures of the world that celebrates sharing of our spark of humanity with the world in our expressions of brotherliness, sisterliness & compassion.
When: November (3rd Saturday)
When: December 6th (Unless it falls on a weekend)
Kids receive an orange and a visit from St Nicholas. He often talks about positive traits in the children.
Christmas & Shepherds Play
When: December (Last Day of School Before Break)
At the time of the year when the nights are longest and the outside world the darkest, people have anticipated the return of the light, the spiritual being of the sun, for thousands of years. Light conquers the darkness after the winter solstice, when the days grow longer again. It is at this time that the Christ child was born into the world, the child of humanity, the light and love that each of us can nourish within ourselves. In ancient mystery schools this was experienced as the incarnation of the Sun Being. At this school as at many Waldorf schools, the teachers perform the Shepherds’ Play for the community, which tells the story of the birth of that child and the shepherds who came to offer their gifts.
When: February (Often around Valentines Day and Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year)
2016 KWS Parent Conference
“Mindful Parenting”: The Waldorf Way
When: April 8th/9th
For complete conference details… click here
Annual Fundraising Gala & Silent Auction
When: June 2nd
Grade 5’s travel to Hope, BC to compete against other Waldorf Schools in the Greek Olympics
Maypole dancing and gathering
Graduation/Closing Rose Ceremony
When: June (Last Wednesday of the School Year)
Grade 1 children offer a rose to grads.
Classes may celebrate other festivals as they arise in the curriculum’s journey through the history of human cultures. Parents are encouraged to talk to the class teacher about coming in and sharing other meaningful festivals with the children.