Today’s Poll

The Whole School — Empowering Learning Experience

By Contributor
April 16th, 2021

As the 2021-22 school year comes into view, the Whole School is actively looking for new fall registrants to join their school community where they offer a dynamic, holistic educational experience focused around student-led learning and small class sizes.

“At the Whole School, we cultivate a non-competitive environment where students feel nurtured and confident as they work toward their learning goals,” said Whole School principal Rose Hodwitz.

The Whole School originated in 1972 when a group of homeschoolers came together as a collective to create an alternate school environment for families in the community.

The multi-age classroom concept quickly became popular, drawing the attention of certified teachers and adults without children, which resulted in the school forming a non-profit society and the purchase of a schoolhouse.

Over the decades, the school has become what it is now — a full-time service offering the BC curriculum four days a week and a full day in the Outdoor Leadership Program (OLP) every Friday.

When asked what makes students thrive at the Whole School, Hodwitz said, “We work on having the students become autonomous people, where they are able to make decisions for themselves and advocate for their needs. This is done, in part, by using the Circle of Courage, an Indigenous program that teaches four core values: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.

“These skills transfer to anything they do after graduating from the Whole School.”

In addition to the Circle of Courage, Hodwitz references attachment theory in creating student success at the Whole School. By studying this theory, educators understand that students are more willing and capable of learning when there is a level of trust — or attachment — between student and teacher.

Children are more easily supported and guided by people they trust, so Whole School teachers foster their relationship with each student by connecting with them on an individual level throughout every day.  This is possible due to the smaller than normal class sizes – less than 15 students per classroom.  

The Whole School is also an outdoor school with every Friday dedicated to outdoor learning, regardless of the weather.

This can include a day of hiking, biking, skiing, snow shoeing, canoeing, caving, or rock climbing. The OLP gives students the confidence to explore the natural world throughout their lives.

The Whole School accepts new registrants throughout the year, but is currently filling in spaces for the fall 2021 start. They do not have a catchment area and welcome any students that are interested in the unique educational experience they offer.  Financial support is available for any family that would like to attend, but has a concern about cost. 

For more information about the Whole School please contact Josée Corrigan at (250) 226 – 7737 or

Photo Caption: Ruby Restrick, age 11, studies the habits of bees in the school’s indoor hive. — Submitted photo

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