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Back to school at the Nelson Waldorf

By Contributor
September 1st, 2021

The Nelson Waldorf School is kicking off thenew academic year in a big way – with a bold new approach to sustainability, strong additions to the faculty and staff, and a new brandand website to showcase the forward momentum being felt at the School.

The 2021/2022 year will see the largest reinvigorationeffort since the School opened its doors in 1983.

Expanding and codifying the existing outdoor learning aspects of traditional Waldorfeducation into a comprehensive Place-Based Education program is one of this year’s corners to new objectives, according to Head of School Jamie Simon.

“Through consultation with families in our community, we’ve determined that providing a robust, rigorous curriculum focused on environmental sustainability, land use, climate change, global health, and the rapidly changing world, is what parents are looking for when deciding how to approach their children’s education.

“As a BCGroup1 Independent School,we are uniquely positioned to have the flexibility to not only provide a Ministry of Education curriculum, but also a world-class Waldorf education. What we learn in the classroom, we take with us as we venture into our environment and experience our effect on the world, first-hand.”

Parent discussions and consultation has also identified Grade 9 as an area worth exploring. With few options in the region for high school students, there has been increased interest in offering a ninth-grade program at the Nelson Waldorf School. In response, the School has developed an exploratory committee, led by Place-Based Education/Grade9 Development Managers Lisa Papania and Vincent Deslauriers.

Papania has a Ph.D. in Innovation from Simon Fraser University and haspublished half a dozen peer-reviewed papers with titles such as “Taking Sustainability Personally” and “Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture”.

She has also served as a Farmer’s Assistant learning sustainability farming practices in Baliat the world’s only net-zeroschool, and opened Vancouver’s first zero-waste community cafe, alongside her husband Daniel, who also joins the Nelson Waldorf teamas Handwork Assistant.

Deslauriers, who has been a member of the Nelson Waldorf School faculty since 2015,brings into this new role a Bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Laval University in Quebec, and a wealth of experience in communications, social innovation, and leadership.

The HR team has really flipped the old adage on its head, and approached hiring with theattitude that those who can, teach,” says Simon, who joined the administrative team in November 2020. “We have recruited an impressive group of leaders and teachers to complement our team, to share with the students their incredible expertise and passion.”

Also joining the faculty are Guillaume Campeau-Vallee, who has relocated to Nelson with his family to teach French at the School, from Val David, Quebec, where he was a class teacher at the local Waldorf School; and Joy Prichard, the new Music teacher, who has a Bachelor of Education with a Music minor from the University of Regina and has sung with the prestigious Madrigal Singers chamber choir and played in arecorder ensemble.

The level of combined lived experience and education that each of our faculty members can bring to their teaching is second to none,” Simon adds. “Waldorf education is delivered through storytelling, immersive experiences, and applied thinking – our approach continues to attract incredible talent to our classrooms.”

The new website and brand refresh, executed by local design firm The Forest, unveils a more subtle, mature colour palette, and a refreshed wordmark which highlights the interconnectedness of the School and the community using lines andnegative space.

The website will be officially launched in the next week, and will have expanded capabilities for streamlined applications, reporting absences, and more.

Photo Caption: The design and creation process for the outdoor classrooms at the Nelson Waldorf School is student-led – like this Class 2 space, which was constructed with fallen trees and rope. the students were very proud they were able to create this magical space without harming any of the living trees in the forest. — Submitted 

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