We, the Friends of Waldorf Education in Ottawa, are basing the founding of a new Waldorf School in Ottawa on a set of principles that we developed to deal with the core challenges we feel previous schools in Ottawa, and other Waldorf schools across the continent, have faced. This document summarizes these principles, which are also reflected in our mission and vision statements, and in our governance structure.
Putting the three-fold freedom of culture, governance and finances into practice is something most schools work with. We are very consciously establishing a structure this is fundamentally based on the three-fold social order. We see this as a key to the smooth running of the school. The governance structure is designed to facilitate and structurally remind us of the importance of freedom, fostering healthy relationships, and respect of boundaries for each realm.
We see it as a fundamental requirement that everyone involved in the school carries these ideals when engaging with the school and the community of the school. This includes teachers, administrators, our board, and parents.
To facilitate the freedom and independent regulation of the teacher body, we establish that the school hire teachers through a company of teachers, which is in turn responsible for hiring teachers, managing scheduling, the curriculum, teachers' finances, and managing the relationships between parents and children. The responsibilities of the company to the school is clearly defined and constantly evolving as necessary.
The schedule reflects new societal needs in cultivating a very strong emphasis on experiential education, and profound social renewal. This means that certain times of each week are dedicated to out of classroom classes, as well as having large blocks of time to devote the whole week to a project.
Regular time is dedicated to the outdoors, farming, learning about homesteading, how to make things, working on larger building projects, learning about nature, etc.
Other periods are dedicated to the social realm, games, free play, social work, projects that foster social interaction, help emotional maturity, and develop a sense of community and social responsibility.
There is a flexibility in the structure that can accommodate the different needs of families (i.e., homeschooled children) and offers space for a much larger community to participate in the life of the school.
The festivals are also very open to community and a way to involve a larger radius of people.
Affordable Tuition Model
Affordable tuition has certainly always been part of the ideals of Waldorf education. For us a core goal is to have a model where families ability to support the school is balanced with the needs of the school to thrive. We look to partner with other social enterprises to make reduce the burden placed on parents to support the school financially.
It is our goal to create a foundation that will allow everyone who wishes to attend to do so. This could include funding from a store that carries Waldorf supplies, a café, a thrift store, etc.
Part of a hub
We aim to create a diverse community around the school, to perhaps lighten the rental load, and attract partners that can contribute to the school life and be helped by the school.
These partners could be remote partners such as a farm, or be co-renters or sub leasers in the same space as the school such as child care facilities, health practitioners, artistic classes, conferences, group activities, etc. The hub is part of the social fabric of the school and is a model of society for the children.
Our great task is to develop free human beings that are able to give meaning and direction to their life.