Copy
The Current | VWS News & Events | #6
Special Development Edition
16/10/20
View this email in your browser
Our mission is to provide an education based on the understanding of individual human development that fosters imagination, responsibility and a sense of truth.

Inaugural community hike!

Dear <<First Name>>,

As autumn advances on steady feet and the leaves fall from the trees ever faster, it seems a fitting time to recall Steiner’s words about nature. He said that by observing nature we can develop our capacity for seeing the working of spiritual impulses that organize all living beings. And that an organization, such as our school, is also a living being that thrives best when it follows these same impulses.

With these words in mind, I would like to introduce you to the Development Committee – a group formed to support the Development Office in its role of building a healthy school community in all its many different aspects. The Committee is chaired by Joana Ribeiro Mortari, a parent in Grade 3 & 6, and includes Mary Henley, the Community & Resource Development Manager; Laura Bergstrome, Communications & Events Coordinator; Blanka Ponec, Preschool and Parent & Tot teacher and Board of Trustees member; and parents Kate Muker, Eolo Parusel, who is also a Board member, and myself, Anne Pepper.

In the very important area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the Committee is happy to share with you that the school will be hiring a consultant to work with the DEI Working Group on occasion during a three-year process. This will help deepen our work in aligning our school with a fundamental goal of social renewal. We’ll keep you updated as plans unfold.

Up to now, our school has not engaged in much active marketing beyond our Open Houses, but the time feels right to begin designing and implementing a Marketing plan. The values that our school represents have seemed ever more relevant to me over the past year – such as protecting a healthy childhood, working towards social renewal, and the role of the fine arts in awakening consciousness and joy in living. The Marketing plan will vary from looking at our signage to how do we market our school, and Laura will be working with a consultant to assist with the process.

Many of us are familiar with Steiner’s words that “A healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the community the virtue of each one is living.” These words reflect that the well-being of the community will be greater if each person gives the benefit of their work to their community, rather than claiming it for themself. Steiner held that in doing so, we will find that this then furthers our own individual needs being met by the work done by other community members. This belief is reflected in our Community Fund – which collects all fundraising donations to the school to be shared by all. The Development Committee supports fundraising initiatives as needed, which includes the upcoming GivingTuesday, a worldwide day dedicated to giving back.

The Development Committee will be continuing our Friday morning hikes to replace Friday Community Coffee. We invite you to join us next Friday, October 23, at 8:45 am at the last parking lot at Lynn Headwaters for a walk around Lynn Loop. Rain or shine, unless very heavy rain. No need to RSVP but please do respect DNV Parks, Trails & Recreation signage regarding park usage.

Anne Pepper
on behalf of the Development Committee

CONTENTS

WEEK AT A GLANCE

 

Monday, October 19

Grade 4 Parent Evening 7:00 pm
 

Tuesday, October 20

Photo Retakes GS/HS
The First 7 Years Seminar Series:
Healing Power & Mystery of Sleep
7:30 pm, GS Hall
 

Friday, October 23

Community Hike 8:45 am, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
 

On the Horizon

Annual General Meeting October 28
Grade 3 Play November 5
Plum Cottage Lantern Walk November 6
Grade 1 Lantern Walks November 6
Parent-Teacher Interviews November 9 & 10
Remembrance Day November 11
Professional Development Days November 12 & 13

 
ECC (Early Childhood Centre) | GS (Grade School) | HS (High School)

NOTICES & ANNOUNCEMENTS

STUDENT & CLASS PHOTOS - An email was sent to parents on Tuesday with details on how to access your class gallery to order student photos. Ordering will be open for seven days. Digital orders will be delivered within 48 hours and print orders will be delivered directly to your child's classroom in mid-November.

Retakes are scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, October 20 at both the Grade School and the High School. If your child/student requires a photo that day, please email Ronaye at rireland@vws.ca or Sarah at svondruska@vws.ca.

VOLUNTEER - Ronaye is looking for a volunteer! She needs someone to cover her desk from 2:00 - 3:00 pm on Wednesdays while she attends a meeting. If anyone is interested, please let her know at rireland@vws.ca. Thank you!

LOST & FOUND - As our Lost and Found hill begins to grow into a mountain, we realize that we need to provide a means of access for parents to be able to collect their children’s belongings. To that end, we will set up a rack in front of the Red Door Store for parents to view on sunny days at pick-up. If you wish to access the Lost and Found, please park your car in the neighbourhood and follow the sidewalk up the driveway, in keeping with our new traffic flow. Please check the rack (but do not linger) and then exit with your findings using the crosswalk and stairs down to streel level.

PE STRIPS - We have a plethora of used, but washed, PE strips that have been returned to Ronaye for a variety of reasons. If your child requires an extra PE strip, please email Ronaye at rireland@vws.ca with your size requests. We will try to meet your needs.

PARKING LOT THRU-LANE - The thru-lane, on the left of our parking lot, is for faculty and staff to access parking and for ECC and Gr 1 parents who are travelling with a baby to access their dedicated parking stalls only. Everyone else must either park in the neighbourhood and walk or use the dedicated 'Kiss and Go' lanes for pick up and drop off. It is very dangerous to attempt to use the outer left lane for pick up, as children would be required to navigate moving vehicles. Please refer to the section on Parking Lot Guidelines on page 9 of our Parent Handbook.

FROM THE LYNN VALLEY LIBRARY - Much has changed for our communities this year and we appreciate that many people are craving a return to some form of normalcy. We hope your school year is off to a great start, even with the unique challenges this year brings! Some of these measures include:

  • Occupancy limits assigned to library zones in accordance with requirements for social distancing.
  • Recommended visits of 1-hour or less.
  • Encouraging mask-use when visiting public spaces.
  • Regular and enhanced cleaning of library spaces and high-touch items.
Message from the Lynn Valley Library to students & families

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 28 for our virtual AGM. The Board of Trustees, in conjunction with the Development Office, is planning an engaging evening of official business plus school program and project highlights. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Society forms, including the AGM package and membership applications, are on our website www.vws.ca/about/vws-society.

Click to register for the AGM here

WARM WISHES TO ALL NEW FAMILIES

We sincerely hope that things are going well as you and your family settle into the routine and rhythm of the VWS. At a recent meeting of the Development Committee, we talked about hosting an event for new families. In a typical year, this would have taken place after the Opening Assembly on September 9th. This being an unusual year, we are brainstorming ways for families to connect to the school community. If gathering in person is of interest to you, please let me know by email. We will be in touch once plans come together.

Should you find yourself in need of information or guidance otherwise, and equally if you have a suggestion or idea to share, please feel welcome to contact Laura or me at any time. We are happy to help in whatever way we may be of service and are grateful for the opportunity to hear about your experiences.

Thank you for choosing the VWS.

With kindness,

Mary Henley
Community & Resource Development Manager

mhenley@vws.ca

GROCERY CARD PROGRAM

It’s been a wonderfully busy month for the Accounting Office, which means we’ve decided to push the first grocery card order of the year to October 22. Once orders have been prepared, we will email instructions for pick-up. Thank you all for your patience as we’ve gotten ourselves organized and for supporting the program!

Learn more about our Grocery Card Program here vws.ca/giving/grocery-card-program

GIVINGTUESDAY

We are 46 days away from #GivingTuesday and I cannot think of a more significant year for us to celebrate generosity. GivingTuesday was launched in New York City in 2011 and since then, has become a global movement. Last year, $1.9B was raised globally in support of GivingTuesday initiatives and in Canada, $20M was raised for charities and nonprofits in just 24 hours.

Positive psychology asserts that positive feelings are more than the absence of negative ones, but are also a source of profound personal satisfaction. In essence, GivingTuesday is an opportunity to foster positivity and personal satisfaction by offering care to the causes we love. In doing so, each one of us takes an active and important role in the shaping of the world we want to live in and leave for future generations.

Of the many wishes I have for this immense and beautiful planet, or maybe underlying them all, is a desire to contribute to the development of integrated and conscious human beings. Our school’s vision is that Waldorf education enables socially responsible, independent thinkers able to fulfil their life tasks and contribute to world renewal. I believe each of us has taken an active role in supporting that vision when we chose Waldorf education at the Vancouver Waldorf School for our children.

This is why on this GivingTuesday, December 1, we are asking you to care for Waldorf education, by giving to our school. To donate to the school’s Community Fund, please click here. The Community Fund collects all donations the school receives and it has a mandate carried by the Development Committee to fund projects and initiatives that benefit the entire school community.

Another amazing way to support the VWS on GivingTuesday is to simply share our school’s campaign with your extended community. Stay tuned for more information on just how to do that. We’ll make it easy and fun!

Finally, we’re thrilled to also be able to offer another way to get involved with philanthropy by investing your sweat equity into community projects. We’ll share details as soon as we have them but it’s looking like we’ll be getting our hands dirty in the best possible way.

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou

Joana Ribeiro Mortari
Development Committee Chair

Donate to the Community Fund

AWSNA DEI & RACIAL EQUITY PLAN

Dear Waldorf School Community:

In 2016, full members of our association adopted the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Schools as a basis of agreement for what it means to be a Waldorf school in North America in the first half of the 21st century. Principle #2 reads as follows:

Waldorf Schools Foster Social Renewal by Cultivating Human Capacities in Service to the Individual and Society: Waldorf schools foster development so that, throughout life, individuals are motivated to serve humanity with strength of will, depth of feeling, clarity of thought, and the ability to work with others. The educational program is designed to strengthen these fundamental human capacities in our students.

As the AWSNA executive team grapples with an expanding awareness of systemic racial injustice, especially in the United States, this principle provides us not only with a foundation, but also a guidepost - at the heart of which is an understanding that the social mission of Waldorf education can only be attained when equity and love are centred in every aspect of our work.

Over the past few months, we have grieved in response to what we have read on Instagram forums, where community members of colour have shared their experiences as Waldorf students and families in relation to prejudice and bias encountered. Such forums, along with direct sharing from colleagues of colour, highlight that Waldorf education has fallen short of our ideals.

We must now seize the opportunity to reflect, to respond, and to do better. As such, we have been revising, elevating, and accelerating our strategic priorities, developed in the 2019 school year, as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The actions listed below are not the sum of what we expect to do; the shape and details will continue to evolve as we deepen our understanding of what is needed for the future.

Initial actions to be taken during the 2020-2021 school year
by AWSNA leadership:

Mission, Vision, Values, and Philosophy

Review and revise our mission, vision, and values to ensure that racial justice, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of our work.

Reconcile the narrative of Rudolf Steiner’s writings in relation to race and ethnicity in order to redress any dehumanizing or disparaging aspects of our history and foundation that are in conflict with our values and social mission.

Institutional Understanding and Representation

Host listening forums to expand our knowledge and understanding of the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Waldorf schools and institutes so that we can better understand what changes are needed and take actions to address those needs.

Expand BIPOC representation in AWSNA leadership and collaborative circles so that we are better able to fulfil the social mission of Waldorf education by ensuring voices of color are included in crafting strategy and driving action.

Provide racial equity training for the AWSNA executive team, board, staff, and leadership council with the understanding that education is fundamental to change.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

Reimagine Waldorf pedagogy by hosting monthly webinars that examine both Rudolf Steiner’s indications and educational ideas that have manifested as white-centric pedagogical practices and curriculum in support of pedagogical innovation for racial justice.

Develop a curriculum repository of practices that are informed by the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Schools that support racial equity and justice.

Engage in equity and inclusion DEI curriculum research in order to further our understanding and practices that support racial equity and justice.

Facilitate engagement in Pedagogical Special Interest and Research Groups so that faculty have a space for deepened, ongoing dialogue with colleagues who are engaging in action research towards racial equity.

Initiate dialogue among institutes to support the inclusion of racial equity practices in teacher preparation and professional development programs offered by AWSNA member institutes.

Improvement of Association-Wide Practices

Engage an outside organization to conduct a climate, inclusion, and equity survey of parents, teachers, staff members, and middle/upper grades students in representative schools. The results of the climate survey will be used as a benchmark by the association and members in the development of goals and change metrics related to equity and inclusion.

Support school DEI committees by providing networking opportunities that encourage exchange of practices that support school transformation.

Utilize the member approved “Commitment to DEI” as the basis for a voluntary DEI criterion for self-study/accreditation in order to strengthen an association-wide commitment to racial justice.

Facilitation of Connection and Collaboration

Host Work-a-Like Networking Forums and provide effective practices that spur change and innovation relative to DEI in all areas of school operations, re: business, admissions, development, human resources, etc.

Support Affinity Networking Groups for BIPOC and LGBTQ+, which aim to further and strengthen diversity and inclusion in Waldorf education.

We recognize that we have a great deal of important work to do as leaders of the association. We also recognize that our best chance to succeed in addressing systemic inequity is to meet the challenges as a community, united in our commitment. As such, we are counting on the collaboration, wisdom, and perspective of all in the Waldorf movement.

We also understand that to change thinking requires deep inner work and a radical reorientation. Only through spiritual striving and love can we ensure outer transformation. There is no quick fix.

We hope you will join us as we move forward in fulfillment of the mission of Waldorf education where equitable and inclusive practices and policies are evident, and the dignity of each human being shines through our work.

Sincerely,

Beverly, Stephanie, and Melanie
Association of Waldorf Schools of North America

The Vancouver Waldorf School is situated on the unceded ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

You may update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter