The Current | VWS News & Events | Issue 24
March 12, 2020
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Celebrating 100 Years of Waldorf Education

Easing back to school

Dear <<First Name>>,

In this issue of The Current, we have a message from the Development Office, a highly anticipated introduction from our new Pedagogical Manager, insights from the High School, along with photos of students, their work, and a look at grounds improvements at the Grade School that have been underway in our absence.

While we are all sheltering in place and working in our individual homes, it's no longer possible for Ronaye to duck into a classroom or out into the play yard to photograph the activities around the school. We must now rely on you to please consider sharing your photos, success stories, antidotes, etc. If you are willing, please reach out to me at Thank you so much!

It’s been a pleasure to compile this newsletter for you. Enjoy.

Laura Bergstrome
Communications & Events


Over the past six weeks, as we have all adapted our ways of being together while apart, I have observed ongoing shifts in how the school is meeting the needs of our community. Through the last few weeks of March and into April, our attention was solidly on responding quickly, effectively, and compassionately as we mobilized around the required changes to our operations. Once we were through the immediate and critical stages of planning and response, attention shifted to learning all about how we would collectively pivot to deliver our unique education via distance means. The last few weeks have been a truly remarkable experience of collaboration, humility, courage, and optimism. It has been phenomenal to witness and participate in a shared movement toward something radically different from what we are accustomed. I have been continually amazed by the general willingness of colleagues, parents, guardians, and students to get behind something new, even when the new something has the potential to present innumerable challenges.

I am convinced that the reason we are weathering this storm as well as can be reasonably expected is that we are working from a foundation of shared values, which allow us to be in honest communication with one another. If we measure the success of an organization by how safe people feel to express themselves, I feel that we are succeeding. It has been heartening to see that parents and guardians value their relationship with the school so much that they are willing to be vulnerable by offering staff and faculty the gift of honest feedback. It is our intention and commitment to work in such a way that you and your children feel seen and heard, no matter the means. This exercise has given us all an opportunity to witness our innate agility in action.

We are doing our best to continue to offer an excellent experience in all aspects of your interaction with the school. I am so pleased to affirm that the school is in good shape financially and that we are diligent in maximizing resources while fastidiously monitoring all aspects of operations. For sure, there have been stressful days behind the scenes. In addition to missing you all, your dear children, and each other, we too are adjusting to working remotely or distantly while tending to the needs of our families. That said, the uniqueness of this situation means that we are united in our recalibration and there is some comfort in that.

While we are unable to connect with each other as we usually do, Laura and I felt called to offer a simple connection to the school via this newsletter today. Until this point, we agreed that our organizational and communal attention was understandably elsewhere. It has only been this week that we have experienced an energetic opening for the return of our newsletter. At this point, our plan is to offer the newsletter biweekly and it will include glimmers of light in the form of beautiful images and a sharing of gems. The Grade School is a beacon of spring glory at the moment and it is a pleasure to be able to share this newsletter with you as a small gesture of connection.

As the spring term progresses, we will consider how we might increase our offerings for community engagement. If you have ideas to share or would like to chat about how we may be able to nurture your connection to the school community, please be in touch. I will always be happy to hear from you and to connect with you.

Thank you all for choosing to walk this path together. We are lucky to be in community with you.

Mary Henley
Community & Resource Development Manager

Young learners at home


Dear VWS Community,

My name is Gideon Weick. I recently came to the Vancouver Waldorf School to take the position as Pedagogical Manager. I have worked in Waldorf schools in various countries for over 30 years. I have been in the wings (and forests) of Vancouver for the last five months during which the immigration/work permit process took its course. Some of you may have seen me participating in some class events. For example, I was in disguise as Saint Nicholas for Saint Nicholas Day and was able to visit most of the classes in the Grade School. That was a lot of fun!

But now I am no longer in disguise. I can legally work in the school and freely walk the halls (with proper social distance, of course!). However, to my surprise, there is no one here! Where are the students laughing and jostling through the halls? Where are the teachers busily putting final touches on blackboard drawings or rehearsing songs in preparation for the tide of students that will soon fill their classes? Where are the parents chatting in the courtyards and gardens? Where are the other staff—the administrators, assistants, groundskeepers, etc.—scurrying about to make possible the magic of Waldorf education? How strange! These are very unusual times, indeed.

Nevertheless, I am sure we will be back at the school as soon as possible, and the laughter, the busy-ness and the chatting will recommence. During this time I have watched the very capable staff and faculty design and launch an online program in a matter of weeks. The students have quickly responded by learning how to use the electronic medium and by continuing to work with their teachers on the subjects they are studying, the parents have generously adapted home life to support distance learning, and the administrators have been tirelessly holding onto all of the reins as we proceed along this path.

To say the least, I am impressed with you all. I feel honoured to be able to work with you. Working together as a community in which we all share the load and seek to understand one another’s needs is the quintessence of our educational journey together. I look forward to it.

This is but a brief introduction. I have had a very full and joyous life as a Waldorf teacher and mentor and as a human being in general. I will be sharing that with you more in the future. Until then, I wish you strength, patience and understanding as we find our way together.

Peace and warmth,

Gideon Weick
Pedagogical Manager

Main Lesson work in Grade 7


As we wrap-up the first few weeks of distance learning at the High School, we find that these extraordinary times have been met creatively and courageously by our engaged and extraordinary students and families. The teachers and parents have been working collaboratively to set-up, navigate, and problem-solve through the roll-out of the Teams platform, which has helped students to feel confident in moving forward with their studies. Our High School faculty has recognized that there is a range of abilities and comfort levels in working via distance learning and have been heartened by the ongoing conversations with students and families around how best to support one another.

A few highlights from High School happenings are that the Grade 9 students are excited to begin a soapstone carving project in Practical Arts, while the Grade 10 English students are busily working on their podcasts, which will be on a topic of their choosing, and finally, the Grade 12 students are focused on finalizing preparations for their Project Presentations. The High School students come together on Fridays to join the French Café where they connect while playing fun, interactive games together (all the while en français!).

We thank you all for the support that you have given to both the school and to your student(s) through this transition.

Sarah Vondruska
High School Office Manager
Vice Principal


2020 Neufeld Annual Conference keynote address by Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Grounds beautification care of the generosity of the "Gosse/McLaren Clan"



When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry
from New Collected Poems (Counterpoint, 2012) Copyright (c) 2012 by Wendell Berry

Find the calendar in your Parent Portal or on our website.

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

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