Our size is our strength. Small means personal, and personal means engaged. Students will have friends, across the grades and will be truly seen, heard and understood by the faculty. Class sizes will be purposely small so as to engage in the meaningful curriculum in a deeper way. A smaller class has the flexibility to travel to caves on the Niagara Escarpment (Geography), to sail on Lake Ontario (Physical Education), and to create the clubs and sports teams that are compatible with their interests.
You are more than you think you are. Students will experience scientific phenomena and sing together; act in plays and design a robot; the musician will meet the mathematician every day. Every student will engage with every discipline. The Waldorf high school experience will awaken the breadth and depth of a variety of capacities. With the integrated and arts-infused curriculum, our students will amaze themselves by their creative competency.
Our specialized faculty really know their students. Waldorf teachers are drawn to the unique nature of the Waldorf curriculum and teaching methods. Highly motivated and trained to deliver experiential and inspiring educational lessons, this faculty will be guides to young people, and stand with the students as class advisors, counsellors and trip leaders. Life long bonds are formed between the faculty and their students.
Our education meets the students where they are. Students who enter grade 9 seek analytical thought and academic rigor, yet often see the world in black-and-white. In the Humanities, they will study Comedy and Tragedy and black and white drawing in Fine Arts. Through the curriculum, our students will explore these polarities which mirror the physical and emotional changes that occur at this stage of adolescence. Each year the Waldorf high school curriculum provides experiences that meet the unique developmental phase of adolescence.
A Fine Balance
Our essential themes are taught in seminar style. The core of the curriculum will be delivered in daily 1.5-hour Morning Lessons, taught in rotating blocks lasting three to four weeks. This intense engagement with a topic, both artistically and academically, enlivens the classroom experience and allows the students to discover and develop a deep understanding of fundamental concepts. Direct source material often replaces textbooks, and this format of study encourages debate and discussion.
Our curriculum has meaningful integration. Academics might seem abstract and irrelevant when boundaries between disciplines occur; at the Waldorf high school, the significance of a concept returns when it is seen in the larger integrated context. Making a Greek mask and acting out scenes from Oedipus Rex in grade 9 enrich the study of Greek History in grade 11. Sculpting human bones out of clay brings anatomy to life unlike any textbook. When multiple senses are engaged across disciplines, interest and understanding increase.
Our classroom is in Burlington...and beyond! In our small school, we will make use of all that Burlington and area has to offer by taking the students out into the community as much as possible. Science at the Royal Botanical Gardens, weaving at the Burlington Arts Centre, and rock climbing on the Escarpment are a few examples of what our students will be privileged to experience. Every year experiential learning expands horizons. Opportunities will include: Grade 9 students living on a farm for three weeks and taking a white-water canoe trip; Grade 10 students working in a local business for 2 weeks and going on an International exchange; Grade 11 students developing empathy on their Social Practicum and later studying Marine Biology in New Brunswick; and the Grade 12 students’ final trip can take them as far afield as Iceland.
Ready for university, work and life. Worldwide, Waldorf graduates are sought after as creative and confident critical thinkers ready to take on our interconnected and ever-changing world. Canadian Waldorf high school graduates are currently at University of Toronto law school, touring as musicians, and working as vets and software engineers. As we move from an age of information and technology to one of ideas and innovation, modern think tanks emphasize the importance of creativity, empathy, and critical thinking for the work world of the 21st century…all hallmarks of Waldorf education. Our graduates will receive the Ontario Secondary School Diplomas, with our curriculum exceeding the requirements of the province in all subjects. Most of all, they will have the confidence and the capacities to be adaptive life-long learners.
The Next Phase
What? The Power of Observation.
Grade 9 students are ready for academic rigour yet sometimes see the world in black and white, through the lens of turbulent emotional and physical changes. They want to be part of the modern world and yet they seek the answers to what it is all about.
Our curriculum challenges them to observe, question and imagine alternatives to their often polarized worldview. Their coursework acknowledges the contrasts of heat and cold in the science of Thermodynamics, Black and White drawing in Art, the power of the earth’s processes in Physical Geography, and classics of Comedy and Tragedy in the English curriculum to name a few examples. As part of their science credit, they spent three weeks in the real world of farming in the spring of grade 9.
Morning Lesson Subjects
How did this all come about?
Grade 10 students begin to look more deeply at the world around them, seeking to understand processes, growth and transformation, mirroring the changes within themselves. How is the world connected? Students are more secure in themselves, and gain greater perspective from this place of balance. They are encouraged to move beyond black and white thinking to more balanced, inclusive thinking. Their morning lessons reflect these themes of comparisons, balance, processes and transformation: The History through Art, Issues in Canadian History, the Power of the Word in English, Inorganic Chemistry and Trigonometry, among other examples. They weave thread into cloth and transform stone in sculpture. They study mechanics and the laws of force and motion. Three month International exchanges take place overseas, giving the maturing student the comparison of another culture and family. A week-long placement in a business setting contrasts the worlds of buyer and seller.
Morning Lesson Subjects
Why? Learning as a Personal Pursuit.
The grade 11 student has a growing capacity for self-reflection and understanding. Why are things the way they are? They are seeking answers and looking for what is uniquely their own. Students learn to live with open ended questions, and go down the road where answers may not be what they expect. While reading texts about finding one’s destiny (Hamlet and the medieval story of Parzival), students have the opportunity to consider their own paths more deeply. A Physics block of Astronomy turns the student’s introspective focus to the world of the stars and Projective Geometry presents students with new concepts of time, space and infinity. Students nurture new powers of abstract thinking as they explore the invisible worlds of electricity, magnetism, atomic theory and cell biology. Literature and humanities courses question the lives of great artists and politicians. The fascinating world of the oceans and tides opens to the students as they explore Marine Biology on a week-long class trip.
Morning Lesson Subjects
Who? The Big Picture Explored.
The graduating student has come a long way from the early days of grade 9. Who am I and who will I become after high school? They seek to synthesize knowledge and experience as they begin to see their emerging place in the world. The curriculum encourages their emerging ability to see multiple points of view, and come up with imaginative solutions to the world’s big questions, developing a global consciousness. What guides peoples’ actions? How can I make a difference in the world? There is an underlying theme of synthesis found in main lessons like Twentieth Century Literature, History through Architecture and interdisciplinary science, philosophy and technology courses. Independent yearlong Grade 12 projects reflect their emerging individuality as they research and present a topic of their interest. The end of year trip may take them as far afield as Peru or Iceland as they explore the outer world together one last time.
Morning Lesson Subjects