Saltwater School's Community, Creating in Waldorf Education, Board Updates, Planning for Growth, New Scheduale for Periwinkle Preschool

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Food Drive: The food hamper will be taken to the Food Bank this week heaping full for families in need. Thank you again to all the families who contributed to the hamper.

Saltwater School Calendars - Great for Holiday Gifts: School calendars are still on sale at 15$ per calendar or buy 5 and receive one free! Pick yours up at the school office.

December 4: Saltwater Parent Group (SPG) meeting at Creekside Commons (2202 Lambert Crescent, Courtenay) from 12:45 to 2:45.

December 17: The Grade 4-5 class is having a Bake Sale. The bake sale is open from 8:30 am until noon. Please come out and have a delicious treat and support the Grade 4-5 class.

December 18: Advent Spiral and last day of fall term (early dismissal at 12:15)

January 6: Winter term begins!
Committees: We are looking for committee volunteers for marketing, fundraising, administration/finance, facilities and human resources. Do you have a talent you would like to share? Please let Julie know if you would like to sign up.

Wish List Please

The children at the Grades level are often involved in building projects. A general purpose toolbox is needed so that the children can continue to develop their woodworking and building skills.

If you have any extra tools you would like to find homes for - we would gladly accept the following:

1. Tool box
2. Sliding square (level with square)
3. Tape measurer
4. Hammer
5. Goggles to fit kids
6. Multi-head screwdrivers
7. Pencil
8. Hand saw



The Advent Garden

The festival of Advent is marked by the Advent Garden. The Teachers prepare for this event by laying out a spiral path of evergreen boughs. In the centre of the spiral they place a candle. Golden stars are spaced evenly along the evergreen boughs.

The room will be dark and filled with quiet anticipation and wonder. When parents bring their children into the room to celebrate the Advent - it will be hushed and a harp will be playing. Each child is given an apple with a small unlit candle inserted into it. Slowly the children walk the spiral of evergreen boughs one at a time to the centre. At the centre they light their candle and on return they place their apple and candle on a golden star.

When all the children have finished, the spiral of evergreen boughs is lit with their candles.

The following is a poem that may be spoken before or after the spiral is walked.

Deep Mid-winter drawing near,
Darkness in our garden here -
One small flame yet bravely burns
To show a path which ever turns.

Earth, please bear us as we go,
Seeking Light to send a-glow;
Branches green and moss and fern,
Mark our path to trace each turn.
Brother animals, teach us too
To serve with patience as you do.

We walk with candle toward the Light
While Earth awaits with hope so bright;
In the Light which finds new birth
Love may spread o'er all the Earth.

Deep Mid-winter drawing near-
May Light arise in our Garden here.

Reference: Waldorf Education Family Guide (1992).

tmas Parade

The Saltwater School won the 'Best Children's Entry' in the Courtenay Christmas Parade! A big Saltwater thank you to the event organizers, parade marchers and our cheering section in the crowd.  Thank you also to Shane Philips for the parade video. For those of you who have not seen the video you can go to and type in 'Saltwater School Parade'.

Children's Winter Faire is Magical

The Third Annual Children's Winter Faire was a great success! Thank you to all of the Saltwater families and community for helping to raise $3500 for our school. The efforts of volunteers transformed the school into a Children's holiday wonderland. Performances were well attended including puppet shows and a Grades Choir medley of songs led by Jennifer Irwin. The Marketplace was full of crafts made and donated by talented individuals and treats disappeared quickly at the Tea House. If children wanted some quiet they could 'blow the boat' across a beautiful woodland pond. There were no shortage of surprises including treats hanging in the cookie house and hiding in the pockets of the pocket lady. If children felt like crafting they could candle dip or make treasures to take home. All in all there was something at the Faire for everyone!

A huge thank you to the event organizers including Michelle Nagle, Karen Alexandre, Jennifer Brenner and Laura Henderson. Thank you also to Jonathon Schut for leading the outdoor decoration. This also extends to those who took on a venue and with it created a winter fairyland both indoors and outdoors. We also had many donations from parents and community members of cookies, food items and crafts for the marketplace and tearoom - your talents are appreciated.

Thank you to our Saltwater Community members including Marvin Haave for building the dollhouse, all parents who contributed to the raffle basket, the Tin Town businesses including Rewind and Gordon Ross Photography, Edible Island Whole Foods Market, Sure Copy and Wild Heart Backpacks.

Report on Facilities Visioning Workshop for the Saltwater School – May 2013
We appreciate your interest in the Saltwater School long-term vision. Our Facilities Committee is investigating options in preparation for when we grow too big for our present location. The Facilities Committee met last May to create a long-term plan - here are the results of this meeting. If you have questions and/or you would like to help to work on this committee please let Julie Mills know at the school office.

I. Participants were asked where facilities and funding for facilities might be at in 2, 5 and 10 years.
  •  In 2 years, the school is seen as continuing to occupy the present building, with rented space in the vicinity to accommodate expanding classes. This is a time of building community support for bigger plans;
  • In 5 years, a transition phase would be underway, the new site will have been purchased and prepped and some facilities constructed;
  • In 10 years, a fully built school would be completed.
 II. Thoughts on location
  • 2.0 - 2.5 acres near forest or park and bicycle accessibility for most of the community is important;
  • We could also have a goal of 5 to 10 acres in conjunction with a farming initiative;
  • We could share land with a therapeutic initiative but have separate facilities. There are different proposals for location and some are peripheral to Courtenay. 
 III. Thoughts about building
  • Can parents and friends build the school;
  • We can consider use of alternative, eco-friendly building practices and recycling;
  • We can build partnerships with compatible groups;
  • Any vacant schools available?  Innovative building, eg. containers? Multi-purpose hall and common spaces at center, classes encircling on the periphery, a shop, quiet room, parent/social space, café/kitchen.
IV. Thoughts about financing
  • If money is available, do it now! A fundraising team to interest donors and philanthropists would be timely.  What have other schools done? We can make use of public funding where opportunities exist; French programs, Charter schools, distance ed., partnership with Camp Hill therapeutic communities?
  • Co-signing on a mortgage;
  • Fundraising events;
  • We could hire a development consultant;
  • What are our inheritance possibilities?
V. Activities of the Building Committee
  • Monthly meetings;
  • Talk to School District about land and buildings;
  • Engage real estate agent for search;
  • Talk to City Hall (done, ed.);
  • Implement fundraising strategy;
  • Prepare strategic plan;
  • Inform families on a regular basis.
 VI. Other Thoughts
  • Where should building funds come from;
  • We need a space for eurythmy, spatial dynamics, music room needed now;
  • School should have a café, kitchen;
  • Teacher proximity to school is important;
  • Dwellings on the school site to encourage community;
  • A therapeutic/artistic component;
  • Need support of parents to make this work.
In November, Ruth Ker visited our school to do a WECAN site visit. WECAN or 'Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America' is an organization that supports the development of Waldorf early childhood programs and ensures that the core values of Waldorf pedagogy are upheld by schools seeking membership.

In terms of the Saltwater School, WECAN helps us shape the development of our own early learning programs including Parent and Tot, Preschool and Kindergarten. They do this through a path to membership which includes site visits and peer evaluation. To find out more about WECAN click on:

Ruth is a board member for WECAN and is the co-director of the Westcoast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy, where she participates in the training of early childhood teachers.  Ruth Ker has over 20 years of experience as a Waldorf Early Learning Childhood Educator. She is also a mentor to Waldorf teachers and is a wealth of information on Waldorf learning. Ruth currently works at the Sunrise School in Duncan.

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