REVIEW OF Trillium Waldorf School BY parent, Natalia Brajak
- Date of Review
March 10, 2022
Gr. 1 - 8
(4.5) Student Experience
My son appreciated the intimacy - at times he longed for a bigger school and a gym and a library- but over time he realized the gifts of the class sizes. He was still nourished and stimulated. He really loved woodworking and the love his woodworking teacher brought to class. He really loved all the art woven into class and subject workbooks. The festivals and celebrations are things we will never forget and create a real community feel. The meaningful interactions and opportunities for leadership in the older grades were very important to his sense of self. He has made lifelong friends at Trillium and has had his imagination stimulated. He appreciates the critical thinking skills he has developed through the grades.
(4) School Leadership
The school's leadership and administration have grown and evolved over the years we have been at the school and they have developed strategies to effectively support children and families when they experience struggles. The communication between parents and teachers in our experience was inconsistent in the beginning but improved substantially over the last few years. They have worked to create a healthy school culture and regularly host speakers that support parents and teachers to communicate with and mentor the children from places of inspiration, understanding and compassion
I have been very happy with most of the teachers. There have been some periods of time when staffing was interrupted or inconsistent for certain subjects - but overall the teachers have been amazing, thoughtful and creative. They go way above and beyond the call. Languages are taught differently than in public schools. Some children have an easier time with it than others. Academic subjects are taught with a lot of artistry. The teachers draw beautiful - like really amazing chalk drawings that the children recreate in their main lesson books. I find that the teachers are sensitive and pay attention to the needs of the children and do their best to honour all the unique ways that they absorb information - whether it be more visual or auditory
I feel the academic program is thoughtfully put together and considers how children develop. It weaves in a deep reverence for their souls and to me that makes the academics that much more potent and relevant. Our kids are not just learning machines - they are unique individuals on a special path and I feel that this school really takes that seriously- it’s why we are here at Trillium. I don’t feel that learning is just about knowing the material in one’s head. It’s about soaking it into your being so it makes sense to one’s life. I remember bringing my father to a grandparents' day at the school. As we toured each grade and they gave us a sample of what they were working on, we visited grade 5 and they were showing us their times tables skills. To our surprise and delight, the children pushed their desks aside and formed a circle. They split into pairs and took a baton. As they went through all the times tables, the pairs tossed the baton, one to the other and incorporated spins and partner changes. What a way to incorporate these math skills with physicality and timing!
There may not be as many extracurriculars that happen “after school” as in other schools but the overall program is so well rounded I feel the children get nourished on those levels regardless. In grade 5, children across all Waldorf schools get to compete (friendly competition) at a traditional Greek Olympics. It is amazing! The kids trained in the original events and we got to go down to New York State for a few days to see the event. Several Waldorf schools attended the meet. It was an incredible experience to see the kids display their poise, skills and sportsmanship
The Waldorf approach honours the development of the human being and its stages. The thoughtful delegation of responsibilities and rights through the grades makes it feel very special. Like all students in each grade - in all Waldorf schools across the world- go through similar rights of passage and the educational content reflects their own stages of development. This creates a very strong community and school spirit. Now that we are at the end of grade 8 we will miss this very much. The community spirit is so strong that many alumni continue coming to events year after year. We also appreciate the position the school takes towards technology. This makes interactions between the students more meaningful and less conditioned by mass media/popular culture
(5) School Life
School life is very rich. The celebratory and rhythmic nature of the flow of the year makes it feel very safe and welcoming. During COVID, we really felt sorrow for all the celebrations having to be cancelled. The rich musicality of the children in Waldorf is something to behold. The choir is the best!!!! My favourite things are the Children’s festival and the Spring Fair. The Children’s festival is like a Christmas concert totally levelled up. Another thing that makes school life so great is the personal involvement and investment of parents. We have lantern walks in the fall as well as a candle dipping event in November. These special events create such meaningful and beautiful memories. We have bonfires in the yard, we sing and get to take home beautiful and artful creations. I have a gorgeous handmade Christmas tree decoration from every year from my son - they are my favourite tree decorations to pull out each winter season.
My favourite thing is how involved I got to be in my son’s class and at the school. There are so many opportunities to create beautiful things at the school. If you have the blessing of some extra time, going on amazing class trips and helping in classes like handwork are such rewarding experiences. I wish I had gone to a Waldorf school when I was a child - but having my son here has allowed me to re-experience my childhood love of learning and the magic of childhood. It has also forged a close and strong bond between us. I have developed close and trusting relationships with the parents of our class and I would trust any parent to help out with my son if needed. Many alumni stay involved - a real testament to the broader community and feeling of belonging
(5) School Location
The children venture out regularly to natural areas, play in the woods, sing songs, splash in the river, get muddy - as kids should. I am grateful that my son got to experience as much nature as he has the last 8 years. He loves the woods and he knows how to be prepared for all weather in all seasons without complaining.