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Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Trillium Waldorf School (2021)

Trillium Waldorf School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Maya, John had to say about the school.

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Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Maya — alum

Maya graduated from Trillium Waldorf School in 2016 after attending for 11 years. During her time there, she felt that she was supported in discovering who she is, what her passions are, and in building her self-confidence. She appreciated the rigorous academic program that taught her to love learning, and prepared her for success in her high school education and beyond. She valued the tight-knit community at Trillium Waldorf School, and continues to be a part of it to this day as an alumni development coordinator.

  • “There were a lot of things that I loved about [Trillium Waldorf School] while I was going there. To single out one, I [had] freedom and the support to pursue what I wanted to pursue, to discover myself, to nurture my passions that I was discovering as I was growing up. … That was probably one of the biggest contributing factors to the self-confidence that [Trillium Waldorf School] gave me. When I left [Trillium Waldorf School], I knew who I was, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go next. That feeling has persisted and really empowered me as I'm stepping into the adult world.”
  • “I went to a public high school after I graduated [from Trillium Waldorf School]. I went there for four years. … The difference is quite staggering. I would say, first of all, there's a difference in how you feel being at the school because at [Trillium Waldorf School], you really feel like you're being met where you are. … They see who you are, and they want you to be that person. They want you to build who you are, and grow into yourself, but also expand your mind, and think in new ways. Whereas, when you're in a public school, it's like, ‘okay, how do I beat the system? How do I learn how to do school, not how to think, but how to learn? How do I get the right grades, and the right classes at the right time so that I can have the right credits to graduate, and then get into the right program at university?’ You feel like you're being churned through a system, instead of having the experience.”
  • “The most surprising thing [about Trillium Waldorf School] might be how rigorous and advanced the academics actually are. People think that [Trillium Waldorf School] is a hippie school and that you only learn how to do art, and make handwork stuff. You do, but you also learn how to do math. It's very challenging a lot of the time. I remember the intellectual challenge that I experienced going to [Trillium Waldorf School] for 8 years, versus the complete lack of intellectual stimulation that I got at high school.”
  • “[Trillium Waldorf School] did more than prepare me. It also taught me how to love learning, which I think is the most important thing.”
  • “Learning in a [Trillium Waldorf School] classroom is approached in an experiential, hands-on type of way. Everything you learn is connected to everything else you learn, and if you don't get it the first time, there are five other ways that they're going to teach it to you for you to get it. It's all so interconnected that you don't even realize that this is happening to you, that these are the tactics that they're using. You have an experience that's all around you. You have to be invested in it because you are immersed in it.”
  • “I feel like my confidence propels me through a lot of my achievements, and I credit that largely to [Trillium Waldorf School]. [Trillium Waldorf School gave me] the sense that learning and life are the same thing, and that pursuing what you feel is right is more important than pursuing any sort of preset formula or trajectory that you see reflected in other places. I'm the type of person that knows what I want to do, and I just do it, because why wouldn't I? I have the tools. There's nothing to lose. I'm like ‘I may as well.’ Ultimately, if you're following your heart and doing what you believe you're supposed to be doing and what you believe is right, then you put out a positive impact on the world.”
  • “By the end of my eight years [at Trillium Waldorf School], my teacher was like a third parent to me. … And he still is, we stay in contact and we catch up. When I'm around him, I feel like he's a family member. … Everybody should have that in those years. It's so critical.”
  • “[The main values of Trillium Waldorf School are] determination, compassion, intuition, and intellect.”
  • “I think most [Trillium Waldorf School] families are primarily united by the fact that they want to be a part of the community. There's always those parents in your class that act like they're also your parents, not in a bad way. It's like we're all just one big extended family, and there's definitely an environment like that. … It's the type of environment that encourages difference.”
  • “Three words that describe [Trillium Waldorf School] if it were a person would be compassionate, intuitive, and humanistic.”

John — current parent

John has had five of his children go through the Trillium Waldorf School, and he has been involved in the community for 23 years. He feels that the school nurtures students, influences them to love learning, and motivates them to produce work to the best of their abilities. He believes Trillium Waldorf School teachers lead by example, and show students how to respect their peers and the environment. John has also seen an improvement in his kids’ confidence and determination.

  • “We also really were drawn to the fact that one of the kindergarten teachers would say, ‘let children be children, let children have a childhood.’ Our two oldest boys had one gear. … They were always on. We have no clue how, especially our oldest, would be able to sit in a chair for hours in kindergarten. We just didn't see that. The fact that they spend a lot of time outside, and they kind of trick them into sitting when they're chopping up vegetables for the soup. and things like that. The way the teachers [at Trillium Waldorf School] were interested in nurturing children, the way that they wanted children to have a childhood. … That's really what drew us to a Waldorf education originally.”
  • “I didn't personally have a lot of expectations [of Trillium Waldorf School] early on. Our children were just in kindergarten, so I really didn't have these huge expectations. As I started to see the kids coming home from [Trillium Waldorf School], able to start reciting stories that they have been hearing, and wanting to help make supper, I saw the fruits of this education.”
  • “I began to expect that the kids would be cared for, and the kids would be nurtured by their teachers [at [Trillium Waldorf School]. As they started to go through the grades, I expected that the work would challenge them and that their teachers wouldn't let them not do the work that they were capable of. … They were encouraged to be creative. They were also encouraged to make their work beautiful. … That expectation came as we experienced [Trillium Waldorf School].”
  • “When you look collectively at [my five kids], what the [Trillium Waldorf School] education gave them was they learned how to care, and not just care about people, but care about the world that they live in. It’s very obvious in how they approach life. I've had several friends over the years take me aside, and tell me that they're amazed at how comfortable my children are at engaging and interacting with adults.”
  • “On a daily basis, [my kid’s] teachers [at Trillium Waldorf School] would greet them, shake their hands, make eye contact, and model for them how to be present in personal interactions. I think that's really a huge impact that not only I see, but my friends see too, how the children interact and engage with the world.”
  • “The teachers at [Trillium Waldorf School] move with the class through [a student’s] eight-year journey. … That relationship allows the child at the beginning of each new academic year to not have to negotiate a new relationship with an adult. So it makes it very easy for [Trillium Waldorf School students] to go from academic year to academic year, and be secure and focused on that experience.”
  • “The teachers [at Trillium Waldorf School] use Waldorf methodology and pedagogy. … They're most concerned about nurturing the spirit of each child, and bringing out who they can become. I think that that the focus is not on education as much as developing and helping each child develop into really well-rounded, contributing community members.”
  • “Now [all of my kids] express gratitude for the opportunity [to go to Trillium Waldorf School]. ... They realize that it has really given them an advantage in the ability to cope with some of the challenges that they face as young people in a very turbulent world that we live in right now.”
  • “Determination is one of the things that I see in [Trillium Waldorf School], and the families at [Trillium Waldorf School]. [Trillium Waldorf School] is a not-for-profit venture, and it takes a lot of volunteer hours. … I think that determination really has brought us through any challenges that we faced as a school.”
  • “Many of the students learn they have a love of life and a love of learning. They approach [those things] with enthusiasm. I think they get that because of how freeing the education is, and how it allows them to be, and then become.”
  • “I think just the way [students are] nurtured, educated, and given the tools like self-confidence [at Trillium Waldorf School], allows them to lead and show that they care.”
  • “When you are attending parent meetings with the class teacher, and being involved in some of the school leadership, what's really important is the children and the opportunity to have this education. When you have diverse opinions, and when you have diverse approaches to life, I think the parents [at Trillium Waldorf School] really are non-judgmental and very supportive, because they want the class teacher to be able to really focus on giving everything they can to the nurturing of all the children. I think that that really unifies them to kind of look past or not judge those differences.”
  • “I think [Trillium Waldorf School] really taught or influenced my family to want to be outside in nature together. We had a tradition where we would go on a backcountry canoe trip. You know, especially once we had five kids. … To kind of take them out wasn't an easy undertaking, but we really saw the calmness. When we picked up [our children from Trillium Waldorf School], we saw this emphasis on being out in nature and respecting nature. That really influenced that tradition in the family, to the point now where we have adult children saying, ‘hey, when’s the family canoe trip this year? I want to make sure I book this time off.’”
  • “I think appreciating simplicity and beauty [at Trillium Waldorf School] has been influential on my family and how we approach things. It was really beneficial to hold the reigns back on access to media, because we wouldn't have done that without the influence of the school. Whatever your attitudes are about media, our experience is that really helped our children be children.”
  • “[Three words that describe Trillium Waldorf School if it were a person are] nurturing, enthusiastic, and open-minded. … I see a lot of those qualities in not only my children and other students, but in the families. … Within our family there are various opinions about how we should approach certain aspects of the pandemic. The discussions have always been respectful, and for the most part, they all actually listen to one another when they're making their points. I think that's really come from how they learn to interact with classmates in school.”
 

More about Trillium Waldorf School

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More written reviews

(4.6)

Parent, Katie Pew (2022)

Our children both thrive at Trillium Waldorf. My daughter is in grade two and loves every day. Her favourite subjects are handwork, games class and practical arts. My son is in his final kindergarte...

(4.6)

Parent, Hanna Van Dijk-Alāč (2022)

The most enjoyable aspect of school for my daughter is visual arts classes which have been taught by a variety of instructors over the years. A wonderful discovery of the colour purple in her SK year ...

(4.7)

Parent, Natalia Brajak (2022)

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 real...
 

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Trillium Waldorf School

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