Frequently Asked Questions


How many children per class?

Is there WiFi at WISE?

Why do Waldorf schools recommend the limiting of television,
videos, and radio for young children?

What two languages will be taught?

What qualifications are needed to be a Waldorf teacher?

Is Waldorf religious?

What is the Waldorf approach to teaching reading and writing?

How well do Waldorf graduates do on standardized tests?
How well do Waldorf High School graduates do in University?

What are the differences between the Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton and the Waldorf Alternative program run by EPSB?

Why is emphasis put on festivals and ceremonies?

What kind of role will the parents play in determining what takes place
in the classroom?

What is the role of the community?

How can I help support WISE?

Because the Waldorf curriculum is developmentally based, is it possible
to teach a split class?

Because Waldorf is an Arts based curriculum, does that mean the children
are allowed to do what they want? How much structure is there in the Waldorf curriculum?

Why do Waldorf students stay with the same class teacher for elementary?

Does the teacher have a curriculum to follow, or do they make it up as they go?

What if my child does not get along with the teacher?

What is Eurythmy?


How many children per class?
Our Kindergarten has a Teacher and an assistant, and our maximum class size is 22. Grade school classes will have a maximum of 24 children.
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Is there WiFi at WISE?
No.
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Why do Waldorf schools recommend the limiting of television, videos, and radio for young children?
A central aim of Waldorf Education is to stimulate the healthy development of the child’s own imagination. Waldorf teachers are concerned that electronic media hampers the development of the child’s imagination. They are concerned about the physical effects of the medium on the developing child as well as the content of much of the programming.

There is more and more research to substantiate these concerns. See: Endangered Minds: Why Our Children Don’t Think and Failure To Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds For Better and Worse by Jane Healy; Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander; The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn; and Evolution’s End: Claiming The Potential of Our Intelligence by Joseph Chilton Pearce.
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What two languages will be taught?
Since the Waldorf Curriculum requires that two languages of different origins be taught, the most probable choices will be French and German.
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What qualifications are needed to be a Waldorf teacher?
All teachers meet Alberta Certification requirements (Bachelor of Education), along with Waldorf training/certification at one of the appointed colleges in North America.
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Is Waldorf religious?
Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its goals, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all world cultures and religions. Waldorf Schools are not a part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine, but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religions, traditions and interests.
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What is the Waldorf approach to teaching reading and writing?
Waldorf Education attempts to recognize and value all stages of development, including childhood. Waldorf Educators believe that accelerated learning comes at a cost to the child. Kindergarten and Grade One rely strongly on oral tradition and the telling of fairy tales is intertwined with daily rhythms. In Grade One, children begin to learn to read through their own writing, and emphasis is placed on reading comprehension (ensuring children truly understand the meaning of the words they are reading). Further reading on this subject is recommended. Our parent study group has read “Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out” by Jack Petrash, and we recommend it to anyone who wishes to have a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind Waldorf Education.
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How well do Waldorf graduates do on standardized tests? How well do Waldorf High School graduates do in University?
Evidence collected from various sources suggests Waldorf graduates score toward the high end on standardized examinations such as the Provincial Achievement Tests. Waldorf graduates have been accepted by the most prestigious colleges and universities in the World.
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What are the differences between the Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton and the Waldorf Alternative program run by EPSB?
The Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton is an Accredited Private School. The school is responsible to and eligible for public funding directly from the Ministry of Education and is operated by the WESE Board of Directors. The Waldorf Alternative program is an Alternative program offered by Edmonton Public School Board at Avonmore School and is operated by the EPSB.
The WESE Board is made up of parents and members of the community who share a vision of education for their children. As an Independent School, the Board, teachers, and parents work together to set forth goals for WISE and its programs.
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Why is emphasis put on festivals and ceremonies?
Seasonal festivals connect us the rhythms of nature and enriches the soul. They play an important role in Waldorf schools, and are generally celebrated by showing students’ work.
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What kind of role will the parents play in determining what takes place in the classroom?
Parents in Waldorf schools are encouraged to invest as much time as they can towards helping the teachers with extra tasks that may be involved in their children’s education. Reading groups, class plays, and handwork projects are just a few of the areas parents may find their input helpful.
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What is the role of the community?
Waldorf Education is a community-reliant system of education. Festivals, Fairs as well as any extra-curricular activities/events require the active involvement of many people, and typically, the stronger the community, the better the Waldorf School.
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How can I help support WISE?
Every individual knows best what kind of skills or resources they can contribute to the development of the school. We welcome anyone who would like to volunteer to help us set-up events, or who would like to offer their time in some other way. Donations and WESE membership fees make up a significant portion of the WISE’s funding. WESE is a registered charity, so tax receipts for monetary donations are available on request. Please visit the ‘Support WISE’ link at the top of the page to get specific information about all of our fundraising initiatives and volunteer opportunities.
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Because the Waldorf curriculum is developmentally based, is it possible to teach a split class?
It is possible. Some teachers are more comfortable teaching split classes than others. There are several successful Waldorf schools in existence that have either run split classes in the past, or continue to do so today.
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Because Waldorf is an Arts based curriculum, does that mean the children are allowed to do what they want? How much structure is there in the Waldorf curriculum?
Waldorf is a very structured and balanced curriculum which is designed to educate “the whole child”. Based on developmental research into the various stages of childhood, the Waldorf teacher requires special training to guide children in their development. Waldorf Education is not “child-directed” education.
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Why do Waldorf students stay with the same class teacher through the  elementary grades?
During the elementary years children learn best through acceptance and emulation of authority. When a child enters school, they begin to expand their experiences beyond their family and home. Their class becomes a “family” while their teacher takes on the role analogous to the “parent”. With this approach, the class and teacher become very well known to each other, and the teacher can pace subject introduction with class development.
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Does the teacher have a curriculum to follow, or do they make it up as they go?
While Waldorf teachers follow a specific Waldorf curriculum, the background of their training and the unique situation of having a class teacher for 6-8 years allows for much flexibility in determining when and how certain subjects are approached with the class. All Waldorf schools must meet educational standards as set by the Ministry of Education, and therefore also teach the provincial curriculum. Our teachers are given the freedom in how the curriculum goals are reached, based on the needs of their class. A Waldorf class teacher ideally stays with a group of children through the eight elementary school years and is able to cover both Waldorf and Provincial curriculum during this time.
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What if my child does not get along with the teacher?
In the case of incompatibility between teacher and student, effort must be made by all parties to improve the situation. Sometimes it is necessary for teachers and students to work together to establish a better understanding between them, but oftentimes the most challenging student-teacher relationships can be the most rewarding. It is up to the parent to determine if the incompatibility warrants transferring the child out of the program. In rare circumstances of a larger problem between the teacher and students, which have occurred in other Waldorf schools, teachers have left a class a few years in, and begun anew with a new group of students and parents.
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What is Eurythmy?
Eurythmy is the art of movement that attempts to make visible the tone and feeling of music and speech. Eurythmy helps to develop concentration, self-discipline, and a sense of beauty. This training of moving artistically within a group stimulates sensitivity to others as well as individual mastery. Eurythmy lessons follow the themes of the curriculum, exploring rhyme, metre, story, and geometric forms.
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