May 30, 2009

Day 2 Asking For Help- School Days

So my help today came from a couple of smart, handsome, intelligent 13 year old boys. Two boys who are likely going to be ticked at me for writing that last sentence. But they are all those things so I am going to leave it in! They sent me a whole SLEW of questions but the one that I am going to choose  for 12 days journal #47 is “What do you remember from your days in school?”. I chose this one because I spent the morning at The Nelson Waldorf Kinderhouse where my youngest daughter goes to school celebrating their annual May Fest.

School was a challenge for me as a child. I was tiny, had a funny name and was the youngest in my class, bad combination. I struggled, and have come to understand that although I felt alone, I certainly wasn’t, that many others had a similar experience in school. I have a vivid memory that comes to mind, I was in grade 8. I was walking to science class, which was held in the basement of my jr. high school. I remember rounding a corner and seeing the blank cinder block walls, painted eggshell white. In a moment of clarity and wisdom beyond my years I thought to myself “How can I be inspired to learn in such an uninspired building?”. I believe that there were a lot of factors which contributed to me not being fond of school, but the building, it's surroundings and it's complete lack of soul played a significant role. Even outside it was just cows and wheat fields for miles. I knew back then I would choose something different for my children. 

We have made lots of educational choices for our kids. The eldest two were homeschooled until they went to a Waldorf school in Whistler, BC.  Rosy is our first child to ever go to Kindergarten. Far from being made of cinder block, her Kinderhouse is a strawbale building with much soul and natural flow. All materials used in today's crafts were natural: flowers, pine cones, beeswax, feathers. The shortcake and cookies served were wholesome and homemade. The puppet show was low key, the children watched with focused concentration as two teachers used hand felted puppets to tell a delightful story of an orange that the forest folk mistook for a sun seed. Finally we went up to dance round the May pole, a structure made from delicately coloured ribbons, driftwood and real flowers. The whole day was a celebration of what nature has to offer. This is  what I would have liked to have been surrounded with when I was in school, but that was not meant to be... and I trust that. I am so deeply happy that my children will have memories of being educated in a organic, nurturing environment.

Like my science class room in Grade 8, this part of the Kinderhouse is actually partially underground, but look at what a difference the big sunshine windows make! This is me singing with the Waldorf choir.

Rosy Made this all by herself, isn’t it beautiful?

A friend with his beautiful daughter. Notice the beauty of this interior, with its womb like colours, soft textiles, and so many windows.

Round the Maypole, a timeless ancient ritual. In the background notice the mountains, trees and the rest of the school which is lovely and organic as well. Yes my children’s school is a beautiful place. this makes me, and I think them, happy.


  1. What do I remember from my days in school? That's a good question. School was a paradox, there were tons of things that were crappy about it: classes I didn't like or had no interest in, bullies, know the usual. School was also a place where I could play sports, write and have fun. School was a place where one day I was a round peg in a round hole and the next day that hole was square and I had no idea what had changed.

    I remember having a very similar thought to the one you had about the cinder blocks. I was sitting in French class one day, tuning out the lesson and looked at the wall beside me. I was in this bizarre classroom that was half the size of any other classroom and yet had two doors, nearly side by side, leading out to the hallway. I looked around and saw the building for what it was, a huge cinderblock building. Painted white. I had just seen "Escape from Alcatraz" with Clint Eastwood and I thought to myself "This place is a fucking prison!!". I remember finding a spoon on a desk and thinking that the guards must have missed it. I grabbed it and made a plan to dig my way out. I whispered this to a friend of mine nearby, but without the requisite background information he just assumed that I was nuts. I had a great chuckle to myself, though. That's right...I was going to dig my way out of here. Didn't matter how long it took, I would escape. Then the bell rang.

  2. Put that story in your book daddy! It's a great one :)