At the Vancouver Waldorf School, our students learn to be creative, critical thinkers who have a strong moral compass, are open and resilient, and can turn challenges into possibilities. We educate "head, heart and hands" through a rich curriculum with delayed and conscious exposure to media & technology. Informed by a profound understanding of child development, we nurture, inspire, and challenge young people to achieve their highest potential as human beings and to contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Our Take: Vancouver Waldorf School
Waldorf education can be a bit tricky to get your head around at times, and that’s because different schools may express various aspects of what they feel Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the method, had in mind. That said, the best are those that VWS expresses within its curriculum, one that extends from the earlier years through Grade 12. The learning environment is one built around a shared sense of community and community values. The goal is to create students who have fluency with the core concepts, but also are able to work creatively and respectfully with others.
2725 St. Christophers Road, North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7K 2B6
307-3255 Edgemont Blvd., North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7R 2P1
Vancouver Waldorf School offers bus transferring.
Service options offered are regular rider, regular rider AM only, regular rider PM only, occasional rider.
Additional notes: Students who attend VWS and who live on the south side of Burrard Inlet may choose to take advantage of our excellent bus service. The bus provides transportation to and from school to students in KG to Grade 8, and morning service for students in Grades 9-12 travelling from Vancouver or the Lynn Valley campus.
The bus stops at designated places along the route and students either walk or are driven to the pick-up and drop-off areas.
Fees: $1000/year for return 5-day service; $625/year for 1-way to High School. Drop-in rates available.
Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.
Curriculum approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : Waldorf
Vancouver Waldorf School has a Waldorf approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia approach).
[Show: About Waldorf?]
Waldorf schools are available from preschool to Grade 12, though they are most popular at the younger ages. Waldorf schools are unmistakably "progressive". Rudolf Steiner, their intellectual forefather, believed the educator's first task should be to help students develop an aesthetic appreciation for life and learning. Sometimes incorrectly conflated with Montessori schools, Waldorf schools focus on developing the "whole child" - emphasizing collaborative, hands-on learning, along with the arts and music, which are integrated into other areas of study.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Waldorf - 1%   Traditional - 42%   Liberal arts - 16%   Progressive - 26%   Montessori - 15%   Reggio Emilia - 0%
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: Using the Waldorf curriculum, we strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child--the head, the heart and the hands. Our teachers introduce skills, subjects and concepts when it is appropriate given the children's physiological, emotional and spiritual development. The teachers use a multi-sensory approach, integrating the arts into each subject to engage the whole child in the learning process rather than simply imparting intellectual information. In the High School, the development of the capacity for creative and independent thinking is paramount and all subjects draw on the students' capacity for analytical thinking and judgement. The curriculum includes a rich array of academic, artistic, and movement courses of study.
These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 66%   Traditional math - 27%   Discovery math - 7%
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: Mathematics, as taught in Waldorf schools, grows and blossoms within the child. It is experienced with joy, wonder and the bright excitement of discovery and intellectual activity. When math is taught as "living mathematics," the possibilities for continued growth are infinite. A very concrete, practical approach is taken in the primary grades. They experience math in a physical way, in rhythmic movement. By Grade 7 and 8, the many seeds planted in the earlier grades have grown, and there is a transition from imagination-bound thinking to conceptual thinking. With the blossoming of thinking capacities in the high school years, the study of math will have moved to a new trust in thinking.
Textbooks and supplementary materials: Grades 6-8 Jump Math
Grades 9-12 Math Links
Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.
Systematic-phonics programs teach young children to read by helping them to recognize and sound out the letters and syllables of words. Students are then led to blend these sounds together to sound out and recognize the whole word. While other reading programs might touch on phonetics (either incidentally or on a “when needed” basis), systematic phonics teaches phonics in a specific sequence, and uses extensive repetition and direct instruction to help readers associate specific letter patterns with their associated sounds.
The systematic approach to teaching beginner writing focuses on directly imparting explicit sentence construction strategies, along with planning, revising, and editing skills. Students are asked to learn these explicit strategies and skills and practice them before applying them in more holistic writing assignments. Grammar and parts of sentences tend to have a central role in systematic writing instruction.
Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.
In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
Literature at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 23%   Social justice - 3%   Equal balance - 74%
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: This information is not currently available.
Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).
Humanities and Social Sciences approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : Perennialism
Vancouver Waldorf School has a Perennialism approach to Humanities and Social Sciences (as opposed to Pragmatism , Equal Balance approach).
[Show: About Perennialism?]
Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.
Humanities and Social Sciences at schools on OurKids.net
The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.
Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net
Light integration - 24%   Heavy integration - 31%   Medium integration - 45%
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: This information is not currently available.
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: The Outdoor Education Program at the Vancouver Waldorf High School is an exciting and integral component of the curriculum. Our primary goal over the course of their four years in the High School is to provide all students with physically, emotionally and socially challenging wilderness experiences. Students learn to safely navigate in the wilderness and are encouraged to engage and reflect on their roles as stewards of the earth. The Outdoor Education Program supports the development of practical skills as well as positive character traits in students including respect, responsibility, helpfulness, independence, self-confidence, self-discipline, interpersonal skills, courage and leadership.
Sex and health education approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : British Columbia curriculum
Vancouver Waldorf School has a British Columbia curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).
[Show: About British Columbia curriculum?]
The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.
Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net
Follows provincial curriculum - 53%   Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 47%
Approach to sex and health education:
Vancouver Waldorf School has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).
[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
Vancouver Waldorf School 's approach to sex-ed: This information is not currently available.
Preschools and kindergartens tend to have a particular curriculum or curricular approach. This refers to what is taught and how it's taught. Most preschools have a curriculum that comprises a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. A preschool's curriculum may or may not, though, reflect its higher-level curriculum (if it's part of a school with elementary or secondary programs)
Preschool/K Curriculum approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : Waldorf
Vancouver Waldorf School has a Waldorf approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Play-based, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Academic approach).
[Show: About Waldorf?]
Highly group-oriented and with a strong emphasis on creative and imaginative play, Waldorf preschool and Kindergarten programs have very little to no emphasis on academics. A Waldorf environment will often feel more like a home than a traditional classroom -- the goal being to instill comfort and and a sense of predictability in students’ day. This emphasis on comfort and predictability also manifests through a heavy use of repetition: for example, teachers might read the same story multiple days in a row. Waldorf schools ask parents to refrain from offering children TV or computers at home, and aim to develop in children a connection to the natural world. If you want to learn more about Waldorf education, check out our comprehensive guide.
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: We believe that creative thinking finds its expression in imaginative free play and in this way children develop cognitive, social, physical and linguistic skills for life. We strive to present the children with a world of beauty that nurtures their sense of ease, joy, and peace. The children are not introduced to any formal learning at this stage, rather the children engage in artistic activities such as drawing, painting, sewing, and baking. Each day also incorporates outside play time and a healthy snack, as well as a circle time which is rich with seasonal stories and movement games.
This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.
Curriculum Pace approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : Standard-enriched
Vancouver Waldorf School has a Standard-enriched approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Accelerated, Student-paced approach).
[Show: About Standard-enriched?]
Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: "When Waldorf students reach us at the college level, they are grounded broadly and deeply and have a remarkable enthusiasm for learning."Arthur Zajonc, PhD Associate Professor of Physics, Amherst University
Flexible pacing style
Flexible pacing style
Multi-age classrooms as standard
Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
Regular guided independent study opportunities
What Vancouver Waldorf School says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.
Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.
Academic Culture approach at Vancouver Waldorf School : Supportive
Vancouver Waldorf School has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).
[Show: About Supportive?]
A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Supportive - 54%   Rigorous - 46%
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: This information is not currently available.
Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.
Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
"Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation."
What Vancouver Waldorf School says: This information is not currently available.
Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.
Vancouver Waldorf School offers No support
Vancouver Waldorf School offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
Language Processing Disorder
This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
Drug and alcohol abuse
This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.
Dedicated gifted programs:
Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)
Curriculum delivery: This information is not currently available.
Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.
In grade Gr. 4, Vancouver Waldorf School students perform an average of No homework of homework per night.
Vancouver Waldorf School
What Vancouver Waldorf School says about their flipped classroom policy: This information is not currently available.
While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.
While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.
This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of school, living arrangements, what’s included in tuition, school location, resources, and facilities. Many private schools in Canada have tuition that ranges between $6,000 and $12,000 a year. While some schools, such as schools which provide room and board, can be more expensive, many of these schools provide ways to defray the costs of tuition. For instance, they may offer merit-based scholarships or needs-based financial aid (often referred to as “bursaries” or “subsidies”).
DayDay (Half day)
Day (Half day)
$14,760 / semester
What Vancouver Waldorf School says about their tuition: This information is not currently available.
2nd child (sibling)
3rd child (sibling)
4th child (sibling)
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
K to 12
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some larger schools have enrollment numbers in the thousands, while some smaller schools have only a few dozen students. Boarding schools tend to be on the larger side, while alternative schools, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, are normally smaller. Besides the overall size of school, there are other important facts you’ll want to know about a school’s enrollment. For instance, here you can learn about a school’s enrollment for separate streams (if they have them), such as day and boarding, its average class size, and its average enrollment per grade.
Nursery/Toddler to Gr. 12
Gr. 9 to Gr. 12
Average enrollment per grade
Average class size
16 to 26
Nursery/Toddler to Gr. 12 (Coed)
Percentage of students are international students
Number of different nationalities within student population
Private schools in Canada have admissions policies. All schools have some required application materials, though these vary between schools. These may include letters of application, application fees, essays, and exams (such as the SSAT). Many schools also require interviews with prospective students, either with their parents, on their own, or both. Schools also have different standards and priorities when evaluating student applications, different acceptance rates (which may vary between grade levels), and target different kinds of students. To improve your child’s chances of acceptance, you should find out everything you can about a school’s admissions policies and how they assess applicants.
NS - 12
SSAT (out of province)
Day students: Rolling
Homestay students: N/A
What Vancouver Waldorf School says:
Choosing a school is a very important decision in a family’s life. Our admissions process is designed to give you as much information as you need to make an informed decision about enrolling your children in the Vancouver Waldorf School. It is as important for us to know who you are and what you are looking for in a school, as it is for you to know who we are and what Waldorf education is about.
Acceptance Rate: 95%
Type of student Vancouver Waldorf School is looking for:
In addition to imparting knowledge, the school’s intention is to foster in children a sense of reverence and respect for life. The close relationships between students and teachers enhance learning and the ability to explore new interests and take on new challenges. Students are engaged in a learning experience both artistic and academically challenging.
Where graduates of a school do their post-secondary studies can be an important factor in choosing a private school. Do you want your child to go to a Canadian university, an Ivy league school in the US, or some other institute? Regardless of your inclinations, take a look at a school’s university placement record, and the services they offer to support university applications and decisions.
Average graduating class size
*Canadian "Big 6" placements
*Number of students in the past year who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.
**Number of students in the past 5 years that that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)
Schools our students are admitted to (last 4 years): Capilano Uviversity, Concordia University, Dalhousie University, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Mount Alison University, SFU, UBC, UVic,
My Waldorf education has given me the capacity to attack any problem and take it forward with confidence. It has helped me integrate my knowledge and experiences gained throughout life as valuable tools for many of life's challenges."