Two P.E.I. women are behind a plan to open a new private school called the Heartwood Waldorf in Summerside, P.E.I., in September.
Waldorf education is a 100-year-old approach to learning that integrates subjects that are traditionally delivered in isolation — for instance math, english and music and movement. Waldorf has schools all around the world — some that go up to high school. Children also learn life skill such as gardening and cooking.
"It doesn't have a focus on memorization, it really puts a lot of focus on teaching children how to think and how to be creative thinkers," said Lynne Lund, who is planning the school with Julie Taylor.
"Because it's impossible to know what kind of world we're supposed to be preparing our children for in 15, 20 years."
The women plan to start with a pre-school, kindergarten and a mixed grade one and two class in the school's first year. Within five years, their plan is to offer to Grade 6.
"My little guy is doing a Waldorf-inspired home-school program right now. And in Grade 1 he's doing beginner geometry, he's doing multiplications up to his twenties, he's skip-counting by eights and nines. It's really incredible the way the material is brought to the children," she said.
Parents of about 20 students have already expressed interest in their children attending.
Lund and her business partner have had several meetings with P.E.I. education officials about the school's curriculum, and said they are very supportive.
A year of tuition at the Heartwood Waldorf will cost about $7,000 a year per student, Lund said. The school will operate as a non-profit entity.
"The idea is that Waldorf education should be available to anyone who wants to access it, regardless of their financial status," she said, adding she and her partner are currently seeking donors and sponsors to be able to offer tuition assistance.
They have not yet determined where the school will be, she added, but hopes to have a location in the next month. Waldorf education includes a lot of movement and outdoor time, Lund said, so those are requirements of the space.
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