Frequently Asked Questions
Registration and Tuition
Curriculum and Schedule
Registration and Tuition
* Why do you require a non-refundable registration fee that is not applied to tuition?
Starting the school carries various costs for us. We have to acquire materials and furniture, transform the rooms, pay lease deposits, pay for insurance, commit to teaching contracts, and many other things. We also need to know that we have committed families who will, in fact, come to the school. For this reason, we set a non-refundable registration fee of $500 for the first child and $250 for any further children (except if you register a child for 1 day a week only – then the registration is a flat $200 per child).
The fee is not applied to tuition as we need these funds to start up the school before the fall and will require continuing funding with operating expenses in the fall. Since YOU, the family, determine independently how much you pay monthly in financial support to the school, you have the ability to take the registration fee into account when determining this amount, if required by your situation.
* What happens to our registration fee if you are not able to offer a program to our child?
If, for whatever reason, we are not able to offer programming to your child for the school year, then we will fully refund your registration fee.
* When is the registration deadline?
Since the school year has begun, please contact us to discuss a late registration possibility.
* What is the cost per child to attend the school per month?
Based on our current expectations that we will reach about 40 full-time equivalent student registrations, we expect the cost per child to be about $700 for the grade school and $800 for the kindergarten.
* Why should I consider giving more than the average cost per child?
As a community, we want to make it possible for every child to be able to attend our school, regardless of the financial situation of the family. This can only work if families that have greater financial means can help carry those with less. Consider your contribution as more than a tuition fee, but a membership in our school community that helps carry every child. If you are able to give beyond the average cost per child, please do, and know that it makes a difference!
"Gifts expand the circle of self
to include the entire community.
All gifts circle back to the giver
in another form."
- Charles Einstein, from Sacred Economics
* How much is tuition?
Our school is using a unique affordable-to-all (ATA) tuition model under which we do NOT set a tuition rate! We are very proud of our approach and hope it will create a unique mutually supportive community.
* Why do you not have a fixed tuition rate?
We believe that no child should be turned away because of finances. Offering a school which is accessible to all who are willing to commit to the school community is one of our most important founding principles. Having done a lot of research on school financial models and affordable tuition models, we are trying something a little different. It is a model that asks for each individual family’s responsibility within a community that will shoulder the school’s needs together. This is to allow for greater flexibility in the families’ financial contributions and to increase each family’s involvement in the school community. Any funding shortfalls must be obtained through our fundraising efforts.
* How do you determine how much tuition each family pays?
At a community meeting, the process starts with a financial update presentation which takes into account the budget (the needs of the school) as well as financial contributions and commitments from families to date. Based on this presentation, each community member (one representative per family) writes down on a piece of paper his or her name and the monthly financial contribution the family is able make. This information is seen only by the not-for-profit board treasurer and administrator and remains strictly confidential. They gather the offers and add them up.
The treasurer presents the new total contributions amount and compares it to the budget.
If the gap between financial offers and the school’s need is significant, we then do another round together, asking everyone to reconsider his or her contribution amount in view of the results we just saw. Once the final financial contributions amount has been established and compared to the budget, the amount remaining to be fundraised will be announced.
While we figure out in a group what we each pay, in this process every family at our school is free to decide on the financial contribution that they can carry in light of their own needs and those of the school and seeing the total contributions of all of the school families.
We decided on this approach to eliminate any external pressure and to bring the community together around a shared goal of supporting the school. Some families will be able to pay more, others less, but every family will contribute what they feel is right for them given the total financial picture, and all families will have the opportunity to contribute in other ways than financially through volunteer work throughout the school year.
We hope that our approach to tuition - your financial contribution - allows every child wanting to come to our school to do so, no matter his or her family's financial situation.
* What are the options for registration for the grade school?
You can register for the full 5-day program or choose between or combine any of the following:
- the 3 day main-lesson programming
- the community and arts day
- the farm and nature day
* What are the options for registration for the kindergarten?
You can register from 1 morning per week to 5 full days per week.
* Are you going to launch a financially sound school in the fall of 2018?
Yes, our new school is going ahead, and it will be on financially sound footing. Doug Holt, our treasurer, a certified accountant, is continually working on the budget to make sure we are on sound footing, and we will continue to be open about our finances with our community. We have the financial backing to launch our school.
* Who do I talk to about tuition?
For any questions related to tuition and registration fees, you may contact the us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curriculum and Schedule
* How do I register my child?
Please visit our admissions page and contact us to receive your commitment form.
* What grades do you offer?
We are taking registrations for all grades from 1 to 12. Currently we have students registered in all grades from 1 to 10.
* Do you have a Kindergarten?
Yes, we have a kindergarten program that is run by Yasmeen Osman.
* Are homeschoolers welcome at your school?
Yes, very much so! We offer a flexible program which allows homeschoolers to register anywhere from 1 day a week to 5 days a week of programming.
* Do you offer a pre-school program?
At this point we do not offer a pre-school program. However, we will be working on adding this and other early childhood programs in the future.
* Do you offer a high school program?
We are offering a supporting program for high school students. This program will provide guidance and mentorship, and blocks of Waldorf curriculum throughout the year. At times, we will have our high school students working together with younger students as we believe in the value of the different age groups learning from each other.
For this pilot year, we are not able to complete the necessary inspections to issue credits towards an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Therefore, officially, our high school students will be considered to be homeschooling. Our program will be designed to support the home-based learning. Students wishing to work toward OSSD credits may do so through online courses (e.g., https://www.ilc.org/en-ca/our-students/home-school-non-inspected-private-schools) in conjunction with our program. How many days per week high school students spend with us will depend on individual needs.
* What is your schedule for the week?
Monday: Community Day (includes Nature Art and Eurythmy in the afternoon)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Main Lesson Days with additional subjects such as French, German, Handwork, Music, Movement, Eurythmy, etc.
Friday: Farm/Nature Day (Sept. – Dec. at the Just Food Farm)
* What are the school’s hours of operation?
The school day runs from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Before- and After-Care programs will be provided as needed.
* Are your teachers certified?
We aim for all our teachers to be Waldorf-certified or to have at least a strong background in Waldorf education. All of our teachers must pass a vulnerable service record check. Our teachers are not necessarily Ontario Certified Teachers.
* How many children will be in each class?
We are planning to have up to 20 children per class for the grades, and about 12 (full-time equivalent) children in the kindergarten.
* What is the Farm/Nature Day all about?
Throughout the year, the Farm/Nature Day will offer the children the opportunity to connect deeply with nature. We have the possibility to do a program at a horse farm with our archery teacher, and to work with other farms connected to our community. From September to December, the Farm/Nature Day will take place at the Just Food Farm which is located on a 150 acre farmstead in the Ottawa Greenbelt on the west side of Blackburn Hamlet (2391 Pépin Ct). We are excited to be collaborating with Bryarly McEachern, Field Naturalist and Executive Director of Earth Path, a non-profit organization bringing wilderness awareness to children through a rich, experience-based program. For more information on Earth Path, please visit
Drop-off and pick-up will be at the Just Food Farm.
* What is the Community Day all about?
For the community day, all of the grades and high school students will be together. In the mornings, the program will provide an opportunity for the children to build their own community and then to connect with the community around them, to be “good neighbours to their neighbours”. In the afternoons, the children will engage in creating nature art and also do Eurythmy together.
* What about sexual education?
Sexual education is part of the grade 8 curriculum in a Waldorf School. We do not follow the Ontario sexual education curriculum. If you have further questions about it, please do not hesitate to contact our educational team.
* Do you encourage the children to spend time outdoors and engage in “risky play” (challenging themselves physically, within common-sense boundaries)?
In short: YES! Children need the outdoors and children need movement and to be challenged physically.
* Who do I talk to about the educational programming?
For questions regarding educational programming, please contact a member of the pedagogical committee through the email address WaldorfInOttawa@gmail.com.
* Where is the school located?
The school is located at the Hardini Centre (a former high school building) at 235 Donald Street in the Overbrook neighbourhood. The grade school and high school programs take place in different rooms on the second floor in the west and east wings of the building, the Kindergarten, on the first floor on the east side.
The kindergarten is located on the first floor in the East wing of the building.
* Is the school located in a safe neighbourhood?
Yes. The neighbourhood is safe, and many families live in the area. Donald Street is relatively quiet, and the park surrounding the school is clean and used by families. We feel very confident that the location we have found is a great one for a kindergarten and grade school. At the Hardini Centre, there are other children’s programs as well as several church groups. While the school is surrounded by a parking lot, children do not have to cross traffic to enter the park, and the parking lot is not busy with traffic during the day.
* Why did you decide on the Hardini Centre?
The Hardini Centre offers everything we were looking for: large classrooms, a positive community, green space beside the school, and affordable rent, among others. It is also fairly centrally located, which was a key for us.
* Is there parking at the school?
There is ample free parking at the Hardini Centre.
* What is your mission and vision?
SCHOOL MISSION STATEMENT
We awaken knowledge and creative ability through a rich and multifaceted educational experience. Acting with freedom, our teachers evoke reverence for the world and humanity, and guide our students toward a life lived with purpose as responsive citizens of the world.
SCHOOL VISION STATEMENT
The heart of our community beats with a desire to seek a healthy approach to education for our times. We are committed to Rudolf Steiner's vision of a community where we are equals, free in our realms of activity and truly supporting each other in our striving for social and cultural renewal in the world.
Our school is filled with life, beauty, and openness, allowing each student to reach his or her highest potential as a human being with confidence and integrity.
Together, we strive to resolve financial barriers for families, teachers, and staff. Consciously acknowledging every relationship, we create a community of mutually supportive members, all bringing their own needs and gifts in support of the whole organization.
We foster a community of joyful learning and exploration that gives our students the courage to step into the unknown. To nourish a vibrant inner life, we cultivate artistic expression and the celebration of cultural festivals.
Honouring that all is connected, we awaken a sense of service toward humanity and the world, starting in our neighbourhood.
With respect for and reverence of the natural world, the children experience the gifts of each season and the weather every day.
* What makes your school unique?
While our group Friends of Waldorf Education in Ottawa was working on starting a new school, we spent a great amount of time researching and thinking about key founding principles for our school that would provide a healthy, modern, and sustainable structure to work from. We developed four main principles that distinguish us from many other schools: a governance structure rooted in the three-fold social order, true freedom of the teachers, a commitment to financial affordability, and to become part of a community hub.
More detail about our founding principles.
* How is your school different from other schools in Ottawa?
Our founding principles set us apart from other schools in Ottawa. In particular, our commitment to the freedom of teachers is central to what defines our school. We are offering a rich Waldorf curriculum and do not participate in provincial standardized testing or follow the Ontario curriculum.
Our great task is to develop free human beings that are able to give meaning and direction to their life.
Imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility
- those three forces are the very nerve of education.
- Rudolf Steiner