Celebrating our 16th year, Squamish Waldorf School continues to strive to instil in our students a strong sense of community, a true enthusiasm for learning, and a deep reverence for nature. The Kindergarten curriculum has students outside exploring for the majority of their day, every day. We’ve expanded our campus to better accommodate our Early Childhood Program, added raised garden beds to support more science and gardening learning experiences, and this year, we begin fund raising for a new school location. There is much that has grown in our 16 years as a school and so much more to come!
– Christine Martin, School Administrator
Class 3–4 Teacher, Principal & Pedagogical Administrator
I was raised in Montreal and Toronto and attended University of Western Ontario, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in human relations and social organizations, and psychology in 1988 with honours. After 16 months travelling and working in South Pacific, Asia and Europe, I began a career with Warner-Lambert in Vancouver. I met my husband James and we had two daughters, Mikayla and Shondra.
While I was home with the girls, I read about Waldorf education and became very inspired. In 2000, I joined a small group of parents to create our dream of a Waldorf school in Squamish. That fall, I enrolled in the Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher training program through the West Coast Institute of Anthroposophy and subsequently received my independent school teaching certificate from the Ministry of Education. Morning Star Kindergarten was opened in 2002 and the school has grown every year since. When I am not doing school work I love to spend time with family, ski and mountain bike.
Teacher, Morningstar Kindergarten
I was born and raised in Mexico City with my three brothers by two amazing and dedicated parents. As a child I loved sports and spending time outdoors just watching nature unfold. From a very young age, I enjoyed spending time with younger children in my community and was always amazed at how much there is to learn from them. I knew I wanted to somehow work with children. I studied Dentistry from 1990-1995 with the intention of becoming a pediatric dentist but instead I started my journey as a mom. I have three beautiful daughters, Natalia, Irene and Marina, who have filled my life with joy and for which I am so grateful.
After living in a city for many years, my husband and I decided we wanted to raise our children in a more peaceful environment, so we moved to Playa del Carmen, where we lived by the sunny shores of the Mexican Caribbean for almost nine years. Living there, I discovered Waldorf Education and was relieved to know that my children were having an extension of our home and our values while they were in school.
In 2010, we came to Canada for one year to experience a new country and seek out a better place to raise our children. We fell in love with Canada and with Squamish. We found Squamish Waldorf School to be a place where we and our children felt at home right away. Longing to understand and learn more about Waldorf Education, I enrolled the Early Childhood Teacher Training with the West Coast Institute which I completed in February 2012. I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful team here at SWS and I feel honoured and blessed to be able to spend time and learn something new every day from the best teachers in the world – children.
Teacher, Rainbow Preschool
I grew up in the foothills of the Austrian Alps and spent my childhood roaming the forests with my two brothers. My parents were practical people; they built their own home and grew much of their own food. My father made most of our furniture and my mother sewed identical clothes for us children. This way of life still influences me and I find myself recreating it by having a vegetable garden, making preserves and knitting socks for my friends.
My destiny brought me to Vancouver after I graduated from high school, and my love for the mountains brought me to Squamish. Throughout my 25-year career in early childhood, I have worked with children in manifold ways: as a pre-school teacher, special needs worker, and in a Montessori school. I have continuously furthered my education, receiving my Early Childhood Certificate in 1991 and Special Needs Diploma in 1995.
Through my own two daughters, I discovered Squamish Waldorf School in 2002, when the school was in its inception. With much enthusiasm and lots of help I headed the pre-school and parent/child programs. Longing to learn more, I enrolled in the Early Childhood Waldorf Teacher Training which I completed in 2006. Thereafter, I trained to become a remedial teacher and worked with grade school children as well as teaching pre-school for many years.
In 2014, I was approached by WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) to become the regional representative for Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers in B.C.. This work has been enriching as well as engaging. I became an assistant teacher with the faculty at the West Coast Institute for Anthroposophy in 2016 and hope to continue my quest to learn and share my enthusiasm for Waldorf education with upcoming teachers. My passion however, will always be with the little ones, who have so much to teach me.
I have been playing violin for over 25 years and have spent the last decade teaching violin and piano to children and adults of all ages. I draw from several methods of teaching to provide a complete course of study including proper technique, ear training, note reading and improvising. Choosing repertoire that inspires my students is very important to me so I draw from classical, European and North American Fiddle, Jazz, and Popular repertoire.
I grew up on Vancouver Island and completed a violin diploma from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor’s Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Victoria. While living in St. John’s I was fortunate to play with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and a touring Klezmer band among many other opportunities. After teaching in Vancouver for four years my husband and I moved to Squamish for the mountains. I currently teach at my home studio in Squamish, OMusic in Vancouver, and the SWS.
Teacher, Class 1–2
I was born in a little village in East Germany. For 10 years I lived in Berlin by a river where we had our own dock and I became a passionate fisherman. I started competitive rowing at the age of 13. During my rowing career I was the GDR champion several times and also a member of the extended Olympic rowing team for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. After high school I studied sport pedagogy and became a rowing coach. Getting into competitive sports was the only way to travel to western countries as East Germany was a communist country. I became a successful rowing coach and my sportsmen and women won medals at World Championships and Olympic Games.
After the reunification of East and West Germany, Waldorf schools in the east shot out of the ground like mushrooms. I lived in Magdeburg, a town with 300,000. Friends of mine started a Waldorf School and asked me to become a teacher. I quit my rowing job and returned to school. I studied at several universities, and also travelled to England every summer for about 10 years and took extra courses in speech formation, drama, clowning, English literature, and grammar. I taught in Magdeburg, a school with 350 students and 30 teachers, for 16 years. I always wanted to improve my English and spend time in another country, so I applied for a sabbatical and came to Canada in 2005. I worked for one year in the Okanagan Valley before I moved to Squamish.
Teacher, Huckleberry Kindergarten
I was born and raised in a small town in Southwestern Ontario. Growing up, my family travelled across Canada, hiking and camping each summer. After making several trips West, I have decided to make it my home while pursuing my passion in education. I enjoy running, snowboarding, hiking, surfing, and the many other recreational opportunities that Squamish and the surrounding areas have to offer.
I first read about Waldorf schools while researching whole child education, which best suits my educational philosophy. I immediately set my sights on becoming a Waldorf teacher. I am thrilled to be taking steps towards my long-term goal while contributing as an active member in the Squamish Waldorf community. I have spent the past few years studying communications and religion at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., and have also recently graduated from Teacher’s College at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. I am delighted to continue my journey of life-long learning as I assist in the SWS kindergarten.
Special Education Assistant
I grew up in Luzern, Switzerland with my parents and brother. After graduating from kindergarten teacher school, I worked in the field in my home town for about 10 years. At this point, I felt it was time for a change and sought new challenges and adventures. My journey brought me to Vancouver where I met my husband and where our two children Eva and Jonas were born.
We moved to beautiful Squamish four years later and were able to find the Squamish Waldorf School where Jonas started pre-school. It couldn’t have been a better fit for our children and for us. Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, the enthusiastic teachers and wonderful staff made us feel at home right away. It was exactly the school we were looking for. To be able to work as a special education assistant at SWS is an amazing opportunity for me to learn from the seasoned teachers here and to share my own experience from teaching in Europe.
Elise Perreault LaRiviere
Special Education Assistant
Elise Perreault-Lariviere has been working as an educational assistant at Squamish Waldorf School since 2015. She grew up in small town Québec and comes from a family of caring and committed individuals – her dad was an early childhood educator and her mom was a special needs educator. Her family also provided respite foster care.
At the age of 16, Elise began working in camps for special needs children, and daycare at 18. Since then she’s had a wide range of career experiences after receiving her diploma in corporeal mime as well as two years of post graduate teaching and directing in London, England. Elise has lived in Germany, Finland, Yukon, England and Poland, and loves travelling. She has a passion for languages and is multilingual.
She has worked in public education and has been an early childhood assistant in a Montessori program. Her wide breadth of knowledge for different learning modalities and pedagogies makes her an invaluable asset to the faculty at SWS.
“I have a fascination with human beings – what makes us who we are and how we behave. This has inspired my passion for theatre, anthropology, history, literature, and philosophy which I studied in university,” she explains. “I chose experience over theory with corporeal mime, a branch of physical theatre that demonstrates how to represent the different folds of a human being through the body’s expression.”
Elise says it was through observing her own children that she was brought to Waldorf education.
“There is so much that resonates with my values in Waldorf. It embraces the whole of the human being – head, heart, and hands – and there is recognition of the many different types of intelligence. I also see connecting with the natural world, the integration of oral storytelling, handwork, and art as an integral part of the education.
“And I love the strong connection I am able to establish with the children; it is one of my favourite aspects of my work. I am fascinated with understanding how they learn and think, and then develop tools with them to help them achieve their full potential, removing barriers that can get in their way. I love that I am learning new things every day from the children and from my colleagues.”
Teacher, Class 5–6
I was born and raised in beautiful Freiburg, Germany – the gateway to the Black Forest. I started to travel across southern Europe as a teenager, and decided to earn money and travel around the world before starting university.
This took me to New York and throughout North America where I met my now ex-wife in San Francisco. She was a former Waldorf pupil and during a visit with her grandmother in Sacramento we visited the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. I was immediately deeply intrigued by everything I saw and decided then and there to join their orientation year. I am one of those, of whom it is said, became a Waldorf teacher because I was not lucky enough to have been a Waldorf student myself.
I finished my teacher training at Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, NY and was then hired by the Spring Valley Waldorf School to teach handwork and to coach varsity soccer and volleyball as well as junior varsity basketball. During my eight years of teaching I completed a bachelor of science in business studies at the State University of New York and then worked for 10 years as a business manager in the pharmaceutical industry.
During that time I also became the lucky father of Leah and Jason. After living for over 20 years outside of New York, I became the Class 1 teacher at the Nelson Waldorf School in British Columbia. I taught there for six years and I am now very fortunate to be a class teacher to the wonderful children at the Squamish Waldorf School.
Teacher, Sunflower Preschool
We moved to Squamish in 1996 and are now empty-nesters. Our girls, Norma and Johanna, are grown women now out on their own. I’ve always loved the recreational opportunities in Squamish and enjoy mountain biking and climbing, as well as volunteering at many of the bike races that take place here.
I’m an experienced early childhood educator with many years experience, including my own family daycare in which I see many similarities to the Waldorf pre-school. I feel we all have a share in the raising of our children. I look forward to deepening my understanding of Waldorf and really appreciate the warmth of the community here at SWS.
I am thankful to once again be teaching at a Waldorf School after teaching art and grade school for several years in the public system. In the past I co-taught in the kindergarten at the Whistler Waldorf School. I have also taught at the North Vancouver Waldorf School as the practical arts teacher for Grades 2-12, as well as teaching studio art classes to the high school. Having graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and currently developing my home art and ceramic studio, I look forward to further involvement in the Squamish Arts Community. I am so grateful to be working at Squamish Waldorf School and glad my children are a part of this school and the Squamish Waldorf Community!
Born the second of five in a large extended family, children have always been a big part of my life. I graduated from SFU with a degree in music composition, and then continued on in the non-profit arts sector where I discovered my passion for community organizations. I worked as operations manager for Vancouver’s Western Front Society and co-founded a non-profit arts production company. With the start of my family, I shifted to teaching early childhood music and movement.
I still remember my excitement when I learned that Squamish had a Waldorf school. We enrolled our then three-year-old in preschool, and so began this journey — an education for life for the whole family. Learning to be more present with each other and awake to the wonder of the world transformed our family life and made me eager to learn more. I joined the faculty as Secretary in 2008 and became Business Administrator in 2012. I have seen first hand the many fruits of this education and have had the great pleasure of seeing students mature into dynamic and engaged young people. My lifelong learning has continued with the study of Waldorf music education in 2013. In 2015 I enrolled in Leading with Spirit, a certificate program for Waldorf Administrators. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time in nature, song writing, hand crafts and delving deeply into whatever life offers.
Marketing & Communications
I am a mother of two and feel blessed to be part of the community at SWS and to be able to contribute to the health and growth of my children’s school since 2007. In this time I have had the privilege of sitting on the board of directors, providing parent education, assisting with the Parent Initiative Council and doing much of the school’s marketing, communications and outreach.
I spent most of my career working in journalism and communications, primarily in arts and entertainment. I write a column on parenting for the local newspaper The Chief, and am a freelance writer, editor and graphic designer.
Shannon joined SWS in 2016 after working primarily as a web designer, supplementing that as raw food chef, for 15 years. She is mom to Ella and thrilled to be working in the school environment and directly with the children on a day-to-day basis.
“I am inspired by the warmth, compassion, talents and dedication of the staff at Squamish Waldorf. I feel privileged to be working alongside this wonderful group people and excited to be surrounded by all of the children,” she said, adding she couldn’t envision a more beautiful education for her daughter having first come across Waldorf through the Lifeways daycare program her daughter was a part of when she was quite young.
“The first thing that inspired me early on was the rhythm and the loving, nurturing environment created around my daughter Ella and the children. As Ella moves through the early grades, I feel she is protected by the unhurried way of learning that encourages her creative expression and fosters her imagination.”