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
Teacher, Grades 4-5 & 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 Pre-school
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.
Teacher, Huckleberry Kindergarten
Originally from Ontario, I moved west in 2008 to ski the mountains of British Columbia. I managed to find my permanent home in Whistler, and have enjoyed the many opportunities in recreation, lifestyle, and social service work within my sSea to Sky home. I studied at the University of Waterloo and graduated with Honours in Therapeutic Recreation. I studied emotional, physiological, cognitive, and physical diseases and disorders and how to restore health and well being through recreational activities.
My journey into teaching began in 2006 when I traveled to London, England and worked as a special needs one-on-one assistant in a kindergarten class. I worked with children from broken homes, and underprivileged backgrounds. Working in such an environment, I soon realized that the relationships, the love and bonds that I created would be a part of me forever.
I was introduced to Waldorf Education in 2014 when I was hired as a special needs assistant at the Whistler Waldorf School, working in a pre-school class and kindergarten class. Immediately, I realized the beauty of creative education and that I wanted to devote my energy in a setting that promoted so many of my values and beliefs.
I completed the Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto and received my Waldorf teacher training in the full-time program at the Rudolf Steiner Centre this past May 2017. Through the spiritual philosophy of education behind Waldorf schools, I have developed a deeper appreciation for freedom. I believe that this sense of freedom in education, especially where future generations are concerned, will help in making this world a better place.
I am very active and enjoy yoga, skiing, biking and dance. I also have a love for singing, the guitar and recorder. I volunteered with “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” in New Zealand, where I was introduced to bio dynamic farming which continues to be a part of my life.
Through the unique Waldorf philosophy, I am committed to teaching children through life’s lessons, am devoted to guiding children in their own educational and personal growth.
Teacher, Grades 2-3
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.
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, French Teacher
I grew up in small town Québec and come from a family of caring and committed individuals – my dad was an early childhood educator and my mom was a special needs educator. My family also provided respite foster care.
At the age of 16, I began working in camps for special needs children, and daycare at 18. Since then I’ve had a wide range of career experiences after receiving a diploma in corporeal mime as well as two years of post graduate teaching and directing in London, England. I’ve lived in Germany, Finland, Yukon, England and Poland, and love travelling. I am passionate about languages and am multilingual.
I have a background in public education and have been an early childhood assistant in a Montessori program. My wide breadth of knowledge for different learning modalities and pedagogies bring a diverse skill set to the faculty at SWS, where I’ve worked as an educational assistant since 2015.
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. 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.
It was through observing my own children that brought me 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, Grade 1
Ms burns comes to us with more than 25 years of experience teaching, coaching, and program development. For the past 12 years, she taught at the Vancouver Waldorf (VWS) High School in mathematics, life sciences, movement, and outdoor education.
For the past five years, karin has lived in Squamish with her partner Myles and young family (Lily is two, and four-year-old Rosie will be joining kindergarten in the fall). She says she is excited to change her focus to teaching the younger years – and is looking forward to a shorter commute!
As a VWS teacher, Ms burns was very active, acting as faculty chair of the high school for several years, and regularly participating in numerous committees.
Ms burns has the intelligence, flexibility, creativity, interpersonal skills, and passion to be an inspiring grades teacher and we are thrilled to welcome her to our faculty.
Teacher, Grades 6-7
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 Pre-school
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.
I joined SWS in 2016 after working primarily as a web designer, supplementing that as raw food chef, for 15 years. I am 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. I couldn’t envision a more beautiful education for my daughter, having first encountered Waldorf through the Lifeways daycare program Ella 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.
Marketing Communications Lead
I’ve been a marketing specialist, graphic designer and entrepreneur in the tourism, action sports and real estate industries for 18 years. I cut my teeth in the advertising business circa 1992 as an agency copy writer in Waterloo, Ontario, where I had recently completed a co-op term as part of my master’s degree in english at UW.
A love of the mountains and a chance at a new career path led me to Whistler, BC in 1995, where I became a freelance graphic designer, then senior designer in Whistler Blackcomb’s in-house marketing department. In 2003, I started my own freelance marketing collective and have been instrumental in establishing the brands of global mountain bike events, and arts and culture festivals, both as communications strategist and brand builder.
Contributing to initiatives close to home, I currently serve on the board of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association, the Squamish Arts Council and am a marketing advisor for Howe Sound Women’s Centre.
My first introduction to the Waldorf community was mostly accidental, when I was looking for a conveniently-located pre-school for my son. Though I knew little about Waldorf, I was enchanted by the nurturing environment, and the smell of freshly-baked bread when I picked him up at the end of the day! Seeing my son thrive at SWS brings me so much joy, and being part of this community has been a wellspring of inspiration and support for me as a parent. It is an honour to be part of a team that holds children in reverence, guides them in love and encourages their individuality.