515 Cougar Ridge Drive S.W.     
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3H 5G9     
Phone: 403-287-1868  |  Fax: 403-287-3414     



Click here for the current issue of Inform from AWSNA

This year we are again looking forward to our annual Winter Concert: on Thursday, December 12th for Classes Two to Six. The teachers and children are busy preparing pieces to share with parents and friends of the school community and they will be performing Eurythmy, singing, instrumental music, folk dances, speech, German recitation, and a short French play. It will be another wonderful opportunity to sample the arts as they are practiced within our classrooms.

As a result of the challenges we face with space and seating restrictions in our Assembly Room, and to ensure that we maximize sight-lines, given that we do not yet have a permanent raised stage, we will be offering two performances on December 12th. The morning performance starting at 11:00 am is intended for extended family and friends, and the evening performance starting at 7:00 pm will be for the parents and siblings of the Grades 2 – 6 children only. We ask for your understanding and your compliance for the sake of everyone's enjoyment of the children's artistic offerings. If there are extenuating circumstances which preclude this guideline being followed, please let your child's Class Teacher know so that the Concert organizing group is made aware.
We ask that no photography or recording devices be used at all during either of the performances.
Please ensure that your child(ren) are festively dressed in comfortable clothes for both performances. No outdoor boots are to be worn and dress shoes are preferred. For Thursday's morning performance, the children may bring their concert attire to school which they will then chane into after morning recess.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Winter Concert Organizing Committee,
Anna Driehuyzen, Annie Jeon, Aina Lordo, Laureen Loree, and Christina Wallace Ockenden

The Dassenberg Waldorf School is situated 40 km north of Cape Town in the Southern Cape Province of South Africa. At the crossroads of great cultural and economic diversity, and founded in the years after apartheid, the Dassenberg Waldorf School arose out of the initiative of parents and local community members who had long carried the ambition to start a Waldorf school in this area. Two years ago, members of our Calgary Waldorf School community generously raised $7,800 for the Dassenberg school through an addition to our Annual Giving campaign that year. Those monies have now been forwarded to the Dassenberg school and will be used there to rebuild damaged and leaking classrooms, to upgrade toilets, to redo all exterior walls, and to clear damaged trees for a safe playground area.

We are now calling on the children of the Calgary Waldorf School to help the children of the Dassenberg Waldorf School by providing them with the funds to buy new playground equipment. The Dassenberg school has about 125 children who all use just two see-saws and one small jungle gym. In particular we want to provide a new jungle gym, proper swings, a climbing frame, a shaded sand pit, and a twister frame. These are what the teachers of the Dassenberg school say are needed most for the children. The total cost for all of these items is about $1,500.

We are challenging each and every child to bring in loonies and toonies during the next few weeks, to put into the special Dassenberg Toonie Drive jar in each classroom. Extra chores around the house or neighbourhood are a great way to use enthusiasm and energy to bring in the coins. We will also have jars in the Kinderwing, the office, and the Faculty Room so that adults who would like to contribute can do so, too. We can easily raise the $1,500 if, all working together, we put into the jars the equivalent of 3 toonies per child in our school! Thanks for helping out.

The Board of Directors of the Calgary Waldorf School met in late-November. One of our major pieces of business was to approve the Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013 – last year's school year.  These financial statements will be presented at the Annual General Meeting in February 2014, but I wanted to inform everyone that the auditors issued an unqualified opinion and commented favourably on our various financial controls which exist at the school.  Many thanks to Dinah Clark, our Financial Administrator, and to Shaad Oosman, our Treasurer!  

And continuing on a financial theme, I wanted to reflect on the public conversations in the media of late surrounding the provincial government's funding of Independent Schools in Alberta.  The issue was revisited recently when the Alberta School Boards Association called on the provincial government to stop providing funds to Independent Schools.  This is also a common request heard from the Alberta Liberals, led on this topic by Calgary MLA Kent Hehr.  The Calgary Herald published an editorial by David Marsden that did an excellent job of explaining the faulty reasoning in this position. 

Funding for schools in Alberta follows the student – the school they attend (based on enrolment on September 30 of any given year) receives the funding.  If this is an Independent School, the school receives 70% of the amount that Public and Separate Schools receive for an instructional grant. For the current year for CWS, this grant amounts to a total of about $ 1,200,000 for our Kindergarten plus Grades 1 – 9 students (following the 13% cut in grants to Independent Schools last Spring). Independent Schools receive NO funding for other school operating costs such as capital (e.g., the building), maintenance or transportation. 

According to the calculations from the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta (AISCA, of which the Calgary Waldorf School is a member), the average Independent School receives from the government about 35 to 40 cents for every dollar that is received by Public/Separate/Charter schools, once all costs are considered.  And the parents of children at Independent Schools – YOU and ME! – are still paying the same taxes towards education.  The final step in this argument is that if any student now in an Independent School were to switch to the Public/Separate/Charter system, this would cost the Alberta government 100% of the cost for schooling each child, rather than the 35 to 40% now being funded.  The remainder of the funding is being paid for by parents who wish their children to have a specialized education, parents like you and me who pay tuition in addition to taxes (property taxes and provincial income taxes). 

Thank you to everyone who responded to the Calgary Herald on-line survey.  I just looked at the survey results, and support for continued government funding of Independent Schools is currently showing at just over 35%.  I have no doubt that this issue will continue to be discussed in the media in the future and so I wanted to provide you with some facts.   I would also like to remind you that it is again Annual Giving time at our school.  We all pay tuition for our children's specialized education, but Annual Giving is an opportunity to show your appreciation to your teachers and your community for this wonderful school (and get a tax credit receipt!).  The funds received for Annual Giving help support our Tuition Assistance Program which assists approximately 45 students every year to receive a Waldorf education.  In addition to diversifying and enriching our student community, these students who may otherwise not be able to attend our school help to fill our classrooms and trigger the provincial per-student instructional grant to help pay our generally fixed costs of running each class, contributing to the overall financial health of our school.  Please donate to Annual Giving today, pick up your "Thank You" paperwhite bulbs in the office, and say "Our Family Gives"!  

Carri Clarke,
President, Board of Directors

To all the amazing, hard-working Waldorf families out there, many thanks for the delicious soups, chilies, sandwiches, and baked goods that came our way for the café at The Faire. Every year, I am amazed at the generosity and care that goes into these donations. Some of you may have been disappointed that your soup or lovingly homemade cake did not make it to the serving line throughout the day, but know that there was virtually no waste as pretty much everything got sold, and helped to make our Faire successful.

I also want to thank our volunteers in the kitchen. So many of you are such high energy, hard-working individuals, and many of you have been coming back to the same shifts year after year, so thank you! Extra thanks go out to Gerry Schlosser for taking on an extra shift when we were short on dishwashers! Everything ran smoothly thanks to all of you!

Hope to see you in the kitchen again next year.
The Kitchen and Café Coordinators

I would like to extend my gratitude to all the hard-working Coordinators who made this year's Faire possible. The work for some begins early in the Fall with preparations for their activities. Friday and Saturday are without a doubt long days for all, setting up, preparing for, and ensuring the smooth functioning of all activities of The Faire.

I would like to thank:
  • Monique Dietrich, our Entertainment Coordinator, for organizing the wonderful entertainment on the stage in the Assembly Room at The Faire.
  • Our hard-working Kitchen and Café Coordinators were Jasmin Auck and Ryan Kirkpatrick in the kitchen and Tanya Korenda at the bake table. The café is a busy place!

  • Children's Activities:
  • Tessa Partridge in Apple Rings: almost 400 happy children, peeling, coring and slicing apples.
  • Howard and Annie Voss-Altman in the Story Garden: 5 scheduled stories were told, delighting over 160 listeners.
  • Tietje Kirkpatrick and Riki Winkler in Candle Decorating: over 600 candles decorated this year, so that is a lot of wax slicing.
  • Angela Ulrich for Popcorn: 600 bags served!
  • Karen Fjestad, Kari Schweigert and Naomi Ichii in the Wishing Well: 566 children fished little treasures out of the wishing well.
  • Linda Nesset in the Nature Garden: over 300 nature gardens created.
  • Glenda Koppe and Tanya Massey in the Children-Only Store: impossible to count how many children enjoyed the "Children-Only" shopping experience in the store, but a whopping 9271 tickets were collected!
  • Colleen Falkenberg and Luka Symons in the Magic Cookie House: over 650 children had the opportunity to enjoy the Magic thanks to all the cookie-bakers.
  • Scott Hutchison at Fireside Hockey: lots of fun was had out there all day and over 200 cups of hot chocolate enjoyed.
Behind the scenes:
Beginning in the Spring we had, new in the role of Artisan Coordinator, Brandie Cormier lining up fabulous artisans who exhibited this year at our Faire.

All day at The Faire and into the evening we have our dedicated Banking Coordinators, Carolyn Myers, Cate Higgins and Tara Floucault, keeping an eye on every bit of money and ensuring all is tracked and recorded and balanced.

Kim Kemper was in charge of the decorating team again this year and Todd Hunter, for too many years to count, was in charge in the set-up and take-down department.

In The Pixie Hut we had Avril Whitney and Glynis Baker, and in Pixie Hut Books, Kathy Wise and Shannon Parry, coordinating things not only for The Faire but all year long as well.

In addition to the 25 or so Coordinators, there are of course all the volunteers who filled the remaining 175 volunteer shifts that are necessary to run The Faire. Thank you all!

My heart-felt appreciation for William Hayes (whose "battery" never seems to run out) for being there and powering through the never-ending to-do list. And of course, thank you to my Admin colleagues Cathie, Dinah and Shannon who I can count on to tend to the Faire details on their own to-do lists.

Thank you all!
With gratitude, Sandra Langlois

"Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings
who are able, in and of themselves,
to impart purpose, direction, and meaning to their lives."

— Rudolf Steiner


The smell of pancakes, syrup, sausages and coffee greeted me warmly as I arrived at the kick-off for our Annual Giving Campaign this year – the Pancake Breakfast last Friday morning. By 7:30 am, there was a line-up at the ticket booth and tables were filling up with students and parents eager to reconnect and enjoy a warm breakfast in the company of community. The Fund Enrichment Committee was thrilled to see the Assembly Room full and buzzing with enthusiasm and support for our school's biggest fundraiser, the Annual Giving Campaign. In all, 220 breakfasts were sold, raising more than $900 to start our campaign off on the right foot. THANK YOU FOR COMING! It is encouraging to think that if all the families who attended our Pancake Breakfast also make a donation to this year's campaign, we will surpass last year's Annual Giving participation rate of 50%. Our goal this year is 100% participation. Be inspired and help make this happen!

This community breakfast would not have been possible without the help of a very generous Grade Nine Class of 21 students, led by their teacher Christina MacWilliam, who ALL jumped at the opportunity to provide this service to our school and never wavered. Class Nine parents Tom, Coleen, Brian, Rob, and Igo helped out greatly as well, and William Hayes pitched in without question as he usually does. Thank you, one and all. And we want to give extra special thanks to Coleen for her planning, shopping, cooking, supervising, setting-up, cleaning-up – in fact, for doing pretty much everything that had to happen before, during and after to ensure the success of the Pancake Breakfast – and to Tom, who was our chief dishwasher – because 220 breakfasts generate a lot of dirty dishes! Our deepest thanks to all of you who worked on the event – thank you for your energy and commitment to this school. You inspire us!

Susan Dunn,
on behalf of the Fund Enrichment Committee

If you attended last Friday's Pancake Breakfast, as at least 220 members of our school community did, you would have noticed that the whole event, from cooking to cleaning and everything in between, was being carried out by our Grade Nine students. How was it that a class of twenty-one 14 and 15 year olds, with a bit of support from several parents and their Class Teacher, could work so well together for almost two hours early in the morning, in order to serve 220 hot breakfasts in the span of about 45 minutes? Hopefully, my answer will lead all of you in our CWS community to donate to this year's Annual Giving Campaign!

Unlike many current educational trends, Waldorf Education looks below the surface and addresses so much more than "measurable outcomes". Over eight years ago, when I was their Grade One Class Teacher, I was helping many of the same students who cooked your breakfast last Friday to learn to tie their shoe laces, push in their chairs under their desks, and stick with difficult work – things not measured by the Fraser Institute.

When going outside at recess, day after day after day, to lovingly "invite" a student back inside to push in her chair or put away his placemat was about much more then classroom aesthetics. The building of healthy habits is a gift that keeps on giving. Encouraging a student who is in tears to keep working to finish the next row of knitting rather than letting her/him just give up was not so much about the finished "project" but about the strengthening of the will – the will required to get up at 6:00 or 6:30 am to come to school to flip pancakes. Spending hours helping students work out social difficulties without resorting to calling them "bullying" or some grave trouble has resulted in a community capable of working together.

Waldorf Education is not perfect and I, as a Class Teacher, am FAR from perfect, but the intention of educating "citizens of the world" who will take up the challenges of their time, seems to me to be a goal worthy of supporting and working towards.

Last Friday morning at the Pancake Breakfast our Grade Nine students exemplified what it means to be part of a community. It means everyone showing up, pitching in, working together to create something worthwhile, and realizing that all efforts contribute to the success of any venture. I know that I am biased, but I think that these young people have set the bar high for the adults in the CWS community. They gave 100% participation and effort, and now so can we. Please participate in this year's Annual Giving – we're all in this together!

Christina MacWilliam,
Grade 9 Class Teacher

This Week's Inspiring Facts: Did You Know. . . . ?
"Boredom is often the precursor to creativity. Think of a bridge between 'doing nothing' and deep creative play…. The bridge is almost always paved with [the frustration of] boredom. 'I'm bored.' Now that is when something interesting usually happens."
— Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting
I AM INSPIRED by the infectious CREATIVE SPIRIT of Waldorf Education. Having not been raised in a Waldorf community, this concept did not materialize in my mind until well into my parenthood. Our first child, Eden, had already benefited from several years in a Waldorf Early Childhood program. I was intrigued, but it had not fully sunk in as to why I was so drawn to Waldorf. My wife and I, searching for a Preschool opening for our son Isaac, came across a Lifeways program via several recommendations from Waldorf parents and faculty.

Upon touring this program, we entered a lush backyard garden in a San Diego home setting. The yard was simple yet beautiful, amazingly quiet and peaceful, with rows of vegetables and flowers, crude wooden toys, swings, and sand boxes. The first child I saw was sitting on a hay bale, sucking on a palm-sized polished rock. Now, you can imagine how the unsuspecting parent wishing to pursue structured academia for their children through a traditional Preschool may react to that sight and think: "I'm going to pay thousands of dollars for my child to sit in the dirt with nothing to do but suck on rocks!" But I knew better, and it clicked for me, when this young boy, enthusiastic, confident, and unabashed, came up to me and declared he was running a popsicle store, and that he had a lemon-flavored popsicle. Simply awesome!

Not long after Isaac was enrolled, I came to pick him up after my work day. Entering the yard I quietly observed what he was up to. He was crouched in the garden, with a collection of sticks and rocks assembled in some fashion. A path had been carved with a finger through the dirt. As any little boy, Isaac gets excited over trains, planes, and trucks. I said hello, and he began describing the scene before him. Some rocks were dump trucks, driving along a road. Sticks had been laid on end, and had become a steam locomotive. And there was an erupting volcano with hot lava in the middle of it all (of course!). It was all entirely in his mind, magically created out of a seemingly plain situation, and all his own, emerging from a "gift of boredom." It brought tears to my eyes, because I recognized that Waldorf is different for a reason. Waldorf inspires creativity by giving children freedom and a blank canvas, and then it instills tools of ingenuity, independent discovery, imagination, resourcefulness, confidence and passion, all in a real, natural, and wholesome environment surrounded by caring and well-trained faculty. It is a growing movement from which our society at large can learn, but it cannot gain traction without the support of its community.

Please search deeply for what inspires you, and provide support for our wonderful school. Take a hard look at the donation form, and consider what you can give, knowing that anything will help this year's Annual Giving goal. Please help us achieve 100% participation, and help CWS continue to grow in our community as a beacon for inspired and creative learning.

Matthew Good
(Member of the Fund Enrichment Committee) Father to Eden (Grade 1), Isaac (Sunflower Preschool), and Molly (aspiring Waldorf student)

This Week's Inspiring Facts: Did You Know. . . . ?

My journey with the Calgary Waldorf School began when my two daughters were students in the old school building. In 1989, I started teaching when there were only four Grade School classes. Looking back, I can say that the CWS has become my second home, but not only that: as a parent, teacher, and colleague I was allowed to grow as a human being. Every day when I go to school, I know that I will learn something new, that I will get excited because of a conversation with my colleagues or through my interactions with the children. The school as an organization takes very good care of us. The working environment is inspiring and it instills a love for life and learning for everybody.

Sabine Kalkreuth,
Grades One to Nine German Teacher and CWS Alumni Parent
How will you be inspired to give?
Thanks for making your donation to our Annual Giving Campaign today.
— From the Fund Enrichment Committee

Inspiring Facts: Did You Know. . . . ?
  • Last March 2013, Alberta Education permanently eliminated nearly 13% of the instructional grants it gives to Independent Schools in the province.
  • This translated into a $155,000 decrease in annual government funding for our school.
  • Our CWS teachers, staff, and Board all worked together last Spring to find where to cut this amount from our current 2013-14 Budget, in order to make up for the shortfall in Provincial funding.
  • About 87% of the cuts we ended up making were thought of, offered, recommended, and chosen by (and had a direct impact on) our teachers and staff – including a salary freeze for everyone, plus a number of small-to-medium changes to specific teaching assignments – all of which added up to about $135,000 of the $155,000 we had to cut from our Budget.
This is just one practical example of how our teachers and staff are inspired every day in our school.
How will you be inspired to give?
Thanks for making your donation to our Annual Giving Campaign today.

— From the Fund Enrichment Committee

Inspiring Facts: Did You Know. . . . ?

Your donation to Annual Giving generates a tax credit receipt for you.
This means that the actual cost to you is 50-60% of the amount you donate, once your tax credit is applied – if your total donations to charities during the year is more than $200.

Alberta's tax credit on charitable donations over the first $200 is now at 21% – one of the highest tax credits in Canada. When added to the federal tax credit of 29% for donations over the first $200, Albertans receive a 50% total tax credit on those donations.

Note that the first $200 in charitable donations continues to receive an Alberta tax credit of 10% plus a federal tax credit of 15%.

The figures in the table below show you how your tax credit could work.

Remember, in looking at the figures, that the 50% tax credit applies to your total annual donations over $200. The first $200 you donate earns you a lower tax credit (10% provincial plus 15% federal).

The amount of your tax credit depends on the total value of your personal donations to charitable organizations during the year. To optimize your tax credit, donate more!

Making Your Charitable Donations Work Harder
Total Annual Donations Alberta Tax Credit Federal Tax Credit Total Tax Credit Your Out-of-Pocket Cost
$500 $83 $117 $200 $300
$1,000 $188 $262 $450 $550
$2,000 $398 $552 $950 $1,050
$5,000 $1,028 $1,422 $2,450 $2,550
[These figures apply to Alberta taxpayers only.]

This is one more practical example of what might inspire someone to made a donation to Annual Giving. How will you be inspired to give? Thanks for making your donation to our Annual Giving Campaign today.
— From the Fund Enrichment Committee

Yet More Inspiring Facts: Did You Know. . . . ?

We have a new 1½ minute video about where we can find inspiration in our school.

Please click here to watch it at youtube.

It stars a number of CWS parents and was created, directed, filmed, and edited by CWS parent and documentary film-maker, Matt Palmer, with original music by CWS parent and composer Mike Shields. Thank you, Matt, Mike, and all the mums and dads who were happy to be filmed!

How will you be inspired to give?
Thanks for making your donation to our Annual Giving Campaign today.
— From the Fund Enrichment Committee