A healthy social life arises when the whole community finds its reflection in the mirror of a person’s soul, and when the virtue of each person lives in the whole community.
It’s been awhile. We feel the time is ripe for us to reconnect. So much has happened!
In order to know where Blue Oak Community is going we want to share with you where we’ve been. Here is a note on the progress of Blue Oak School.
As a result of concern about the impact of full day kindergarten in the public schools, the child care modernization act and possible withdrawal of municipal support, the Board of the Westdale Children’s School (WCS) decided to hold a meeting with staff, parents, community members and other interested persons to brainstorm about possible directions for the school. The result of this and many subsequent meetings was the formation of Blue Oak School. (See appendix for the history of Blue Oak School.)
In Blue Oak School’s 2-year pilot study, Lynn began teaching William in September 2015 and continues teaching him weekday mornings. During the 2nd year of the pilot study she added an afternoon program consisting of a family of homeschoolers twice a week, and a homeschooling crafts and conversation group meeting once a week.
Lynn has developed a teaching style that incorporates her experience with Waldorf education as developed by Rudolf Steiner with inspiration coming from Paulo Freire’s work “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. Freire believed that students and teachers should work together to co-create the curriculum. Lynn has found that this method generates enthusiasm because the students feel invested in what they are studying. The teacher’s task is to re-present ideas back to the students, facilitate and provide minimal but needed structure. Lynn realized that learning ideally happens in small groups, for example, no more than 8 in the primary group. She also believes that children do not develop at the same pace and therefore should not be placed into learning groups with narrowly defined age ranges. Instead, children should be grouped according to their developmental stage and moved into the next group when they are ready.
Here are some of Blue Oak Board activities since September 2015:
• Incorporation as a non- profit Canadian corporation
• Facebook site and email address
• Fundraising/marketing events: Kim John Payne lecture, WCS Merryberry Market, WCS Mayfair, Dundas Cactus Festival, photo in SNAP newspaper, Fall Harvest Pie Fundraiser, Christmas Candle and Coal Sales
• Policies manual, by-laws and operations manual
• Set up bank account at First Ontario Credit Union
• Preparing to register as a private school with Ministry of Education, September 2018
Blue Oak is one of the names for a species of oak tree common in our urban environment. Also known as the burl oak, these giant beings improve our air quality while providing a habitat for squirrels, birds and insects, as well as shade for humans! The Blue Oak Community sees itself as providing a place for everyone interested in improving our habitat and is, in essence, Community Supported Education! Individuals and families can donate time, space, materials (including money), as well as expertise and knowledge. People can help in the garden, do repairs around the school, teach classes to adults or talk to students. They can help with operations, attend meetings or participate in festivals, lectures, workshops or other events.
Community support means that parents don’t have to foot all the bills for their children’s education. As community support grows, tuition will decline. In the short term however, we will keep tuition as low as possible.
The next steps are to increase enrollment to at least 5 students so that we can register as a private school with the Ministry of Education, find a new location close to natural spaces, and begin holding community events. Finding teachers to join our community will also be an important step and we hope to operate the school as a teacher cooperative. However the most vital step is to increase the size of Blue Oak Community.
That’s where you come in! Stay tuned for our next open house announcement.