A Short History of Blue Oak School
Blue Oak School’s roots trace to a series of community visioning meetings held in early 2015 at the Westdale Children’s School. The first of these, convened on January 17th, and facilitated by Diana Paprica and Lynn Aitken, was attended by about twenty-five people, and focused on identifying the means - financial, locational, and marketing wise – for expanding the Kindergarten to include the initial grades and new programs and services like a Homeschooling Group. The meeting would also focus on how the school could be strengthened ahead of the proposed expansion by adding new Board Members, organizing broad community building activities and collaborating with like-minded initiatives.
Following the January 17th meeting, three additional sessions were scheduled for February 21st, March 21st and April 18th. Despite bad weather, the February meeting was well attended, its participants producing initiative Mission, Vision and Core Values statements. A wide range of key themes were identified, some concrete, others broadly qualitative, including: “family-focused,” “simplicity,” “a school that children love,” “an accessible community of equals that respects differences,” and “Anthroposophy.”
Participants at the working group based March meeting would articulate the following:
Mission Statement: Our school is an accessible, environmentally sustainable, Anthroposophy-based community of learners, consisting of free individuals, of all ages, who celebrate each other’s unique qualities, and learn from each other’s contributions.
Vision Statement: A growing community of learners of all ages, with roots in Anthroposophy, and strong ties to a larger community of like-minded, mutually supporting organizations, our school is environmentally sustainable and welcomes all who desire to be a part of it, engaging each through transparent, respectful, critical thinking based decision-making processes. To reflect the insights and wishes of the whole community, important school decisions are made by consensus.
Our Core Values
Our school believes in the importance of holistic learning, including the arts, studies of humanity, and explorations of the natural world. It also holds that all individuals - regardless of their age, gender, race, or socio-economic status – possess equality rights, qualities important to our community, and a capacity for learning from and teaching one another. All are welcome: one and all.
We celebrate the unique qualities of individuals in our community, and honour the spirit of the place we inhabit, including those who lived here before us.
All this will be done in the guiding light of Anthroposophy.
Participants at the March meeting also proposed that three Mandate Groups be established to actualize the initiative: a Community Outreach Group (including marketing and workshops), a Physical Site Development Group (including questions of environment), and a Finance Group (including fundraising).
During the group’s fourth and final meeting, held April 18th, an important understanding was achieved and a momentous turning point reached when it was decided that the proposed grade school be established by a separate entity, framed by a broadly supportive Impulse Group. Those present then nominated Lynn Aitken as Chair of the new group and agreed that a school survey be conducted at the upcoming Mayfair. It was also agreed that further research be carried out to determine potential funding sources (the Vidar Foundation and others), whether the school should be for-profit or non-profit, and whether or not to establish grade-based classes.
Between June and September the following summer a series of independent Impulse Group meetings were then held and after much discussion it was decided that the new school would be called Blue Oak: a symbol of wisdom, strength, and resilience. That September, with Lynn serving as its first teacher, Blue Oak took on its first student, William Andrews in a pilot study. Five months later, in January 2016, Blue Oak went on to incorporate as a Federally Registered Not-For-Profit, with Lynn Aitken, Erin Andrews, and Marcy Hull serving as its first Board of Directors.