Mission Statement 


Whatcom Hills Waldorf School provides an arts-infused academic curriculum, inspiring students to meet the world with confidence, initiative, and compassion. 

 

Founding/History

From left to right: Josiane Schantz, Kent Ratekin, Pauline Mansley and Dennis Scott stand as the original founders of Whatcom Hills Waldorf School  (not shown David Steege)

Whatcom Hills Waldorf School was founded and incorporated as a non-profit foundation in 1986 by a dedicated group of parents, teachers, and volunteers. Two years previously, a small group of preschool children met in the home of a Waldorf teacher while waiting for those who would be the founding teachers to return from their student teaching year in Waldorf Education. 

In 1986 the school began in a community hall, located in the Happy Valley neighborhood, with a kindergarten and first grade. In 1988 WHWS purchased the historic Geneva School (founded in 1891). Since then, the campus has undergone dramatic improvements and growth. 

 In 1998 a capital campaign culminated with a new building that provided four new classrooms. By 2000 an addition to the new building was completed which added a beautiful performing arts hall and two more classrooms. The campus was further expanded  in 2007 through the purchase of the home that is now another Early Childhood center. Recent improvements include solar panels on the roof of the original Geneva School building, a teaching garden located on the early-childhood property, and the remodel of Foxwood Cottage to a multipurpose room shared by the Cyber Civics, Handwork and After School Care programs. 

As our school matured, we began to take on a more active role in our region. We have hosted numerous conferences and workshops, as well as the annual Renaissance Faire for area schools. Our application for full-membership in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) was granted in 2004, and we have offered support to several initiative schools in Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. In June 2016 WHWS obtained a 6 year term of accreditation from AWSNA. WHWS remains connected to alumni and the greater community through annual festivals and events.


Waldorf Philosophy 

Waldorf Education is premised on Rudolf Steiner’s empirical observation that childhood is made up of three distinct stages of roughly seven years each—birth to age seven (early childhood), seven to 14 (middle childhood), and 14 to 21 (adolescence).  Each stage shapes the way children feel about and approach the world—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—which, in turn, shapes the way they learn. Waldorf educators are trained in methods appropriately tailored to these developmental stages, each evolving as childhood unfolds.

Diversity 

Whatcom Hills is committed to developing the human potential of each child to its fullest. Admission to the school is open to everyone, regardless of race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, or ethnicity. 

It is a fundamental goal of our education to lead students to an understanding of the common humanity of all the world’s peoples, transcending the stereotypes, prejudices, and divisive barriers of classification by sex, race and nationality. We most emphatically reject racism in all its forms, and embrace the principles of common humanity expressed by the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner:  “[We] must cast aside the division into races. [We] must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people. “ 

Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)  

About Bellingham 

Nestled between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington, Bellingham is the largest American city (~91,000 people) closest to the Canadian border. It was founded on the salmon and lumber industries dating back to 1852, but today, it boasts a culture of fabulous outdoor recreational opportunities from the San Juans in the Salish Sea to the wilderness of Mount Baker in the North Cascades National Park. Bellingham is also home to Western Washington University and the Alaska Ferry, and has a vibrant local food, craft brew, art and music scene.

Land History Acknowledgment 

Every community owes its existence and vitality to the hopes, dreams, energy and sacrifices of the generations that came before. In this light, our school respectfully acknowledges this place, its history, and the Northwest Coast Salish and Lummi people—past, present, and future—upon whose beautiful ancestral lands we are privileged to live and work. 

WHWS Code of Conduct 

May our actions convey respect, responsibility, and integrity. May we strive to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all members of our school community, and in doing so, cultivate and nourish an enduring sisterhood and brotherhood. Students and adults are expected to be courteous and respectful to all members of the school community and to the general public; to respect the differences and rights of others; to use clean language, to avoid bullying, cyberbullying, harassing or in any way endangering or harming others, physically or emotionally.

A healthy social life is found only when, in the mirror of each human soul, the whole community is living, and when, in the community, each human soul finds its reflection 

– Rudolf Steiner