I am a parent of a child who attends Wildflower school. I was also a parent at Gordon Sargent during the school closure as well as when Homelinks had to move their program to South Nelson. One thing I have learned is these closures and changes often succeed in pitting parent against parent, and school against school. The letter written by Olindo Chiocca is doing just this. This type of letter fuels unnecessary animosity in our community. This is unfortunate as the real villains here are our provincial government and their lack of appropriate funding for education.
When these closures are forced upon us, it is a time for open conversation about what is best for all of our children. It is a time when the school district offers us an option which we can consider and work together to make it as positive as possible. It is a time to be creative with our dollars by remaining open minded and when we should all be working together rather than spreading harsh angry words towards fellow parents.
In our community we have an amazing number of school options. We have Waldorf, CHEK, and Self Design. In SD8 we have Reach, Wildflower, Homelinks as well as a number of other great public schools that despite lack of sufficient funding all strive for greatness. To me, this has nothing to do with segregation. It is all about diversity. I work in the schools and am witness to how different and unique all of our children are. They have different learning styles and different needs which can be met with one of the options listed above. What a lucky community to have so many choices for our children.
Wildflower offers a different style of education. Instead of viewing parents and teachers trying to grow a very successful program as “elitists,” you could look at it from a different viewpoint. This program has a long waitlist for children to get into. It is a program that has taken in children that didn’t seem to fit in other types of schools, private, public or homeschooling.
It has already spread to other communities offering choice there as well. Wildflower is not claiming to be superior to other schools but it is celebrating its uniqueness. The people involved in trying to grow this program simply believe and have witnessed the value of this multi-age school. I’m sure many of the parents who have been sitting on the wait list for years will be happy to hear of its expansion.
During this time, I ask all parents and teachers to remain open minded and to stand together throughout this transition. Before writing hurtful letters, stop and think. Perhaps visit Wildflower and see for yourself what the difference is. Our community is far better off when we have enough choice in education to serve every single one of our children.
Kim Laybourne, Six Mile