Willowstone Academy’s principal, David Balfour, shares his humorous perspective on school during the pandemic and he says: “As tumultuous as the times are right now, we are here to help. We are here to provide continuity of learning for our students. We’re here for our families and community.”
If you’ve ever travelled and had your flight delayed, been re-routed, had your luggage lost or had to improvise your way home through planes, trains and automobiles, you’ll have a good sense of what school has been like for the last year or so. Actually, at Willowstone Academy, we often refer to learning as a journey because, well, it is. It’s academic, it’s social, and it’s deeply personal. And, like all journeys, sometimes things go entirely according to plan and sometimes (or maybe lots of times) you perhaps find yourself going places that weren’t on the plan— at all.
One of the running jokes we had as a team as we finished our first term and got ready to transition into winter break was that we were bringing “Willowstone Academy Flight 2021” in for a landing. And, really, education in the last year was a bit like a long-haul flight. We weren’t sure if our flight was going to get re-routed, cancelled or maybe both. We were all optimistic (most of the time), working together (despite some challenges) and ready for lots of contingencies (and there were a few), and in the end the crew was a little weary, the passengers were ready to disembark and stretch their legs, everyone was tired of bagged lunches, there was a weird smell coming from one of the bathrooms and you maybe felt like somebody had been kicking the back of your seat for the past 6 hours. But we did it. Not just our school, but our community and our province. Truly, that’s not nothing.
And, as we look down the runway of 2022, we’ve got the plane cleaned, washed and refuelled. Our crew is rested, refreshed and ready. And our passengers have their luggage checked and are ready for our planned itinerary or wherever this flight takes them.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be ready to respond collaboratively to some challenging constraints that emerge in life. It’s that we really can do hard things together. And, it’s that we are modelling how to creatively solve real-life problems for and, most importantly, with our children. Ultimately, those are the foundational skills that are embedded through the curriculum's Core Competencies and these are the things that will serve our students through this year, this pandemic, wherever they go in the world, and whatever they choose to make of the world that we’re borrowing from them. That’s learning that matters.
So, of course, maintaining the continuity of learning for students and families remains paramount, both for this year and the years to come. And, while it seems a little strange to be thinking about next year while this year has only just begun, we’re holding virtual open houses this month so our community can have a chance to hear about what education looks like in our school, and how we’re working to support and empower our students this year, as well as the rest of their educational journey, of which this pandemic is but one part.
We invite you to join us in the Willowstone Academy learning journey. If you want to learn more about our school, register for our upcoming virtual Open House events on Jan. 19 for Kindergarten, as well as our Middle Years program (Grades 6 to 9) or book a tour with our admissions advisor. After all, we all want to do what’s best for our children, no matter what journey we’re on. If we can work together with you on that journey, well, that’s why we’re here.
Regardless, it’s 2022 and we’re ready for take-off. We’re not exactly sure of the route, we are expecting turbulence, but we know our destination. And that’s exciting. Welcome aboard. Fasten your seatbelts, look out the window and smile. Kelowna, we got this.
Here we go.
Willowstone Academy is a faith-based independent school for children from Early Childhood Education Age to Grade 9. Located in the heart of Kelowna’s Lower Mission, the boutique sized private school provides a community to belong for their families, with opportunities for students to discover their personal faith journey. "Learning that Matters” is the focus for Willowstone’s students, which is facilitated through personalized learning, critical thinking, and individual responsibility.
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