The Whole School

dsc00864Our Philosophy rocket

  The Whole School’s belief is that optimum learning occurs by honoring each child’s social and emotional needs, inherent curiosity, imagination and enthusiasm. Helping children to recognize their own potential is essential to fostering leadership, confidence, self-esteem and a life long love of learning.

Students at The Whole School are in the classroom Monday – Thursday. Friday is reserved for Outdoor Leadership Program activities.  Activities have included: biking; hiking; snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, swimming, skating, and gymnastics.


Daily classroom school hours: Monday to Thursday ~ are 8:45 am to 3:15 pm.


maypoleFomountainunded in May 1973, The Whole School is a community supported non-profit independent elementary school with the goal of providing a rich learning environment for its students. From wildlife exploration to weaving, carpentry, music and more, we offer an experienced based curriculum that allows our students a sampling of what this amazing community has to offer.


  A Brief History

The Whole School originated as a collective group of home-school students in early 1972 best described by the words of one of the school’s founders, Joel Harris;

“The “Free School” as we immediately came to be known, moved from one large family farmhouse to another three times each week, including Saturday so children in public schools, often siblings, could participate on a part-time basis. We had classes in every room, lots of running space and outbuildings. chalkboard

Volunteer parents taught plus a few friends without kids and certified teachers, attracted by the freedom they would have to shape their own work, also came forward. Working parents could also participate as Mentors in their child’s and their neighbours children’s education and fulfill the school’s volunteer requirements, because it was never “free.” 

Our rapid success and the limitations and logistics of moving fifty kids around all the time, gave rise to the notion of acquiring a school house.

bookshelfAfter forming a non-profit society in May of 1973, these dedicated parents and community members created “The Whole School” which continues to this day to hold many of the same core values: inclusion, freedom and parent/mentor involvement.

The Whole School has continued to support alternative education for children from Kindergarten to grade seven.  Today, our school week consists of students in the classroom four days of the week while the fifth day is reserved for Outdoor Leadership Program activities.   Those students attending full time are with us five days per week while our kindergarten program runs half-time ~ two to three full days per week.

backpack-2All classes at The Whole School are small, multi-aged and cultivate a non-competitive environment.

Please see our School Program section for more details.


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