FAQ


How is Windsor House different from other schools?
How long has Windsor House been around?
Can students graduate from Windsor House?
Are students eligible for post-secondary education?
Are classes offered?
Is there homework?
Are there grades and report cards?
What if students choose to play all day?
Is Windsor House for everyone?
Can students combine Windsor House with homelearning?
Can students come from out of district?
Does the school charge tuition?
How does a student become enrolled at Windsor House?
What kind of parent participation is required?


How is Windsor House different from other schools?
Windsor House School offers differentiated instruction within an immersive environment of learning choices. Through ungraded and non-comparative formative assessment, learning is reflected along a continuum of skills and processes relating to literacy, numeracy, and core competencies.

Windsor House does not require students to attend classes or follow a set curriculum. They choose how and where to spend their time, and with whom. Windsor House is also a democratic school, meaning each member of the community, regardless of age or role, has a vote in the decision-making process. [back to top]


How long has Windsor House been around?
The school was founded in 1971 in an era that saw the beginning of a number of democratic schools, many of which are still thriving today (e.g., Sudbury Valley, Albany Free School, Summerhill). [back to top]


Can students graduate from Windsor House?
Students wishing to graduate with a BC Dogwood Certificate must complete the standard provincial requirements. This can be done at Windsor House by taking required academic courses and the corresponding provincial exams. Students can also acquire these courses through other distributed learning options while attending Windsor House. [back to top]


Are students eligible for post-secondary education?
Many Windsor House students go on to post-secondary education. Students who choose the formal graduation route may apply straight out of Windsor House, while others may choose to wait a year to apply as a mature student. Some students choose career paths that don’t involve formal education. [back to top]


Are classes offered?
At Windsor House, students request and commit to classes and activities through an “open space” model. Students may also request and organize field trips, speakers, and workshops. In addition to these scheduled activities, most students have sufficient time to pursue others interests at school, including drama, arts, music, and sports. [back to top]


Is there homework?
Students are self-directed and may choose to work on or complete school projects at home; however, staff do not specifically assign homework. Students and teachers co-create projects and assignments together, which may or may not involve doing work at home. [back to top]


Are there grades and report cards?
Intrinsic motivation is highly valued at Windsor House, so staff do not offer external rewards such as letter grades or special praise. Instead, students work with family and staff to build learning portfolios that are reviewed during several hour-long learning conferences throughout the year.

Students are issued report cards for ministerial purposes, but the parent community has collectively opted not to see them, preferring to draw on the ongoing dialogue generated through conferences, e-portfolios, and time spent in the school community to capture the “how” and “what” of students’ learning.

For students in Grade 10 and above, grades and percentages may be part of the conversations during conferences. Students and staff work together to support mastery-level understanding in courses where possible. [back to top]


What if students choose to play all day?
Play is highly respected at Windsor House, where children are free to explore the flow of their own curiosity in different ways — and they do, particularly in the early years. The result is a lively mix that at first glance may appear unstructured but is in fact supported by many underlying structures and theories (e.g., inquiry-based, experiential, and active learning). [back to top]


Is Windsor House for everyone?
Windsor House is ideal for self-directed learners who can regulate their own behavior, but the school welcomes an assortment of students aged 5 to 18 with diverse backgrounds — from homelearners to those who have been dissatisfied with standard classroom settings and those looking for a community environment that supports the individual. [back to top]


Can students combine Windsor House with homelearning?
Yes, students may opt to have “choice days” each week, during which they can pursue homelearning or other forms of enrichment. A number of Windsor House students and staff have a homelearning background. [back to top]


Can students come from out of district?
Yes, about half of the Windsor House’s student body lives on the North Shore and the rest come from out of district — the majority from East Vancouver. There is currently school bus service from East Vancouver, though for many years Windsor House relied on a strong carpool network. [back to top]


Does the school charge tuition?
No, though a small monthly donation to SANE ($10 to $100 per family) is requested in order to fund expenses arising out of the Resolution process at School Council. [back to top]


How does a student become enrolled at Windsor House?
All young people wishing to attend Windsor House must spend three days at the school with a parent or guardian. At the end of the three days, they must have an Intake Meeting with staff and students to ensure that they fully understand the program. [back to top]


What kind of parent participation is required?
Each family is asked to contribute time to the school, either during school hours or on weekends or evenings. Families contribute in a variety of ways, such as offering activities that reflect their own skills and experiences, assisting teachers and staff, helping with the maintenance and care of the school, attending committee meetings and work parties, and doing support work from home.