Textbook definitions for alternative education often begin with hefty price tags, but a new option for grade-school parents in Edmonton is rewriting the private-school standard across Canada.

An acclaimed Waldorf school program was recently given the go-ahead by Edmonton Public Schools, and for the first time in the country, students will be taught under the model for free.

“It’s about making sure our children are balanced, and making sure all their needs are met — not just intellectual,” said spokeswoman Netta Johnson. “Intellectual needs are important, but so are physical and emotional needs. You can leave school with a very high IQ, but still not know how to be happy day-to-day.”

A kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 class will begin this fall at Avonmore School.

There are a handful of slots left for September enrolment, Johnson said, though classes may be expanded as demand dictates.

Families have flocked from British Columbia and Ontario to place their children in the program, saving between $5,000 to $8,000 per year in tuition costs.

“People can’t believe they can get Waldorf education in the public system, because they know it’s very expensive,” Johnson said.

For information, visit www.wese.ca.

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