Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a charter school?

    In Alaska, a charter school is part of the school district like other public schools.  Being a public school, it is tuition free, funded by the state, and meets all state regulations, such as those pertaining to state standards and mandated testing.  


    What makes a charter school different from other public schools?

    Each charter school offers an approach or focus that is not offered at mainstream public schools. A charter school is permitted to embrace a particular philosophy or method by applying for waivers from the district’s policies and regulations.  This allows the school some freedoms, such as to use their own curriculum materials, alternative scheduling and school day structure, etc.


    Where is Boreal Sun located?

    We are located at 2404 South Barnette St, in the Bjerremark Subdivision.  Our building used to be Lily of the Valley Church, but was purchased and renovated for us in 2017.  Now the building is a school.


    How old is your school?

    We opened our doors for the first time in August of 2017.


    Is there busing for your school?

    We are not able to provide transportation for our students.  Parents will need to drive their children to and from school.  Some families take advantage of carpooling with friends.  


    Do you provide school lunch?

    Currently, we offer a school breakfast and lunch program through the school district’s Nutrition Services.  Parents should plan on packing a healthy snack and lunch for their children daily.


    Is there a fee for Boreal Sun?

    Boreal Sun has a supplies fee of $50/student/semester, due in August and January.  This supply fee covers the cost of our specialized student supplies.  No additional supplies will be required at the beginning of the year, so you will not need to shop for pencils or notebooks, for example, prior to the first day of school.  Financial assistance is available.  If your student qualifies for free or reduced lunch, you may qualify for a free or reduced supplies fee.  In order to ease the burden on families with multiple children, no family will be required to pay more than $250/year for supplies.


    What is the daily schedule at Boreal Sun?

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:45am - 3:15pm; Thursday from 8:45am –1:15pm.  We have an early release day on Thursdays to facilitate a weekly staff meeting.


    Does Boreal Sun require parents to contribute volunteer hours?

    Boreal Sun depends on parent involvement and support.  We will ask parents to pledge to contribute the number of volunteer hours they are able.  The school suggests 20-45 hours per year, per family. 


    What is a Public Waldorf-inspired charter school?

    A Public Waldorf-inspired charter school strives to blend Waldorf philosophy (traditionally found in private Waldorf Schools) with traditional public school standards and goals.  


    What is Waldorf-inspired education?

    Waldorf-inspired education strives to meet students’ readiness at each age and stage of development.  Waldorf Education is known for nurturing a lifelong love of learning.  Today, more than 900 Waldorf schools exist worldwide. Those outside the United States are predominantly public schools. In the United States, Waldorf Education began as a private (independent) school movement, but has become a charter school movement as well.  


    Waldorf-inspired schools are known to utilize movement, experiential, and artistic elements in every subject, so children have a hands-on experience of learning.  Teachers aim to teach the whole child—the head, as well as the heart and hands.  Subjects are explored deeply and interwoven together in order to encourage children to be deep explorers, connected to and interested in their fellow human beings and the world.


    What are the main differences between a charter school inspired by Waldorf Education and other public schools?

    • Lessons are cross-curricular and arts-integrated to provide an in-depth study of each subject.

    • Introduction of subject matter corresponds with the developmental age of the students.

    • The daily routine is structured with the recognition of a child’s natural learning rhythms.

    • Kindergartners learn in a play-based environment.

    • Children will keep the same teacher and class group (also known as looping) for grades 1-5 and 6-8.

    • Students make their own lesson books.

    • Technology use is limited, particularly in the elementary years.

    • World language instruction begins in first grade

    What is cross-curricular and arts-integrated?  

    Cross-curricular instruction integrates content and skills from multiple subjects (reading, math, social studies, science, etc.) into one cohesive learning experience.  Arts-integrated instruction infuses art (drawing, painting, drama, poetry, music, modeling, handwork such as knitting and sewing, etc.) into core academic subjects to deepen and enliven those subjects.  Both are utilized simultaneously in Waldorf Education.  Studies have shown that these approaches result in highly engaged and motivated students who are invested in their own learning.  


    How is reading approached differently at Boreal Sun?

    The language arts approach in a Waldorf-inspired school is deeply rich and fosters a love of language through storytelling, poetry recitation, joyful exploration, and drama from kindergarten through eighth grade.  Initial emphasis is placed on the spoken word in kindergarten with repetitive storytelling and recall, which develops comprehension.  Writing begins formally in first grade, and the alphabet is introduced pictorially.  Comprehension and love of language are strengths grown through this approach. Phonics and phonemic instruction also begin in first grade in a playful and joyous way.  Children learn to read through these experiences, and by reading their teacher’s writing and what they’ve written themselves.   The children get their first formal book at a well-chosen moment, and it is an exciting occasion.   


    What subjects will be taught?

    In grades 1-8, in addition to standard academic subjects, handwork, world language, and arts will be taught.  Physical Education is incorporated into the daily routine, and will also be part of the weekly schedule.


    How is your kindergarten structured?

    Kindergarten hours are 8:45 am - 1:15 pm. The 5-6-year-old child is easily overstimulated by large group interactions and the hard work of focused and self-directed activity in the school setting. We offer an extended-day application on a needs-based basis. This experience will run from 1:15 - 3:15 pm in the staffed Kindergarten classroom. In the afternoon, each child will take a 30-minute rest, do afternoon classroom chores and engage in additional play opportunities.


    How can I learn more about Public Waldorf-inspired Education?

    You can find some links, videos, and articles on our website:  You may also go to our Facebook page where you will find articles and videos that give you a window into what Public Waldorf-inspired Education looks like.  

    ***When searching the internet for information about Waldorf Education, bear in mind that there is a lot of information that pertains more to the private Waldorf Education movement.***


    revised 2/07/23

Last Modified on May 26, 2023