Tuesdays at Ten: London Waldorf School

London Waldorf School logo showing a tree
London Waldorf School
Mar 03, 2015

During our March Tuesdays at Ten we spoke with Mel Quevillon, Enrolment Coordinator with London Waldorf School. Mel shared with us how the school has built an inclusive space for both its employees and students by putting ability first. She also talked about her personal experience of having an exceptional child who has Downs Syndrome, and how her daughter will be an excellent addition to the future workforce.

London Waldorf School has partnered with Hutton House London. Joe Gansevles, Employment Specialist with Hutton House, helps the school to find qualified candidates & provides other resources at no cost. We are always pleased to welcome Joe to our Tuesdays at Ten discussions.

At London Waldorf School we are committed to ensuring the opportunity of a Waldorf Education for all children in our community - one that takes place in a setting that is both beautiful and nurturing and that celebrates the diversity of its members, thus reflecting the ability of human beings to live with and learn from each other and the natural environment around them.

Mel Quevillon from London Waldorf School photographed in front of a painting of four frogs.
Mel Quevillon, Enrolment Coordinator London Waldorf School


Joe Gansevles photographed in front of a Hutton House banner.
Joe Gansevles, Employment Specialist Hutton House London


Twitter Transcript: 

Ability First: Mel, can you tell us about @londonwarldorf? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: London Waldorf School is an independently funded school located near the intersection of Oxford & Wharncliffe, nestled in a neighbourhood that backs on to Gibbons Park and the #Thames River. We offer programs ranging from Parent & Child classes, from birth, right up through our grade school which runs up to grade 8. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How long has @londonwaldorf been open? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: We are celebrating our 35th year as a school this year. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Congratulations @londonwaldorf on your upcoming 35th celebration! How many employees do you have there? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: About 30. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Did you have any prior experience working with people with #disabilities? #PWD #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Yes, our workplace has always been inclusive of people with all backgrounds and barriers. Also, my daughter Gabby has #DownSyndrome and is a student here at London Waldorf School. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How has your life experience helped shaped your outlook on what people with #disabilities are capable of? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Every single day Gabby teaches me new things. Other parents & staff feel Gabby gives so much to her class. Her brain is unbelievable, she can do puzzles upside down & without a photo!

Ability First: Gabby sounds like an incredible girl & quite the puzzle master. What message would you like others to hear? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: There are facial features of #DownSyndrome and because of this are often put in box that says they're not capable, which is untrue. People with #disabilities have so many gifts, talents & skills to offer. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What were your feelings on hiring someone with a #disability? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Everyone has issues & challenges; when we know what these are ahead of time, have time to prepare. Mark Wafer, the owner of several @TimHortons, talks a lot about employing people with #disabilities. That #PWD work hard and that businesses benefit. I can see how this is & will be true in Gabby's case. If there's a household task, out of all my children, Gabby's the one who gets it done! #Tuesat10

Ability First: You've pointed employers toward a great resource with this video > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRHnlyJI0dg #PutTheAbilityFirst. And we thank you for sharing your own experience with all of us! Why did @londonwaldorf decide to hire someone with a #disability? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Because the person was the right person for the job. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How did you go about finding the right person for the job? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: In this case, this person was already involved in our organization through volunteering. She just shined in everything she did and her commitment & capabilities were noticed by many staff members. #Tuesat10

Hutton House: This individual has several years of university education, is very well organized & task oriented. The employee had lots of volunteer experience & had completed a 13 week work placement leading up to this. #Tuesat10

Ability First: And once hired, how did this individual work out as an employee at @londonwaldorf? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: She became a part of our community! Her work & personality brought so much & she has become a friend. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Were there any preconceptions @londonwaldorf had about employing someone with a #disability? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Fortunately, our workplace & community are filled with loving, open-minded people, so no, I don’t think so. I think #disabilities must touch everyone’s lives at some point & hopefully that provides empathy for anyone coming into a work environment who is living with a #disability. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What misconceptions do you think exist regarding employees with #disabilities? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Think doing person favour by hiring them, rather than seeing them as a valuable contributor to the staff. Misconception that if you have #disability you are not capable, which is not true. I think they often worry they'll have to do a lot of hand holding too. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How do you address these misconceptions? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: It is my view that each person comes to the world with their own special gifts & something to give. None of us are exempt from challenges, some have to face bigger ones than others. It's our duty to be examples to our children of good citizenship, build strong communities & have empathy. #Tuesat10

Ability First: What is your advice for other employers? #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Finding the right person is essential to every work environment. @HuttonHouseLdn did that for us, and what that person added to our work environment far outweighed the minor accommodations we made. #Tuesat10

Ability First: How has @HuttonHouseLdn worked with you?

London Waldorf School: They've been wonderful to work with from the beginning. Right away, from finding the right person who was so well matched to our organization, to facilitating everything that needed to happen. #Tuesat10

Ability First: And @HuttonHouseLdn, how did @londonwaldorf show their support of the employee? #Tuesat10

Hutton House: They would provide lots of positive verbal feedback – “You are doing great” “Your work is amazing”. They recognized what a hard worker the employee was. When someone has a disability, extra reassurance & + genuine feedback is key to a successful partnership. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Positive genuine feedback is a key element in all successful employer/employee relationships! How did @HuttonHouseLdn provide support to this employee, during placement and beyond? #Tuesat10

Hutton House: We assisted with transportation, on the job check ins every couple of weeks, plus lots of phone support. If the employee was having a challenge on the job – big or small – they knew I was only a phone call away. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Incredible for employer to have this kind of support & these are only some of the no charge resources you offer at @HuttonHouseLdn. Please finish this sentence @londonwaldorf, “I hire for Ability First because...” #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Each individual deserves to be seen in their fullness, beyond whatever challenges are present in their life. #Tuesat10

Ability First: Thank you so much for joining us today & sharing your experiences Mel @londonwaldorf and Joe @HuttonHouseLdn. #Tuesat10

London Waldorf School: Thank you so much for this opportunity! #Tuesat10

Hutton House: It's been wonderful! Any employers interested in more info can call us at 519-472-1541. #Tuesat10

Ability First: And to all of you who tuned in, favourited & shared RTs - thank you and hope to see you again for our next #Tuesat10 in April! Please support local businesses that #PutTheAbilityFirst in the workplace, they are an integral part in creating change for #PWD.

We always appreciate those of you who join us for our live Tuesdays at Ten sessions, and welcome new voices to our discussions. We encourage you to ask questions, share your thoughts, and interact with our presenters. Please mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10am as we continue to highlight various local businesses who successfully put ability first in the workplace.

We hope you’ll join us for our next Tuesdays at Ten, taking place on Tuesday April 7, 2015.

To review transcripts from past sessions please visit our Tuesdays at Ten archives.

Hutton House