The spouse-unit & I like to visit Waldorf schools where ever we go. It’s an odd thing, but I think it has something to do with how easily we fall in love with new places and have closet dreams of moving there some day, in a parallel universe. The first consideration is often school for the kids, so it’s one of the first things we start looking into.
Visiting Santa Cruz last week was no exception. It’s a sweet beach town with just enough university to give it a bit more hipster vibe. I could totally see homeschooling being great here, but I was really curious to see the local Waldorf school. We managed to get a wonderful tour at the last minute, and it was one of the most charming Waldorf schools I’ve ever visited.
One of the best features is that it’s tucked up into the countryside and forest behind UC Santa Cruz, and really far from the beaten path, so there’s virtually no road traffic or noise, and a ridiculous amount of nature. The grass was that gold of late California summer, and there was something so casual about the local squirrels scampering about, or the neighborhood cat napping in the sun. Of course, all Waldorf schools strive for that, I really felt like they’d succeeded here in a big way.
Each of the classrooms we were shown for the lower grades were set up in these adorable little cottages. I thought this was enchanting for the early childhood classes, where so much of the “schedule” is recreating that loving home environment.
Another remarkable highlight was the forest just a minute past the school. Regular hikes into the forest are part of the curriculum. We took a peek at the trailhead and just stepped into the forest and it was magical. If you’ve ever read Last Child in the Woods, this was the dreamy backyard forest we all dream our kids of having such easy access to.