The Friends of Tahoe Truckee Waldorf is a grassroots community effort to bring Waldorf education to Tahoe-Truckee. Over the past few years, they have successfully launched a Waldorf preschool, summer programs, and Golden Valley Tahoe School. Golden Valley Tahoe School is a TK-6th grade (expanding to 8th) tuition-free public Waldorf School in Truckee. They have recently opened a new 40 acre campus that is open for in-person learning.
The Golden Valley Tahoe School’s grass roots beginnings mirror the hard work and determination of the pioneers of the first Golden Valley Charter School 20+ years ago. A small group of preschool parents had a vision to create a public Waldorf school to provide families from all socioeconomic backgrounds access to an education previously available only at expensive private schools. They named this education group the Tahoe Truckee Waldorf Learning Group and had a dream for it to one day become a tuition-free public Waldorf school in the Truckee area.
In January of 2018, Golden Valley Charter Schools was invited to write and manage the Tahoe Truckee Waldorf Group charter with the plan to open a Transitional Kindergarten through Second Grade Tuition-Free Public Waldorf School in September of 2018. The school has now grown to include 6th grade, with plans to grow to 8th grade in the next two years.
The Golden Valley community will continue the grass roots commitment to the values of Waldorf education and will foster the growth and sustainability of the school in a thoughtful way. Golden Valley Charter Schools looks forward to expanding the reach of public Waldorf opportunities in the Northern California region and many more years serving the children and families in the greater Sacramento and Placer County area.
If you’re not familiar with the Waldorf education model, the arts, drama, painting, music, drawing, modeling, etc., are integrated into the entire academic curriculum, including mathematics and the sciences. This model of education through the arts awakens imagination and creative powers, bringing vitality and wholeness to learning.
The class teacher stays with the same class over a period of several years, teaching all the main subjects. In some cases a teacher will stay with a class all the way from 1st grade through 8th grade. Other teachers may stay with a class through 5th grade and then cycle back to 1st. Some teachers are most comfortable teaching 6th through 8th grade, while others may feel strongest in the lower grades. We take all of this into account, as well as the importance of stability in a class and the value of long term relationships. We have seen that the practice of staying with a class over time allows teachers to really know the children and help them unfold their gifts. While working with a new curriculum from year to year is an enormous challenge, it also helps to keep the teaching fresh and alive for both teacher and children.
Textbooks are used on a limited basis in the elementary grades. Instead, the teacher creates the presentation and the children make their individual books for each subject taught, recording and illustrating the substance of their lessons. These books, often artistic and beautiful, are an important way in which art is integrated into every subject. However, in 6th through 8th grade (and often in 4th and 5th), our teachers do use textbooks for math instruction, and in the seventh and eighth grade, students are placed in leveled math groups.
The Golden Valley Tahoe School’s unique location makes it accessible for many outdoor education opportunities filled with the magic of nature and snow.