The Waldorf School of Atlanta began with the inspiration of Katie Reily, educator and speech therapist, who had a way of pulling community together. Her interest in Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy and enthusiasm for people was infectious. After a few years of leading a play group for children in her home and studying Waldorf education with parents, Katie invited Susan Jones, a trained Waldorf teacher to lead our first kindergarten class in the fall of 1986. It was called “The Children’s Garden”… a bold and beautiful beginning. Through the years many dedicated parents, faculty, and staff worked alongside our children to create the vibrant Waldorf School we have now.
Some glimpses of our history-
- The Waldorf School of Atlanta with its varying classes occupied and improved six different locations in the Decatur area.
- The first Holiday Fair fish pond was held in a small room. The whole pond was about 4’ in diameter. The line of “fisherpeople” went through the hall and down the stairs.
- Our first Advent Spiral and Lantern Walks included every child and person in our school. Soon they were just too big and these festivals had to divide into smaller groups…still beautiful and heartwarming.
- The Board of Directors met once a month and the meetings often went on until 11 at night.
- At one time the administrative staff of four to five people was housed in the same tiny office together and somehow they managed to squeeze in the school store too.
- In every location volunteers have shoveled untold amounts of woodchips and sand, built play yard fences, helped to unload, lay, cut and install many square feet of carpet, knocked down walls, put up dry wall, painted, tiled bathrooms- all to make a beautiful place for our children to thrive.
- Our school graduated its first 8th grade in the spring of 2000.
- Our sister high school, Academe of the Oaks, graduated its first 12th grade in the spring of 2006.
- Our school now has five Kindergarten classes and Grades 1-8 with a faculty of 34, a staff of 11, a board of 13 and enrollment in our pre-k through 8th grade of 227, and so many wonderful parents.
We have worked, played, sung, studied, struggled and persevered together for the children who are the heart of the school. We continue to grow, to be inspired by this educational philosophy laid out by Rudolf Steiner and to continually re-dedicate our vision on a daily basis.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2012 Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.