The History of Waldorf Education
Since its inception in 1919, Waldorf education has become one of the largest private, non-profit, non-denominational, independent K-12 systems in the world, with over 1,000 schools in 83 countries.
Waldorf education was developed in Europe by Rudolf Steiner, who was a great visionary, educator and scientist. He was adept at observing the developing child. His goal in education was to nurture artistically, spiritually and intellectually the highest potential in each child. The curriculum, style of teaching and incorporation of the arts into each subject are the things that set Waldorf education apart.
With great insight, care and concern Steiner developed Waldorf education. The Latin educare (the root of our word for education) means to “bring forth.” Steiner said, “Education is an art—it must speak to the child’s experience. To educate the whole child, the heart and the will must be reached as well as the mind.”
In a Waldorf School competence is stressed, as every child is taught they can be an artist, a scientist, a writer, a gardener, a carpenter, a mathematician or all of the above. Individuals may blossom at different times and with differing intensity, but the ability is there.
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able out of their own initiative to impart purpose and direction in their lives.”
– Rudolf Steiner
The History of Waldorf School of Orange County
Our school began with a small group of parents who shared a strong concern for educating their children in the most positive way. These committed individuals had been involved together in a study group. As the idea of a Waldorf school began to germinate, a Board of Trustees was formed in the fall of 1987, and the first early childhood class formed in January 1988.
These dedicated and enterprising leaders had held class in six locations, prior to finally finding a semi-permanent home in Costa Mesa, lovingly referred to as the “Eastbluff Campus” in 1993. The school grew quickly, adding a new first grade class and teacher each year.
By 1998, WSOC’s first early childhood students were in Grade 8, and we moved to the location we have called home ever since. Formerly named “The Canyon School”, we were overjoyed to obtain a five-year lease from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
In 2007, the WSOC High School was born, welcoming the first class of pioneering freshman to pilot the way. A combination of existing buildings and new portable structures became the high school campus, welcoming a new class each year.
2009 was a big year. Our Foundation Studies and Adult Education Program were launched, making us one of only a handful of Pre-K through Grade 12 programs, along with Waldorf Education for adults. This is the year we also obtained a long-term 15-year lease from the school district, which paved the way for us to break ground on the campus expansion site (next door to our existing campus) in 2010. The new wing of campus was completed in August 2010, constructed with eco-friendly shipping containers, garnering several noteworthy “green” building awards for the school.
With pride, we graduated the pioneering High School class in 2011.
In 2013, we joyfully celebrated WSOC’s 25th Birthday!
In 2014, the best news to date rang through the land. We signed a 25-year lease, securing our home on Canyon Drive until at least the year 2039!
We recently celebrated our 30th anniversary as a school, and we continue to happily welcome new students throughout the kindergarten, grades, and high school each year. We are a thriving, serving over 350 students in pre-kindergarten through high school, plus several early childhood playgroups.
We lovingly extend our heartfelt gratitude to the persistent, resilient, and dedicated families who started WSOC in 1987. Today’s students benefit from their legacy daily, as they learn from our talented, inspired, and brilliant faculty. We hope to continue on in the positive spirit of their legacy so that all of our grandchildren and even our grandchildren’s grandchildren may receive a Waldorf education at the Waldorf School of Orange County.