Santa Cruz Waldorf School

Our Mission

Santa Cruz Waldorf School honors students’ individual development and capacities, and nurtures a love of learning through our rich curriculum inspired by Rudolf Steiner. At our rural, forested campus, our community, led by creative Waldorf-trained teachers, encourages the protection of childhood and respect for all life.

Our Vision

Santa Cruz Waldorf School cultivates self-directed, empathetic and free-thinking individuals with the courage and capacities to serve an ever-evolving humanity.

About Our School

Atop a redwood-adorned hill in beautiful coastal California, Santa Cruz Waldorf School is advancing a tradition of meaningful child-centered education. On first impressions and for years to follow, families are moved by the beauty of the campus, by the robust community life, and by the nurturing and fulfilling education that takes place upon that foundation. Santa Cruz Waldorf School is a place where imagination and wonder are honored and developed, and where a passion for learning is kindled in the heart of every child. Our curriculum is grounded in timeless developmental principles that combine academic rigor with joyful exploration and deep inquiry. As the students grow and learn, parents notice an ignited imagination and the emergence of tremendous focus in their children. In an environment of safety, trust, and strong relationships, our teachers place a steady emphasis on the development of social, emotional, and physical capacities in the children. Students feel a strong sense of belonging at the school, that they have a voice, and that they can make a difference in the world.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Mandate

SCWS is committed to actively practice diversity, equity, and inclusivity principles in its curriculum, enrollment, and festival life; and being actively anti-racist in its approach to pedagogy, policies, decisions, and structure.
White supremacy culture describes the institutional and societal practices that have been developed based on the idea that White people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of White people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Santa Cruz Waldorf School acknowledges that elements of Waldorf Education are rooted in White supremacy culture. We have the responsibility to move past any biased ideology that values one race over any others into an anti-racist and inclusive pedagogy. For many people it’s difficult to see or think about how they have benefited from white supremacy culture. As educators, we have a duty to bring to light the systems and benefits of White supremacy culture and work towards transformation.
The faculty of the Santa Cruz Waldorf School is committed to teaching about racial justice in ways that inspire and connect students to their common humanity, self-worth, and respect for one another so that they will lead us to a more humane future full of peace, justice and compassion.

The Santa Cruz Waldorf School pledges to:

  • Bring anti-racist curriculum including narratives about the experience of children of different races, memoir, story, art, and history to serve the needs of the students in learning anti-racism that supports their age level and development.
  • Examine how racism lives in each of us as individuals, and in the fabric of our organization and its policies, culture, and traditions.
  • Educate ourselves and take action over time to grow as an anti-bias, anti-racist, multicultural, and gender inclusive organization.


Since the founding of Santa Cruz Waldorf School we have enjoyed celebrating festivals together. The festival life of the school has helped connect our community and it provided a venue in which we celebrate throughout the seasons of the year. These seasonal celebrations mark the changing of the light, the relation of the earth to the sun and other stars and planets, and the connection to what is universal in the cycle of the year. Our intentions in the festival life at SCWS is to create something meaningful, and, at the same time, something new that is welcoming for all.

We want all SCWS families to inwardly experience the feeling that “this festival speaks to us.” We want to celebrate what is “universally human” and “universally cosmic/spiritual” without religious symbolism. In this way the entire community is united and can find strength and inspiration from each other in celebration of the Cycle of the Year.

Our reimagining of SCWS community festivals is inclusive and non-religious, and at the same time endowed with deep symbolism representing the realities of cosmic/earthly interaction and the activities of spiritual beings and forces. Rudolf Steiner’s ideas continue to guide our thinking about the greater cosmic forces at work in the four seasons and how it is possible to establish balance as a human being within those cycling seasons. We will continue to scrutinize our festival images, songs, stories and poems to consider how these might affect the diverse members of our community.

Our SCWS festival year highlights the following themes and festival gatherings:

ReAwakening to Community

End of September
For 100 years Waldorf/Steiner schools have celebrated Michaelmas. We will continue to celebrate the striving represented by that spiritual being called ReAwakening to Community. Fall is one of the names used for the season between Summer and Winter, and centers the question of what it is from which we have fallen. We have fallen away from a connection with spiritual wisdom and true moral impulses, we have fallen away from a deep connection with the natural world, and, especially in this time of pandemic, we have fallen away from social community life.

At this time of year our community celebrates the annual return-to-school, and the diversity of the individuals in our school community. We focus on the present in this festival and we highlight activities and stories that help us evolve toward becoming more truly human. We also celebrate the Spirit of Our Time that is calling on us to develop social conscience and become courageous and intelligent. The call is to confront our fears, and to develop the capacity to serve others. According to Steiner, the Spirit of our Time is interested in humans becoming ‘cosmopolitan,’ meaning learning how to live in harmony within the diversity of humanity. This festival will bring attention to the present – what do we need to do now? What are the needs of our present time?

The school community traditionally gathers for a picnic after the play, an opportunity for meeting each other and sharing the bounty of the harvest. In this  Fall Festival we will also include creating a circle of stones. Each member of our school community is invited to paint an image on a stone (in advance) which will be arranged into a community circle of stones surrounding a special spot on campus. And this festival serves to kick off the year’s community service work that each class will be engaged in.

Dia de los Muertos

November 1 & 2nd
The Mexican festival of All Souls’ Day (Day of the Dead), a day to remember and honor departed loved ones, is celebrated as a part of our Spanish program in the first week of November. Classrooms celebrate in various ways from traditional Dia de Los Muertos altars, student-driven plays that honor the cultural specificity of Dia de Los Muertos and arts and crafts.

Honoring the Ancestors

2nd week of November
Several years ago we created this in-school festival to honor the land where the school is situated, the Amah Mutsun people (the indigenous stewards of that land), and the ancestors (our community’s deceased relatives, who made it possible for members of the school community to exist and to be here now.) In this festival, we honor the gifts of those who have preceded us and offer gratitude to the stewards of the land.

Lantern walks

2nd-3rd week of November
Each November, an evening of beauty, wonder, and inspiration takes place for Waldorf schools around the world. Our Kindergarteners, along with the 1st and 2nd graders, craft lanterns in class then gather at sunset and take a walk to our magical redwood grove where they form a circle and sing. The Lantern Walk is an experience of how our spirits shining together in community shed a mighty light.

Winter Faire

The whole school community celebrates with a winter fair on a Saturday in December with fun activities for children, music, vendors, food, and more.

The Garden of Light

On an evening in December (determined by various calendar considerations) Early Childhood groups and the lower grades will celebrate with an imaginative experience of our individual spirit light incarnating into life on Earth, and an experience of how our spirits shining together in community shed a mighty light. We will carefully and consciously look for songs that are most universal in nature rather than those that harken to any particular religion. This festival is connected to the Winter Solstice, when there is a pause before the days once again begin to lengthen. Each year, the Light incarnates again, lengthening the days and offering levity to our souls.

Earth Day

April 22nd
Earth Day is a worldwide festival of honoring the earth.  Here we can highlight practices of sustainability and gratitude to the ground that supports us by tending to the land on our own campus by planting trees and flowers and tending to the ground that supports us. An important element of an Earth Day celebration is the acknowledgment of our role as stewards of this, our only, planet. We do this by celebrating themes of conservation and reusing, recycling, and reducing.

May Faire

First Saturday in May
We celebrate spring each year with our annual May Faire and traditional Maypole Dance featuring all of the grades and highlighting the Sixth Grade class.  The Seventh Grade provides music for the dance, and we invite musical members of our community to join them. The May Fair includes crafts and other activities for children, music, food, and vendors.

The teachers have shepherded the children so far, and now it is time to gather the gifts of that time together and move into the future.

8th Grade Graduation

The 8th-grade graduation ceremony is a community-wide recognition of the growth and achievements the graduating class of eighth-graders has accomplished during their time at SCWS. With a series of speeches by both students and teachers and music performances, we honor the development of our eighth-grade class as they enter into their new phase of young adulthood.

Kindergarten End-of-Year Festival

With a series of performances and ritual celebrations, we honor the growth of our kindergarten class as they begin their journey as first graders.


The Santa Cruz Waldorf School has its roots in the early 1970s when a small group of friends gathered to study Rudolf Steiner’s thoughts on education. Several participants had attended Emerson College and were especially interested in biodynamic agriculture. The study group was born at the behest of Gudrun Monasch, a German native and eurythmist who taught Eurythmy, German, and Handwork in the early years of the school’s history.

In the summer of 1975, preschoolers met once a week at the Farm for Eurythmy, painting and playing together; it was not until October 1976 that a kindergarten with ten students was established at Western Drive with Jessica Rubin-King, trained at Emerson, in charge. She named it the Golden Goose School. The same year the Santa Cruz Waldorf School Association was founded as a non-profit organization with ten active board members.

Spring and summer of 1977 saw an enrollment campaign with lectures, workshops, exhibits, advertising, and a new school site search. School opened in September of 1977 at 165 Pryce Street, Santa Cruz. The Kindergarten class taught by Ruth Jonason grew from ten to twelve children. First grade, Spanish and German, taught by Jacques Koenig grew from eight to twelve children. Gudrun Monasch taught Eurythmy and handwork.

The school has settled into its present campus with the purchase of land and the construction of classrooms. In the decades that followed, grades were added as the school’s population grew. In 2015, the school developed a preschool program on campus to support the families wishing to begin their children’s education not yet of age to start kindergarten. Today, all preschool and kindergarten programs are on the main campus.

Our Future

“You can feel the layers of intention and integrity from past Waldorf community members. I’m so grateful for this school, and it’s an exciting time that we get to help pay it forward by building out the Master Plan.”

     – Erin Munning, Parent

Like the enduring redwood forest that Santa Cruz Waldorf School lives amongst, our school will continue to grow and take root in the community of Santa Cruz. It is with this reverence for the land and the labor of love that began SCWS that we are working towards our Campus Renewal Project. In our vision of SCWS’s future, we intend to build a library, eurythmy, and community space, as well as additional classroom spaces for our early childhood and grade needs. As we continue to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school, our stable finances and a robust endowment will allow SCWS to welcome all families, with various scholarship opportunities and tuition support for all levels of need. In our future, we will continue to be home to a rich mix of cultural and socio-economic diversity; welcoming and celebrating all families and their traditions in an effort to deepen community and foster an ever-growing sense of seeing and meeting each other.

The SCWS is recognized as a flagship Waldorf school; shining brightly from a foundation of AWSNA principles. With that, we strive to continue to be a home and a beacon for children and families in our modern age. Presently, we will continue to protect, enhance and sustain this beautiful campus, school and community. The bar must be raised because our children deserve it and because it is our duty to ensure this Waldorf education is available for generations to come.

“After working 20+ years as a class teacher at SCWS, it is my very great pleasure to see alumni return as parents and employees of our school. 

Sunny Richter

Grades teacher

Santa Cruz Waldorf School complies with Federal Transparency in Coverage regulations by providing the link below to machine readable files related to the health plans offered to our employees. The machine-readable files are formatted to allow researchers, regulators, and application developers to more easily access and analyze data including negotiated service rates, and out-of-network allowed amounts between health plans and healthcare providers.