Elementary Schools

Please click to find general information about choosing a private school in Boulder, Colorado, or general information about Waldorf education.

Boulder, Colorado is blessed with two Waldorf elementary schools: Shepherd Valley and Shining Mountain.

While mainstream schools are increasingly focusing on the three R’s, Waldorf elementary schools are incredibly well-rounded, while turning out graduates that also¬†excel in standard academic subjects. From first grade, children in the Boulder Waldorf elementary schools learn two foreign languages, learn to play musical instruments, learn handwork skills, listen to stories, and still have lots of time for physical activity. While these types of study are typically considered “frills”, in Waldorf schools they are considered part of the core curriculum, because they develop the full capacities of a whole human being. It may be a little counter-intuitive for some, but these types of non-academic learning also seem to support a greater capacity for academic learning, as well, in the long run.

Waldorf really differs from mainstream education in that reading is taught more slowly through the early elementary grades. Foundational skills are taught in first grade, with gradual development through second grade. Full reading skills can develop at different rates for different students, and they are taught comprehensively in third grade. Waldorf starts with an emphasis on learning to listen and speak, then to write, and finally to read, which allows the learning to unfold in a way that is natural and stress-free for most students. By about fifth grade, Waldorf students are reading at least as well as children with a mainstream education, and there is some evidence that children who learned to read at a later age enjoy reading more, and spend more of their leisure time reading.