Here We Grow!

Growth & Permanent Location

We are so excited to be growing!

Our school is growing into a full Kindergarten - Middle School. The 2022-23 school year will be the launch of City Garden School Kindergarten and the beginning of our Middle School. We will begin with 6th grade and grow to a full 6-8 Middle School, starting with 6th grade this fall (2022), 7th grade next fall (2023), and then 8th grade the following fall (2024).

Moving forward, we have outgrown Camp Takimina as a full-time location. Through visioning and planning the College of Teachers and Board of Directors, we have decided to actively pursue a permanent indoor-outdoor schooling location to call home. We are extremely excited to share our plans for the future. Learn more HERE.

Stay tuned for information on our Capital Campaign to raise the funds to build our beautiful, eco-friendly, indoor-outdoor school in keeping with the values and vision of City Garden.

2022-23 School Year Changes

The idea for the 2022-2023 school year is to continue the outdoor Fridays at Camp Takimina as weather permits. Additionally, we will introduce seasonal Nature Intensives. Three weeks in the Fall and three weeks in the Spring will be spent in the woods, fully immersed in nature schooling out at Camp. As we actively pursue our plans for growth and setting down roots, we can regroup and save our resources (time, money, and energy) by making Karis our regular schooling home for next school year.

It is our hope that through flexibility and your commitment to Waldorf-inspired education, we can make it another year together in our "not forever" home while we plan and build a truly magical and dreamy forever home for City Garden School.

Changes to School Day for 2022-23

Please check the School Calendar page for updates for the 2022-23 school year. The full year calendar is published and will be updated if and when there are changes.

The school day will start at 8:10, with 7:50 drop-off, and end at 2:30 (20 minutes longer each day).

Kindergarten Vision Middle School Vision Building Committee

Kindergarten Committee

Molly Campbell -- Willow Tree Playschool; City Garden School Board

Emily Harryman -- City Garden School teacher

Sarah Linsenmeyer -- Wildflower Play School

Jordan Johnson -- City Garden School Director

Middle School Committee

Nicole Knapp-Webber -- City Garden School Teacher

Jordan Johnson -- City Garden School Director

Building Committee

Jessi Musick -- City Garden School Board

Nicole Knapp-Webber -- City Garden School Teacher

Jordan Johnson -- City Garden School Director

Emily Harryman -- City Garden School teacher

Katy Shaffer -- City Garden School Interim Director

Neeley Currant -- City Garden School Teacher

Beth Anderson -- City Garden School Board

Mac LeMone -- Little Dixie Construction

Tim Crockett -- Crockett Engineering

Plans for A Beautiful Kindergarten

Waldorf education is an independent school movement developed in Germany over 100 years ago by Austrian philosopher and visionary Rudolf Steiner. Today, Waldorf education is worldwide, with about 1090 schools and nearly 2000 kindergartens in over 70 countries. In Waldorf education, the learning process is threefold, engaging the head, heart, and hands—or thinking, feeling, and doing. Waldorf teachers nurture and engage each child through a curriculum and approach that integrates academics, arts, and practical skills.

Since the founding of the Steiner School in New York in 1928, Waldorf education has been available in the US, but it has never been especially well-known here. Today, increasing dissatisfaction over the high-stakes testing consuming mainstream education; growing recognition of the benefits a child receives through experiences with art, movement, and nature; concern about over-reliance on technology by younger and younger students; and the disclosure that leaders in the tech industry are proclaiming the lifelong benefits of low-tech schools for the education of their children, more parents and educators are choosing what the Waldorf approach has to offer.

*photo from City Garden School kindergarten

*photo from the Rudolf Steiner School of New York City

Young children live in their senses; all they learn comes from their direct and immediate daily life experiences. Through creative action and interaction with everything around them—children acquire the foundations of intellectual knowledge and an everlasting appreciation for the world in which they live.

The City Garden School kindergarten program is designed as a sensory-rich environment for children to discover what lies in the world and to grow all the capacities within the children themselves. It aims to cultivate the foundations for lives of sustained learning and purpose in young children.

Three elements distinguish the City Garden School kindergarten program from other more mainstream classrooms: a homelike environment, authentic work for real purpose, imagination and play. The CGS kindergarten will be furnished to look much like a home, with wool rugs, a rocking chair, natural curtains, and wooden tables and chairs. Teachers have consciously chosen playthings for the classroom to nourish a young child's senses and surround them with beauty. Toys in the classroom are made of natural fibers and materials because they are comforting, charming, and designed to promote sensory development, improve cognitive growth, and develop fine and gross motor skills.

Our teachers model meaningful, purposeful work in the classroom by engaging in cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing, and knitting. Outdoors, teachers are gardening, filling bird feeders, raking leaves, or shoveling snow. Children engage in and assist with all these activities. They learn fundamental life skills as they become confident and capable helpers.

We emphasize the importance of imagination in childhood and believe that imaginative play is the key to creative thinking later in life. Ample time will be allowed each day for unstructured, imaginative play without a lot of adult interference. You may see children becoming cats and mice; witness tea parties in the play kitchen; boys and girls building large structures out of wooden play-stands draped with large silks; building with stumps and natural tree blocks; or donning capes and crowns or other costumes. Free play is the heart of a City Garden School kindergarten morning.

Our teachers work intentionally with the concept of "rhythm," the rhythm of the day, the rhythm of the week, and the year's rhythm. The daily rhythm is a routine, predictable schedule. An example day is a morning that starts with free play, followed by cleanup, circle time, rest time, snack time, outdoor time, storytime, and lunch. This daily rhythm will be the same all year long. Once the children become accustomed to the rhythm, they relax into it and benefit from the predictability of the school day. They feel confident and secure, knowing what to expect. That lends itself to a sense of calm at the school.

*photo from The Waldorf School of New Orleans

*photo from Highgate House School

We have put a lot of thought and careful planning into looking for toys that will inspire and ignite the imagination and open-ended toys (that is, toys that children can play with in a variety of ways). We have chosen playthings that are not too formed and fixed, leaving some room for the imagination. For example, we prefer dolls and puppets that have minimal features. This allows children to imagine happy, sad, or angry faces and develop their inner ability to distinguish emotions. We also choose toys made from natural fibers and materials that produce a calming quality we observe in children's play.

All children at City Garden School learn handwork beginning in early childhood. Children in kindergarten class will learn to “finger knit" (creating a crocheted chain with their fingers) and to sew. Children and teachers create craft projects all year long, connected to the seasons and festivals of the year. When children move to 1st grade, they knit with knitting needles, and as they move upward through the grades, they learn to crochet, embroider, make animal toys, and more. Research has documented the connection between the benefits of developing fine motor skills through handwork to brain development. It all begins with the foundations taught in kindergarten.

We invite you to visit CGS and watch the students at play. You will see children delighting in being allowed to live in the moment, free to explore nature and go where their wide-eyed sense of wonder and imagination takes them. In our hectic world, where pushing children to "hurry up or fall behind" has become the norm, City Garden School takes the view that childhood is to be savored. When children are free to develop according to their own natural rhythms, they enjoy full and rich childhoods, acquiring the experiences they need to become healthy, self-actualized individuals.

*photo from Outschool Waldorf-Inspired Kindergarten

*photo from Summerfield Waldorf School

*photo from Rudolf Steiner School in Hamburg-Altona