A Waldorf school is coming to the Treasure Valley in the fall. It's a 100-year-old teaching philosophy based on the arts and nature. Currently there are two Waldorf schools in Idaho, one in Hailey and one in Sandpoint, but this will be the first one locally.
The school will be called Peace Valley and will be located in the soon-to-be renovated Clearwater Research Building off Federal Way in Boise.
"The main focus is developmentally appropriate," said Laura Henning, who is the Peace Valley executive director. "We're really focused on the development of the child and their stages and to make sure we're teaching things at the right time."
When Peace Valley opens in the fall, Henning says students will learn through music, dance, art projects and a lot of outdoor activities.
"So the idea is that they're immersed in the world of nature and that's their canvas for learning," said Henning.
The back of the school will have garden spaces and play areas, and animals are also part of the plan.
"So we really want children to understand where their food comes from, how it's grown, and how to do it in a method that's sustainable," said Henning.
Other key components of Peace Valley are students learning a foreign language starting in the first grade and delaying the use of computers.
"So we look at technology as a tool and so it's a tool for a particular purpose but we don't use it as a means of education," said Henning. "It would be around sixth grade when they use technology as a tool."
Peace Valley might not be right for everyone, but for those families who believe it is Henning says it's worth a try.
"What we can create is imaginative, creative, flexible, dynamic thinkers and they can take on any challenge that presents them in the future," said Henning.
Peace Valley will be K-6 to begin with and will accept 320 students. After three years the school will expand to K-8 and the hope is to have a Waldorf school on the west side of the Treasure Valley at that point as well.
To learn more about Peace Valley click here. The lottery for admission takes place next week.