Who We Are
At Westside Waldorf, you’ll find strong bonds between students and teachers; a welcoming, inclusive environment; and a joyful and diverse student body that approaches education with curiosity, creativity, and courage.
The vision for Westside Waldorf School has been to offer children a school that can be their home from preschool through 8th grade — to build a school that provides community for families for a decade or more as their children move through the grades. Based on Waldorf teachings and philosophy, our curriculum takes a complete approach to learning — “head, heart, and hands” — seeing each child as an individual with innate talents and abilities.
Our school is housed on two campuses: The Early Childhood Center in Santa Monica, which offers parent-child, nursery, and kindergarten classes; and the McComb Campus in Pacific Palisades, which offers a full pre-K through eighth grade program.
Working out of the principles of Waldorf Education, the Westside Waldorf School offers students an education that embraces the academic, the artistic, and the practical. Our mission is to engage the mind, ignite the imagination, and strengthen the will within each student. We strive to achieve these goals by bringing to our students a developmentally appropriate curriculum through artful teaching that promotes independent thinking, individual initiative, and social responsibility while cultivating a thirst for knowledge and lifelong learning. Waldorf education seeks to awaken the true potential of the human being's uniqueness and creativity in thought and expression and strives to be in partnership with families in raising confident, compassionate human beings.
Westside Waldorf School Mission
Waldorf education balances academic rigor with artistic and practical disciplines to cultivate self-confident, motivated, creative and independent thinkers. The critical value of the Waldorf approach is not what is taught, but when and how it is taught. At the heart of the approach is the idea that the gifts of childhood must be valued and protected. This integrated, developmentally appropriate method engages each child physically, intellectually and emotionally in the learning process, introducing subject matter as it corresponds to each stage of readiness. The classical curriculum weaves art into every subject, using music, storytelling, drawing, and movement to bring academic subjects to life. Thematic learning, concentrated main lesson blocks, and remaining with the same teacher over a course of years are all Waldorf innovations that are now supported by research as enhancing the learning process. Waldorf education nurtures a lifelong love of learning and encompasses an integral social dimension that instills a sense of moral purpose.
Waldorf taught me how to think for myself, to be accountable for my actions, to be a good listener, and to be sensitive to the needs of others. It also helped me to focus on the underlying importance of beliefs, and values that are the foundations of good leadership.
— Kenneth Chenault, American Express Company Vice Chairman
Westside Waldorf School has been a full member of WECAN, the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, since 2009. It has been a full member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) since 2018.
Our school is part of an international educational movement, the largest and fastest growing independent school movement in the world. Waldorf/Steiner education is one of the most established and successful models of New Education, begun as part of an initiative for social change by the reformer, philosopher, and visionary Rudolf Steiner. Today there are over 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries.
In its approach to governance, Westside Waldorf School attempts to combine the legal and financial requirements of a modern-day nonprofit organization with Rudolf Steiner’s approach to managing through the Threefold Social Order. Shared governance supports the development of a strong, healthy community from which students learn and grow.
Three bodies assume distinct governance responsibilities and strive for consensus on major policy decisions:
- Board of Trustees oversees fiscal, legal, and structural health.
- College of Teachers oversees instructional theory and practice.
- Administration ensures timely decision making and communications.
The Administration is responsible for the day-to-day management, communication, and decision-making necessary for maintaining a dynamic, healthy school environment. It is led by the Executive Director, who also manages the school's daily operations and nurtures connections among the pillars of governance. Committee members are responsive to the evolving needs and challenges of the school as a whole, and work collaboratively with the college, board, parents, faculty, and staff to achieve the highest standards of excellence in Waldorf education.
Westside Waldorf School is an independent, self-administered, collaboratively led institution, organized for charitable purposes under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law of California, and under Section 501(c)(3) of applicable federal laws.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for legal and fiduciary stewardship, strategic planning, budget approval, fundraising leadership, and risk management oversight of the school's affairs.
The College of Teachers guides the pedagogical life and educational vision of the school and holds the spirit of the school. Members have a commitment to Waldorf education and anthroposophy.
Central leadership team with representatives from the Administration led by the Executive Director who collectively ensure timely decision-making and communications to the community..
Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
— Henry Ford