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Home | The Marin Preschool Guide | Marin Waldorf School

Marin Waldorf School

Through a progressive developmental based approach to education, Marin Waldorf School has been helping Bay Area parents raise confident, self-reliant, resilient and morally intelligent children for the past 40 years. Waldorf education goes beyond the development of the intellect, focusing on the development of the whole human being and helping children bring goodness, beauty and truth into the world.

The Early Childhood Program for Toddlers, Preschool and Kindergarten provides a nurturing homelike environment. Children focus on imaginative play, nature, the seasons as well as practical activities like gardening, baking, handwork and woodwork - all essential to the healthy development of the child.

Grades 1-4 is a time for children to understand the relationship between themselves and the world around them. Providing space and encouragement through this developmental stage enables the child to become stable, balanced and self-sufficient. Academic subjects include arithmetic that covers addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, fractions, decimals, geometry and measurement. Language Arts includes grammar, comprehension, composition writing, cursive and poetry. Specialty classes like music, painting, sculpture, movement, foreign language, environmental education and woodworking are interwoven through the curriculum each day.

In grades 5-8 the approach to Waldorf liberal arts education is creative - but it is also rigorous. Entering into the upper grades with a strong foundation from the lower grades, the child can now successfully enter into the next developmental stage where he can flourish as an individual. This is a time of awareness and self-discovery which will lay the path for a lifelong love of learning. The mathematical and science curriculum consists of pre-algebra, geometry, aerodynamics, botany, meteorology, physics and chemistry. Language arts focuses on research compositions, literature, creative writing. Our full spectrum of humanities include Ancient Civilizations, Roman History, Renaissance and the Age of Exploration and then the Age of Revolution. Specialty classes like foreign language, drama, painting, perspective drawing, sculpture, woodworking, outdoor education and orchestra.

Contact: Chantal Valentine, Admissions Director (415) 479-8190 ext. 102

Marin Waldorf School
755 Idylberry Road
San Rafael, CA 94903


Marin Waldorf School: what a wonderful experience

This is the best school I could have ever chosen for my kids. I toured almost 20 schools in Marin before deciding that this was the one. Beautiful campus, nurturing teachers, excellent community. My children are flourishing in ways I could have never imagined. My 3 1/2 year old is fully bilingual already since his preschool teacher Miss Melinda uses both English and Spanish in the classroom.

Simplicity and Creativity

The preschool experience we have had at Marin Waldorf School has been pure magic.

Our daughter has had two years of preschool and what strikes me almost daily is how much in harmony the children are with each other, with their teachers and in this natural, beautiful and simple environment. There are redwood groves, oak trees and the most amazing, natural play yard you could possibly want.

We are pretty mainstream parents and weren't looking for an "alternative education" per se...and we didn't know a lot about Waldorf. We toured and saw what was happening in the early childhood wing of the school (there is also a grade and middle school at Marin Waldorf) and liked the magical feel of the place right away. We wanted some place where our children would be nurtured and allowed to unfold without all the pseudo-academic pressures that seem to be on children at younger and younger ages. There is time for that and we have observed how beautifully the academics within the older graders unfold, too. Much to our surprise and delight, we are considering a Waldorf education for the long term.

We have come to respect and appreciate what so many of the modern studies about child development and neuroscience now affirm (that is also part of the Waldorf approach). Less really is more. Everything will be taught to the children in due is much less rush-rush. And yes, less media has been a real gift...we were a PBS kids family and bravely tried weaning the children off TV and videos and surprise! they don't miss it and play together better than ever.

Yes, as you can already tell, we would recommend this preschool!

We love this school

We love this school! My daughter attended two years of kindergarten at Marin Waldorf School and is currently in 1st grade. She absolutely LOVED kindergarten and is very happy at the school. I toured several schools and ultimately chose this one because it best aligns with my values: environmental sustainability, what is best for the whole child (mental, physical, social/emotional), making learning interesting instead of boring and rote, and the importance of “healthy living” - good nutrition, adequate sleep, limiting media, physical activity, helping with household chores, etc. This is a wholesome place. The students are really happy here.

So much of what is practiced at Waldorf schools is now being supported by research in neuroscience about what helps kids learn. It breaks my heart to think of kids in other schools who have to sit still in desks for long periods of time listening to lectures. The teachers here use multi-modal teaching techniques to more fully engage the child – for example, in first grade they go outside and jump rope to answer math problems, they learn Spanish through puppets and songs, etc. If you take a tour, you’ll see the kids don’t open textbooks and memorize things – instead they CREATE their own textbooks, rich in illustrations and helping them to more fully digest the material in their own words. They are taught to knit – the teacher said there are many studies showing that learning to knit (following the thread, through the needles) helps students with reading comprehension “following the thread of the storyline.” Before learning an abstract concept, they first experience a concrete example. I could go on.

There’s a lot of buzz lately about the film Race to Nowhere in which schools today are making kids depressed and stressed out, with so much emphasis on testing and cramming academics at an early age. The Waldorf approach is an antidote. Instead of being burned out, by eighth grade these kids love to learn and know how to think. They are intelligent, creative, poised, confident, and mature. You will see this if you attend a tour and see the alumni panel, or just talk to the kids. If you are worried about a two-year, non-academic kindergarten, I heard in a tour of a Waldorf-methods charter school that the two countries with the highest literacy rates don’t teach their kids to read until age 7 (one country is Sweden, I can’t recall the other.) By about the fourth grade, the academics catch up and then surpass the public schools.


I can't recommend Marin Waldorf School enough. Not only is my first grader excited to go to school everyday but he is getting an amazing and unique education. If he's not rattling off multiplication or division equations he's singing in Mandarin. He also loves his art and music classes. It's such a well rounded education. He has great friends in all different grades because the children feel so close to each other. And the sense of community helps us all feel connected.

My kind of education

After touring this school for my son's Kindergarten in 2014 it was clear to me that this should have been my school when I was little. Set in beautiful surroundings with a magic forest, fields to play and run in it's a wonderful place that will take you back into your own childhood. There is no stress and the atmosphere is therapeutic. It's wonderful to see my son being so happy to learn and excited every day to go to class. It doesn't matter if it's Mandarin, Spanish or Music, Writing etc. he is like a sponge. With teachers that are committed, loving and dedicated. If you are into a slower pace school that encourages the imagination and innovation in your child than you should check it out. I'm glad I did

Unparalleled Education

As a health practitioner specializing in child and adolescent development, I have not come across a more developmentally therapeutic or strengthening approach to learning than Waldorf education. I am so more impressed by the quality of teaching and academics at Marin Waldorf School. The graduates I have known from MWS are performing academically beyond their peers and thriving in all kinds of high schools across Marin county, where teachers consistently notice how the Waldorf grads coming in have many advantages. The approach to developing highly adaptable, critical thinkers and problem solvers also has immediate benefits in the early years: happier, less stressed kids who are given the opportunity to have a childhood.