Waldorf School relocates to former Weyerhaeuser estate

Music and the arts with a focus on creative critical thinking is a pillar of the Tacoma Waldorf School curriculum. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Waldorf School

The Tacoma Waldorf School, a specialized educational provider focused on imagination in learning, natural resources, and outdoor play, is relocating to the 16,000-square-foot education center on the former Weyerhaeuser estate in North Tacoma (North Stevens and North 43rd Street) this summer.

The school serves toddlers through fifth grade. With the additional space, Enrollment Coordinator Chantal Hulet said the school plans to start a sixth grade class next fall and by the 2020-21 school year have capacity up to the eighth grade.

The 16,000-square-foot education center on the former Weyerhaeuser estate property in North Tacoma will be the new home for Tacoma Waldorf School. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Waldorf School

The education center is two floors that includes a common-area community room, preschool and kindergarten classrooms, grade school classrooms, art rooms, and future space for a middle school. A commercial-size kitchen is also included. The school plans to utilize the kitchen for its early childhood curriculum.

“Our early childhood program incorporates a meal into the day, and the children are a part of that,” Hulet said. “We need to have commercial-kitchen standards in order to do that.”

Pristine and preserved wooded areas on the Weyerhaeuser estate property will encourage outdoor play for Tacoma Waldorf school students. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Waldorf School

Enrollment last year was 54 students and grew to 80 at the start of the 2017-18 school year, including eight children in the toddler class.

Hulet said Waldorf’s curriculum is different from traditional public schools in that there is not a focus on “high-stakes testing.”

“Children are challenged in different ways besides paper testing, so time isn’t spent on preparing and taking those tests,” Hulet said.

Creative critical thinking is valued and evoked by teachers when focused on math, writing, music, and the arts.

Hulet said the school also plans to leverage the six acres of pristine natural outdoors.

“The landscaping of the property has been maintained from almost its original state,” Hulet said. “Students will be able to participate in the natural world.”

On Jan. 20, the school raised $55,000 at a fundraiser gala at the chapel on the former Weyerhaeuser estate. Funds were raised via different sponsorship levels. Dinner was served and live music included performances by Waldorf school students. Funds raised will support moving costs, classroom adjustments in support of early childhood and grade school curriculum, as well as the development of inside play spaces.

Open enrollment for the 2018-19 school year begins Feb. 26. To enroll, call Hulet at (253) 383-8711 or e-mail enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org. To learn more, visit tacomawaldorf.org.

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