Charter school based on Waldorf education expands to San Jose

Charter school based on Waldorf education expands to San Jose

Six years after the idea of a Waldorf-inspired public charter school was discussed by a group of parents in Atlantic Beach, the second location of Seaside Charter Schools will open this fall.

Seaside Charter School​s has leased approximately 8,000 square feet of space from Congregation Ahavath Chesed – The Temple, 8727 San Jose Blvd.

“We initially will be leasing 11 classrooms. As our lease progresses, we will be leasing a total of 21 classrooms,” said Rick Pinchot, principal. “Outside, we plan to have an athletic field, two playgrounds, class gardens, and a meditation garden.”

Administered by the Seaside Schools Consortium, the schools offer tuition-free public charter schools with a rigorous arts and science-infused, standards-based curriculum inspired by principles of Public Waldorf Education. Established in 1919 in Germany, Waldorf is based on Rudolf Steiner’s theory of child development, with learning strategies appropriate to each of three stages of development. It also emphasizes the role of imagination in learning.

The original Seaside Community Charter School opened in August 2013 in Atlantic Beach with 90 children in kindergarten through second grade. In 2015, the school added a preschool and in 2016 grew to include fifth grade.

“The parents who started our first school and make up our board had always intended to open more schools in the Jacksonville area. We began writing our application for our second charter with Duval County Schools in 2015,” said Pinchot. “Our goal was to build a school closer to downtown. We looked at locations in San Marco, downtown, Southside, Arlington, and San Jose. 

“During our search, we were notified that the Temple was interested in leasing their school space. We met with the Temple and toured the facility. Some of their leaders came and toured our current school in Mayport. Both groups felt it would be a great fit.”

The charter for the San Jose location was approved on October 4, 2016 and will open in the 2017-2018 school year. Seaside Schools Consortium also offers an early learning centers for children up to six years old at each location.

“We will be starting as a K-3 in San Jose, but each year we will add a grade level to eventually grow to a K-8,” said Pinchot. “Our first year we will employ 11 classroom teachers and approximately 10 resource teachers and support staff. Two of our classrooms will be a privately-run preschool.”

The San Jose location is planning for a capacity of 182 its first year.

“Our capacity for this year at The Temple is 10 3-year-olds, 10 4-year-olds, 54 in kindergarten, 54 in first grade, 36 in second grade and 18 in third grade,” said Pinchot.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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