Waldorf education began in Germany at the end of the First World War and is inspired by the educational philosophy of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The Waldorf curriculum is designed to meet students’ readiness at each age and stage of development and helps nurture a lifelong love of learning. Today more than 900 Waldorf schools exist worldwide. Those outside the United States are predominantly public schools. In the United States, Waldorf education began as a private school movement, with annual tuition in the thousands of dollars.
In addition to being the first public charter school that is Guided by the Core Principals of Waldorf Education in the United States, Yuba River Charter School was one of the first 100 charter schools authorized by California. Our school embraced a unique mission to usher this unique form of education into the public sector, free of tuition. Our teachers hold both a California teaching credential and a Waldorf training certificate, and half of them also have master’s degrees.
Our school meets both state standards and curriculum goals, which are guided by the principals of Waldorf Education while remaining open to all students regardless of economic status. Students from YRCS are known for their confidence, academic excellence, social skills, mastery of handwork, and Spanish-language skills. The faculty imparts a curriculum infused with the arts and music. Teachers develop a deep personal awareness and knowledge of each child’s journey.
Yuba River Charter School is widely recognized as the pioneering model for a public school that is Guided by the Principals of Waldorf Education in the United States. Many of our leadership and administrative programs have been resourced and replicated by educational organizations endeavoring to establish similar educational models. YRCS was one of the founding schools in establishing the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education (APWE).
In 2002, YRCS received a project grant from the State of California to align our curriculum which is Guided by the Core Principals of Waldorf Education to state standards. Since its completion, this project has been used as a template for many other public charter schools throughout the country.
YRCS has also created a unique business model in the founding of the Nevada County Charter Cooperative. This model allows us, despite being a small school, to obtain business services in collaboration with other charter schools. The full range of services accessed includes special education, payroll and accounting, and mandated state reporting assistance, all at a manageable cost.YRCS’s award-winning governance model also serves as an example for other charter schools. The YRCS Board of Directors is made up of faculty, administrators, parents, and community members, each with an equal voice. The Charter Council approves budgets, the school calendar, curriculum, and policies while being responsible for oversight and accountability.
Our unique approach to special education includes providing peer mentoring, a classroom-based approach, and Student Success Teams and proactively supporting our special needs students.
In 2006, Rudolph Steiner College began offering Waldorf teacher training at YRCS through our Community Learning Center (CLC). This program is open to the public, as well as to teachers seeking Waldorf certification.