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Who We Are
Urban Prairie Waldorf School is a vibrant community of educators and families who embrace the unique Waldorf curriculum, drawn from the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner.
Urban Prairie Waldorf School educates children by awakening a love of learning, encouraging reverence and wonder in the world, and nurturing the capacity to impart purpose and direction to their lives.
- Vigorous and inspired academics infused with meaning, art, and beauty
- Social connectedness and self confidence
- Free thinking informed by strong moral compass
- Delight in and respect for nature in our urban environment
- We envision Urban Prairie Waldorf School at the leading edge of Waldorf education in America.
- We innovate on the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and contemporary pedagogical philosophy to build an educational program that is developmentally engaging, meets the here and now, and prepares our students for an ever-changing future.
- Our school is a magnet for seekers and doers, who build a close-knit community that is diverse yet connected by shared ideals. We are intentional, accessible, and collaborative. Our relationships are deep and meaningful.
- Our campus is in harmony with our surroundings and emphasizes ecological and societal awareness.
- Our education contains the seeds for social transformation.
Urban Prairie is an independent, Waldorf elementary school located in the city of Chicago. We also offer a Parent-Child program for parents and children ages 0-3. Early childhood and kindergarten year programs are offered by City Garden Early Childhood Center, our nearby affiliate school. Urban Prairie is a not-for-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) status and a developing member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
Our curriculum includes math, science, and language arts seamlessly interwoven with music, movement, and art. Our students also study Spanish and Chinese, eurythmy, and handwork. Recess is a regular part of our day for all grades.
The whole of Waldorf education works toward personal development and cultivating academically accomplished individuals who have the skills to innovate change, the feeling to care, and the will to implement their ideas. Every aspect of the Waldorf curriculum integrates these goals.
The early years of the children’s lives are protected by loving, capable teachers who view the educational experience through a qualitative, as well as quantitative, lens. Such teaching practices call forth the best in our students, rather than fill them with facts for tests.
Urban Prairie students primarily make their own textbooks under the guidance of their teachers. Because of this, the students build a solid portfolio of their own work over the course of the eight grades that covers topics a wide range of topics.
Our graduates are ready to excel academically and socially in the environment of their choosing.
Urban Prairie Waldorf School was born out of the dreams and hard work of many people.
Its roots stretch back to 2005, with the opening of City Garden Early Childhood Center, a preschool and kindergarten in Pilsen, co-founded by veteran Waldorf teacher Jone Hellesoy and her business partner Victor Kroll. The early childhood center grew quickly, attracting families from across Chicago who were drawn to Waldorf education.
In 2006, several parents of City Garden preschoolers decided to found an elementary school. Watching their three- and four-year-olds, the parents already saw how Waldorf education sparks the imagination. As they weighed their elementary school options, the parents wanted to nurture that spark. They formed a Board of Directors, created a budget, and set a start date.
Urban Prairie opened its doors to a first grade class of 12 students on September 9, 2009, ninety years to the day of the opening of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany. Like the early childhood center, Urban Prairie has grown quickly and now has more than 100 students in grades 1 through 6. In 2016-17 Urban Prairie will offer grades 1 through 8.
This thriving school now offers parent education, workshops in special interests, as well as social events and festivals for our community to gather together and celebrate. While remaining two separate schools, City Garden and Urban Prairie together form one larger community, with the faculty and families working and playing together.
To learn more about Waldorf education, click here.