History of Spring River

Waldorf Teacher with student in Jacksonville Florida

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.”

~ Rudolf Steiner

Spring River School is an initiative of Jacksonville Educational Community, a non-profit educational organization.  Spring River was founded by parents and local educators from the community who were driven by a common desire to create a transformative educational experience focused on the whole-child approach.  This led to the creation of Jacksonville's first Waldorf-inspired K-8 outdoor education program.  

 

The school began in 2014 by gathering in local parks for seasonal community festivals and parent education study groups.  The following year we began offering homeschool enrichment classes that included World Languages, Movement, Handwork, Nature Immersion, and Dramatic Arts. Based on the needs of the growing community, we expanded to include a full offering of academic main lessons and enrichment classes, all taught by experienced professional educators. Our teachers also developed the area's first K-5 Nature Immersion Forest School, which meets in local preserves and parks.

Spring River was established out of love and respect for childhood and a common understanding that teaching is an art.  We serve approximately 100 students from all over the Jacksonville area.   We are excited about our newest offering: Spring River's Dewdrops, an unstructured parent-led playgroup with outdoor meet-ups once a week at local parks.  This playgroup is for caregivers and their young children, ages birth to 5.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, we took our programming 100% outdoors on daily field trips and are the only "All Outdoor School" in Northeast Florida.  Our families are registered homeschoolers, and we believe that is what serves our community best at this time; however, our strategic plan includes steps toward Florida Independent School status and AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) accreditation in the future, while still continuing to serve and support our homeschooling families.  

 

Our pioneering teachers are supported by a program director, an enrollment director, a committed board of directors and a vibrant volunteer community.  We offer hands-on creative programming inspired by Waldorf methods of learning, meeting each family with warmth and joy. We support one another through homeschool classes, festivals, and community gatherings. Our goal is for our community to grow and to continue learning and enriching our lives through a shared experience and reverence for the wondrous capacities of human beings, most especially our children. Spring River is a Florida non-profit organization with a commitment to serving all families.

Spring River supports and embraces diversity in all of its forms, including differences in ethnicity, cultural and religious heritage, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, geographic origin, and family structure.  We provide our students with a rich, inclusive curriculum that reflects the world in which we live and fosters a safe atmosphere where every member of the community is respected, and multiple viewpoints can be peacefully expressed. Diversity within our community is an asset. For this reason, we actively cultivate this diversity in all aspects of school life including the composition of our student body, staff, and leadership. We commit to work through the tensions that arise in the midst of genuine community and to use those tensions as a vehicle to self-reflect critically and fearlessly. We believe this commitment to diversity will help prepare today’s children for tomorrow’s world.