History of Spring River
“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 sprung forth from the twenty-five year tradition of The Playgarden , an oasis for early childhood and LifeWays Center in Jacksonville Beach that began as the Jacksonville Waldorf Initiative in April 1995. Parents from that community, joined by local educators, were driven by a common desire to create a transformative educational experience where their children could grow and learn in the spirit of the Waldorf education they had enjoyed and appreciated during those early childhood days. Those desires took form first as seasonal community festivals and parent education groups in 2014, then as enrichment classes supporting the homeschool efforts of the families who chose that path in 2015, and finally as a full offering of main lesson and enrichments for homeschooling families in the fall of 2018. We were gratefully part of The Playgarden organization from 2016-2021, and were supported by The Playgarden in forming our own nonprofit organization, Jacksonville Educational Community, Inc./DBA Spring River School on July 1, 2021.
Spring River was developed out of love and respect for childhood and a common understanding that teaching is an art. We serve approximately 80 students in grades K-7 from all over the Jacksonville, FL area. We plan to add grade 8 in 2022-23. Beginning in the fall of 2021, Spring River took our programming 100% outdoors on daily field trips and is 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.