Emerson Waldorf School began in 1984, with 21 kindergarten children and 7 second and third graders in two classrooms rented from a local church. Rapid growth to 58 students in 1985 and 105 in 1986 kept us scrambling for more space, and we soon bought a 15 acre site and began building our campus. We moved into our new classroom building in February 1987 and, in the fall of 1987, began school with 146 students in kindergarten through Grade 8. The same year we became a fully sponsored member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
Soon, we purchased a ten-acre parcel of land adjacent to our school, converted the house on that property into our Early Childhood building – which we still use today – and embarked on our West Wing Building project: a debt free structure, built in phases as money was raised, by community labor. The first phase was completed in 1993, and the whole building in 1998.
In 2000, we decided to start our High School and began a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the High School building and for several improvements to our campus: our new Woodland Shop, our Handwork and Music buildings, and infrastructure improvements. Our first 9th grade class began in fall of 2002, first in rented rooms in a church, and then in a trailer on the farm next door to the school. We moved into our new High School building in the Fall of 2003. That same year, we bought the farm across the road from the school, to provide sports fields for our growing sports program, and land on which to build a farming and gardening program.
Our first High School graduation was held in June of 2006, with a class of 15 students, many of whom were Waldorf “lifers”, having started at EWS as kindergarten students and spent all of their school years with us. In 2006, we also started our Nursery School and Morning Garden Parent-Child programs, and a building to house those programs was opened in January 2007. We now offer programs for children from ages 0 (Parent-Child) through 12th grade.
In 2010, we reached another milestone, as we became accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SASC) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).