One of our goals for this trip is to visit Waldorf schools so we were pleased to get the chance to visit Mountain Sage Community School, a tuition-free Waldorf-inspired charter school in Fort Collins, Colo.
This school, now in its third year, was located in a business park. This wouldn’t seem like an ideal site but it worked out surprisingly well because it was right next to trails and open space. They also converted a nearby empty lot into a big playground.
The school definitely pulled off the classic Waldorf look. The classrooms were painted in the traditional soft pastel colors, scarves were hanging on the wall to soften the lights and natural materials of wood and stone were in abundance everywhere.
The staff told me Fort Collins had a private Waldorf school at one time but it went under years ago. I’m sure the seeds planted by that endeavor helped to make this school a success. The teachers told me it took five years to get the school approved and in that time they had many challenges like losing a school site. After working on the unsuccessful effort to start a Waldorf-inspired charter school in Modesto, I am especially impressed by this school and others that have come to fruition.
After finishing up our tour, we took a staff member’s recommendation to have lunch at the FoCo Café. What a great suggestion. This wonderful little restaurant doesn’t have any set prices. Customers pay what they wish and are encouraged to volunteer if they don’t have any money. We had a meal of delicious sweet potato soup, homemade bread and fresh locally-grown salad. It was so encouraging to visit a place that has faith that people will do the right thing. It was quite a contrast from a previous roadside café we had visited that had signs posted everywhere warning non-customers to not use the bathroom and admonishing people not to talk on their cell phone, chew tobacco and a million other things.
Colorado has a long history of Waldorf schools. Nearby Boulder and Denver have several private schools, including high schools. I wanted to visit the private highly-recommended Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder but Lee said we should skip it since its $12,000 annual tuition would be out of reach for us.