Our 2023 -2024 Open Enrollment period began on January 2, 2023. Open Enrollment closes on Friday, February 24 by midnight. All applications received during the Open Enrollment Period will receive qualifying priorities and will be included in the Open Enrollment Lottery Pool taking place Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
We welcome you to attend a Parent Information Meeting (PIM) before applying. Our PIM dates are listed below with an RSVP.
Contact the Enrollment Coordinator with any questions.
We have helpful Informational Articles and Resources for more information about our philosophy and community.
Applications received after Open Enrollment, will go into submitted status.
*Note: Children turning five by April 2nd are eligible for Transitional Kindergarten for the 23-24 school year.
Our Parent Information Meetings (PIM) are on the school site and include a walk through the grades and kindergarten, question and answer session, and an overview of the enrollment process. After the meeting, an application form will be made available to you for our pool. Please remember that these meetings are for ADULTS ONLY. You may RSVP by clicking on the date you would like to attend. For enrollment questions and future PIM dates, contact by calling 916-597-1033 or email the enrollment coordinator.
Attend a parent information meeting. Applications will be made available at the end of the meeting and must be completed during open enrollment in January and February.
Applicants are then entered into a lottery for a public random drawing. Parents will be notified via email, and have 48 hours to respond.
Once the space os accepted, a preregistration packet will be emailed for parents to complete.
We have two locations to serve students and families. You must attend a PIM (Parent Information Meeting) at the school where you are interested in having your child attend. Please note: our Outdoor Kindergarten and Grades Hybrid Home Study Programs are only available at the Golden Valley River School. If you are interested in this option, please attend a PIM at the River School.
Applications will not be considered if you have not attended a meeting at your desired school.
As a school of choice, Golden Valley is a desirable option for families. We believe that a strong Waldorf education starts with a dedicated, highly-qualified faculty/staff in partnership with a well-informed, committed parent body. The following enrollment process allows parents to educate themselves about our curriculum and school culture before applying. Please follow these steps when applying for a space at one of our schools.
Waldorf education is a multi-disciplinary, arts-infused, integrated approach to learning which addresses the whole child – focusing on academic, practical and artistic development equally. This model of education awakens imagination and creative powers, bringing vitality and wholeness to learning. The teacher’s aim is to draw out the children’s inherent capacities by creating an atmosphere in the classroom that fills the children with interest, wonder and enthusiasm. Waldorf education was created by Rudolf Steiner and the first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. Since then Waldorf schools have been established all over the world. Significantly, schools have recently opened in China and grown in popularity within the public school system in the United States. For more information about our Curriculum visit our Golden Valley Orchard School or Golden Valley River School page.
Public charter schools are tuition-free public schools offering a wide-variety of educational choices to parents. Some charter schools emphasize technology and others, the arts. There are
also charter schools that offer an educational model that was previously available only in the private sector such as Montessori or, as is the case with Golden Valley, Waldorf education.
Charter schools are governed by an independent Board of Trustees rather than the local School Board. This affords each charter school more autonomy in creating curriculum and developing a school culture. Because they are schools of choice, charter schools are held to the highest level of accountability.
Charter schools see education is a partnership between school and home. Many charter schools expect a higher level of interaction and involvement from parents than traditional public schools. In exchange, the schools provide benefits such as smaller class size, more personalized attention for each child, and a stronger emphasis on character development.
An overview of public charter schools can be found at www.nobulling.com/charterschools.
Golden Valley provides a tuition-free elementary and middle school public option for families who desire Waldorf education for their children (our River School is K-8 and our Orchard School
will be K-8 by 2018). We are Waldorf public charter school because we believe the Waldorf approach most effectively prepares our students for a lifetime of learning. Our holistic approach
integrates the education of the head, heart, and hands. We integrate the arts in every part of the day—singing, movement, drawing, painting, story and drama-with our content-rich
curriculum as the focus. We incorporate developmentally appropriate social skills and emotional intelligence that builds virtues such as respect and collaboration. We expand the definition of
classroom beyond four walls into natural resource treasures on and off campus.
We serve a diverse socio-economic student population and have aligned our curriculum to meet the California Common Core Standards. Our rich Waldorf curriculum, which is both broad and deep, goes beyond meeting the State of California’s content requirements. Because our curriculum is based upon developmental stages of childhood, the timing of when various skills and content are brought to the children is not identical with the Common Core Standards, but by the end of the 8th grade all standards are covered, including the standards that address technology. Our students graduate from Golden Valley well equipped for success in high school and, more importantly, for a lifetime of learning and contributing.
Waldorf schools including Golden Valley believe that direct human interaction and authentic, real world experiences have the most positive impact on brain development in children. Recent scientific research has shown that too much screen-time has been linked to the following:
Too much screen-time is now also being linked to many childhood learning disorders, including ADD and ADHD.
State Testing is required by California law for all public schools. Our teachers present the testing in a nurturing way to the children, making it as fun as possible. Although we do cover all the material in the Common Core, we do so on a different time-table from traditional public schools. See our Curriculum section here (link).
Traditionally, Waldorf schools discouraged technology in the form of screen and auditory media for elementary school-aged children (see the FAQ on limiting media). At Golden Valley, we believe that this is the healthiest option for children; limiting screen time and encouraging imaginative play and real life learning builds capacities to imagine possibilities, problem-solve and innovate. However, the State of California requires all students in 3rd-8th grade to participate in Smarter Balanced Testing on a yearly basis. With that in mind, we use computers as a tool. Our younger students are taught basic skills in order to participate in testing, and our older students are taught keyboarding, safe use of the internet and research skills for academic assignments including the 8th Grade Project.
“Handwork is so fun because we get to work on so many different things! Eighth grade also gets to get taught how to do the May Pole dance. We learn so much fun and cool stuff in Handwork class. It's amazing how Ms. Petty, our handwork teacher, knows how to do so many awesome things.”
"She's (Ms. Thormon) cool! I like her choices for drawings and paintings. We learned new techniques to draw from the inside to the outside of the page."
“So fun! I love knitting and finger knitting”
“I like knitting and going outside with Mrs. Gow to knit.”
Please review the informational articles listed on our Resources page and become familiar with the School Policies before making the final decision to enter your child’s application. All enrollment offers are communicated by the enrollment coordinator. School principals do not offer enrollment.
Note: Open Enrollment at Golden Valley is not affiliated with Open Enrollment at San Juan Unified School District. If you would like to Open Enroll at a San Juan school, visit www.sanjuan.edu/openenrollment for more information about their process.