Berkeley Rose Waldorf School

Community Subscriber

Private School
English, Spanish
175 students
Email: info [at] berkeleyrose.orgPhone: 510-859-7679
2515 Hillegass Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705
Editors' Notes: 

Berkeley Rose Waldorf School, now 15 years old, offers a whole-child curriculum with fine arts integrated into academic programs. All of our teachers are Waldorf-trained and accredited or pursuing Waldorf training. The 104 year old pedagogy was created to heal a war-torn world, so acceptance, curiosity, appreciation of others, tolerance and cultural reverence are part of the design. Students are held close, childhood is cherished and preserved, learning happens off-line and is tangible, hands-on. Students develop skills and capacities, learning to think for tomorrow's world, through the developmentally-appropriate curriculum that covers all world religions, history, and cultures. 

Parent Reviews

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My child isn’t old enough to look for schools yet, but one thing you may want to consider is that the vaccination rate for kindergarteners at Berkeley Rose Waldorf was only 29% in 2017 ( Good luck with your search!

I wanted to reply to the part of your question that concerns small, private schools for 2018-19. I am a parent at Berkeley Rose Waldorf School and I also now work for the school as the Outreach Coordinator. My children are in first and fourth grades. I invite you to come explore our school at our tour on Thursday, November 30 at 8:30 am or our open house on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 10 am to learn more about Waldorf Education. Our programs are centered around delivering the curriculum as it is developmentally appropriate based on children's learning stages. We have had several homeschooling families successfully transfer into our school in the last years. The class sizes do not go above 20:1 in the grades (and are currently more like 14 kids per grade); we are at 120 children in our school from preschool to fifth grade and will be adding sixth grade next Fall.  We offer Mandarin and Spanish, orchestra, music, handwork, movement, math and language arts, gardening and lots of outdoor time with fine art integrated into every subject.  If this sounds like it might be appealing to your family, you are welcome to come see for yourself. Our community is wonderful and the rewards of volunteering are a large part of our success. Our tuition is approximately half of what most schools of our quality and capacity charge in this area. Good luck in your search. --Kim   kim [at]


I totally understand.  I felt the same way when my son was in pre-school.  

Both my children attend Berkeley Rose School.  It's a Waldorf school in Berkeley and the children spend TONS of time outside, especially in Kindergarten.  They do not do academics in Waldorf Kindergardens.  They focus on play, purposeful work, socializing, fine and gross motor development, gardening, cooking, climbing, songs, stories and did I emphasize play!  I would really recommend you going to see the Kindergarten classroom at Berkeley Rose School.  The children are relaxed and happy (parents too!).  

Berkeley Rose Waldorf School is truly a wonderful school for anyone looking to let their children be children for as long as it is possible. My daughter absolutely loves going to school, and I couldn't be any happier! In kindergarten her job was to play; through her play she learned so much and is now thriving in the grades. The teachers at the school are AMAZING, they are passionate and give so much of themselves. Best of luck!

My daughter attends Berkeley Rose Waldorf School. She is in first grade right now, but completed kindergarten there last year. The kindergarten class experience was wonderful for her. It is a play based class with daily time outdoors and lots of play in the classroom as well. The class has a daily structure but with ample time to play.  I recall the teacher saying in the morning: "Alright children, now it is time to work and play." The school believes children's work is playing and that learning comes through playing. There are no work sheets or desks to sit at in the classroom. Instead the children sit around a group table with the teacher when an activity requires a table/desk--i.e. lunch, snack, artwork, or handwork. The children learn through songs, art (drawing and painting), stories, play, sewing, other handwork, and cooking. Play often includes putting on puppet shows for the other children, playing in and under the little classroom loft that mimics a treehouse with wooden toys, blocks, puppets, dolls, and silk scarves. This all encourages the development of the imagination in children at this age. Learning takes place in an organic way in that instead of sitting at a desk and working, they learn through doing daily living tasks and playing. For example, every week each child brings a vegetable to chop on soup day and it all goes into the pot with broth for a snack that morning. On other days they bake bread, grind grain into flour and do other simple age-appropriate cooking related activities. They also help with setting the table and cleanup after snack and lunch. The morning starts out with jump rope on the back patio. The exercise seemed to enliven our daughter and got her ready for the day but also incorporated counting songs and taught her about rhythm by learning to jump to the songs and the movement of the rope. They take a daily walk to the park for play outdoors and have a little garden that they work in at the back of the school. They learned simple sewing and woodworking by making some little felt objects and a wooden sailboat. They also learned some simple spanish counting songs during the class. 

I highly recommend a visit to the school. I believe there is an open house on January 20th where you can see the classroom and meet the teacher Ruth Alden. Ruth is gentle, loving, and attentive. There is also a Winter Faire this December 9th that is a great way to see the whole school and have some fun holiday activities and meet others in the school community--which is the other wonderful thing about the school. It has a great group of parents and teachers who open, friendly, and warm. We were new to the Bay area and California two years ago and without this community I think it would have taken us a lot longer to feel at home in a new state. 

Check out the school's website for more information at: My daughter could not be happier at this school. I hope you will make a visit and see what the school is all about. Please don't hesitate to write back if you have more specific questions about the school or kindergarten. 


Bekah Shields, first grade parent at Berkeley Rose Waldorf School

Have you looked into Waldof education? The East Bay Waldorf school's handwork curriculum seems outstanding. Our daughter who loves art had a great time with the Berkeley Rose Waldorf for her early years. If we could afford private school, we'd still be there. 

I could not be happier with my child's experience at Berkeley Rose School. We have been attending since the school was run out of a parent home (when my daughter was a toddler) and have watched the school expand, first into a local community center and finally to the Church where the early childhood program still takes place. The grades program recently expanded into a new site on Hillegas, which has been renovated beautifully. Throughout all of this growth, which has taken place by the grace and dedication of the parent community, staff and board, I have been so impressed with the thoughtfulness and the consistency and the quality of communication, learning and community that has been maintained.

I cherish the attention to the environment, which is beautiful, the nurturing of the children's hearts and minds, through work, ritual and play, and the beautiful seasonal traditions celebrated every year, which have enriched not only my child's life, but our entire family's as well.

I  look forward to continuing to be a part of the school as it grows. We intend to continue our daughter there through 8th grade. Already, I see how fully she is learning to inhabit herself, how beautifully she is learning to be in tune with the seasons and how effortlessly she is learning to read. I love it when she comes home from school muddy from a long rain walk and day at the park (even when it is pouring, they bring their rain gear and go outside). She regularly sits down and decides to make things with no help from me using her sewing kit, which was given to her by her preschool teacher. She is always singing songs - and from the words, I can see how they are helping her feel connected to the seasons, and the rythmns of life. They are beautiful songs and poems about friendship and being kind and being a member of the human community, a good worker, etc. These ideas and feelings are so ingrained in her at every level at Berkeley Rose School from the loving teachers, to the gentle, integrated curriculum to the beautiful art work and crafts they make and the lovely aesthetic  environment that is cultivated at the school (in the Waldorf tradition).

As you can see, I could go on and  on! I feel so fortunate for the wonderful, dedicated parents, staff and board members who have worked so hard to create this school and cultivate a healthy, loving community!

We have been very happy with The Berkeley Rose School.  The teachers have been a positive influence on our children.  We know it is not an easy task.  I highly recommend this school.  You'll find a great community awaits!

As new parents of a 9 month old boy whom we cherished more than the world, my husband and I happened to get an email from the Berkeley Rose School about the Winter Faire in December 2013, which I believe was called "Enchanted Evening." What we found was beyond magical - it literally brought tears to my eyes and filled my whole being with awe, gratitude and a sense of "being home." There was a room filled with sacred little fairy houses - each one a magnificent masterpiece decked out in elementals and magic - which peaked my whole family's senses and imagination. We then crawled through a forest and candle-lit tunnel of silks to find the fairy god mother, awaiting my son in the most beautifully adorned gown with jewels and glow, and she whispered in his ear and put a bell around his neck (which I still have). Upstairs we found dozens of children dancing to live fiddles and banjos and song, laughter and the smells of delicious food swirling through the air. We perused hand-made holiday crafts, ate a fresh, warm meal together, prepared by the loving hands of the Waldorf families, and even bought a small Christmas tree before walking home.

Our experience at the Enchanted Evening was not in isolation. I then took a tour of the school, and had the same feeling in my soul as I spent a few minutes in each classroom. The kids were singing, moving, sharing home-cooked food, the classrooms were filled with bright colors, art and the scents of delicious food, and there seemed to be this divine unity between the indoor space of the classroom and nature. In other words, the boundaries between the nature and classroom, individual and group, teacher and student, all seemed to blur. The intention and love that the teachers use to guide everything they do with the students is pretty unbelievable. Even the drop off in the morning is a sacred ritual involving treasures and a beautiful altar.

One month into our first year at Berkeley Rose School, we are so incredibly happy. My son asks if he can go to school every morning, even on the weekends, and talks about his two teachers and classmates with such sweet adoration. What I love most about the Marigold classroom is summarized in my blog post here (

If you're looking for a truly magical experience for your child - and whole family - one that meets the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of your child - visit Berkeley Rose! You won't regret it. Coming from a mother who let my husband override my gut and convince me to start at a different school which was a pretty terrible experience, trust me that Berkeley Rose is truly an amazing place for little people. The community is inclusive, warm, vibrant, and full of love.


Mama of Jules (Marigold)

I love that Berkeley Rose School emphasizes play, outdoors, and handwork in the kindergarten years. When I ask our daughter what she did that day she invariably answers "play." The children in her class walk to the park and play in nature daily. This past year our daughter has sewn a needle case, a mother's day pin, and a pouch. The pouch had to be sewn before she got to take home a special doll called a little one. She learned to persevere (it took a while to make the pouch) and to delay gratification (she put off play time to have time to make the pouch). These are invaluable life lessons. In the last year she has grown so much. She can jump rope 30 times (she couldn't even jump rope once at the start of last years school year), she can finger knit and sew (and regularly asks to do so at home), she can saw and sand wood (each student in kindergarten made a simple sail boat last year), she can count to over 100 and knows her 2 times tables. All this under the guise of playing. She is more confident physically, socially, and mentally. I love what she is learning at Berkeley Rose School. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Dec 2014

Re: ISO small kindergarten

Please take a look at Berkeley Rose School, a Waldorf school right in North Berkeley. My daughter attended for preschool and after a year at public, we're back for first grade. What a contrast! The school currently has two kindergartens, both classes are small (under 10 for one, the other one might be 12), and I believe there are spaces open for next Fall. I can tell you how much I value the shared values of eating organic, sleeping enough, playing outdoors, keeping things simple and age appropriate for the children, and honoring and respecting them. My daughter loves school, even math, and I feel that she's being educated holistically through the Waldorf methodology. Mandarin and Spanish instruction begin in First Grade. There is an open house on January 24 from 10-12noon. Or call to learn more. Kim, Mom of Two Waldorf Kids

June 2014

Re: Academics, Soc/Emotional, and how boys learn!

Hello! I am so sorry to hear about your son's experience. My son is also has the same challenges. I do believe it's more common in boys. They are just more active! We absolutely love our school, Berkeley Rose in North Berkeley. It's a Waldorf school that I feel really is wonderful helping children reach their full potential. The teachers are amazing and the class sizes are small. I feel this really helps my son stay focused and teachers are able to work with him more individually if needed. You can learn more at School ends June 5th so I would recommend calling the school soon so you can observe a class while school is in session. Good luck with your decision! 

May 2014

Re: Kindergarten openings in private schools?

Hello! I wanted to recommend Berkeley Rose School in North Berkeley. It's a Waldorf school and they have openings in Kindergarten for the Fall. My son goes there and we absolutely love it. It's truly an amazing school that really fosters the child's growth. You can learn more at I would recommend calling them for a tour soon since our last day of school is June 5th. Ha

Aug 2013

Re: Are there any charter waldorf schools in east bay?
While there is a Waldorf charter school in Oakland, there is also Berkeley Rose, a private start-up Waldorf school in Berkeley for pre-schoolers and K-3rd grades. We joined this community last year in the Grades Program and have been delighted to discover a nurturing, child-centered approach to education. Our children come home happy each day saying school is ''awesome'' - learning happens on many levels in a lovely community environment.

We are appreciative of having our children in a school focused on whole child learning and a nourishing community of peers. The teachers and children were lovely in our local public school but it is a stressed system because of the intense focus on state standards, tests and grades. One consideration in the charter Waldorf Schools is that they need to balance the Waldorf elements with a focus on state standards and test scores. You may want to explore all these options before you decide. Waldorf Parent

Feb 2013

Re: Waldorf type school in Berkeley for 1st & 3rd graders
My daughter is in second grade at Berkeley Rose School, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. The school was begun in 2009 by families in Berkeley who wanted a local Waldorf-inspired school in the community. We've had our daughter enrolled there since the first year of the school. The program is excellent, and it's in the heart of North Berkeley in a very accessible location. 

Hi - We are a new family at the Berkeley Rose School - a Waldorf inspired newer school in Berkeley with a preschool and grades program. We would highly recommend Berkeley Rose - it is a nourishing, supportive, loving and creative environment. The school strives to balance all aspects of child development - the kids move, paint, do academics and language (in the grades programs), gardening and music. They retain the best elements of childhood - the freedom to explore, learn and be themselves, while being a part of a kind and caring group of peers. We are very happy here. Best of luck in your search! Mom of a BRS 2nd grader

Oct 2012

Re: Considering Waldorf school for 5 year old
There is a lovely Waldorf school in central north Berkeley called Berkeley Rose. Two of my kids attended and they thrived there. Both just loved school. It's such a warm, magical and nurturing environment. If you are considering Waldorf, you should definitely check it out. Currently it's early child care through second grade. With the plan of adding a grade a year up to 8th. 

June 2011

Re: The new Waldorf-Inspired Charter in Oakland
Did you know there is another Waldorf school closer to you? Berkeley Rose School is expanding into the grades, growing a grade a year up to 8th grade. Beginning this Fall, Berkeley Rose will offer first grade in addition to preschool, kindergarten, and parent-tot programs. My son currently attends the school and my daughter will start in September. I am continually amazed and touched by the thoughtfulness, beauty, and love that he receives from the teachers and through the curriculum. I could go on about the art projects he brings home, the sweet songs and stories he learns at school, and the wholesome food that he enjoys. If you love Waldorf it would really be worth your time to look into Berkeley Rose. 

April 2010

I heard there's a new Waldorf school in Berkeley. I think it's called Berkeley Rose? Does anyone have information about or experience with the school? Berkeley Mom

I believe the school you're referring to is Berkeley Rose, a Waldorf-inspired school and parent-tot facilitator that's located near the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood in the North Berkeley foothills. You can learn more about the school and expansion plans, which will go to grade 8 or higher in Berkeley, at I'm the parent of a son who attends the mixed-age kindergarten there and I couldn't be more pleased with his and our collective experience. I'm quoted in the school flyer as saying, ''The mindful, fun and loving lessons and care my son receives from the teachers at Berkeley Rose is helping him to blossom into a beautiful boy. It's not only a magical place for kids to learn and explore; it's also a solid community of thoughtful and supportive parents.'' It is truly amazing and I can't imagine my son in any other educational setting. From the way the children learn to explore to celebrate holidays and birthdays, I am constantly reminded of the joy, wonderment and small pleasures in life. I'm also doubly pleased about the adult and parent-child workshops they offer on weeknights and weekends, from gardening to crafting to bread-making to philosophical discussions. The school tuition is very affordable--an important factor for our family. I believe they still have some openings in the kindergarten and first grade classes. Andrea

My daughter attends the Waldorf-based mixed age kindergarten at the Berkeley Rose and we could not be happier!!! It is so wonderful to drop her off into the loving arms of her teachers and know that she will have a day filled with gardening, baking bread, making soup, singing songs and chasing chickens! The magic of the Berkeley Rose is that it is a place where my daughter's spirit and imagination is nurtured and encouraged. As a parent, I could not ask for much more. jess

Hi - Yes, there's a Waldorf school in North Berkeley! It opened last fall with a mixed- age kindergarden (ages 3-6). My daughter has been attending, and it's been wonderful on every level - fabulous teacher, great location, and a curriculum that honors the spirit of children. We're excited to be continuing there next year. There are plans in place to begin a grades program as well.

My son attended the Berkeley Rose School this past year in their mixed-age kindergarten ( for more information). It is a Waldorf-inspired school that follows closely the Waldorf kindergarten model. We had a very positive experience and recommend the school highly to any one interested in Waldorf education for their children. The lead teacher (Miss Anita) is an experienced Waldorf kindergarten teacher and the administrators are dedicated and caring. Each day follows the same basic rhythmn with a different main activity each day (e.g. Monday-painting; Tuesday-gardening; etc.) which we found to be very supportive to our child. In addition, there were many activities to bring the parents together into a greater school community, which was wonderful for us and our child to extend those friendships outside of the school. John in Berkeley

Yes, as of Sep 2009, there is a new Waldorf school in north Berkeley, the Berkeley Rose. Right now it is a mixed age kindergarden but they are looking to expand into the grades as the children grow.

I have had a wonderful experience there. My child who always showed a lot of separation anxiety, had a very smooth transition as the teacher was so warm and loving. The days are spent in the beautiful garden, gardening, tending to the chickens, gathering eggs and playing with sand, and inside, painting, woodworking, cooking and of course playing with natural toys in a beautiful space.

The school offers beautiful seasonal activities and holiday celebrations like harvesting a pumpkin, lantern walk, advent spiral walk, growing wheat grass, felting eggs and chicks etc. On Fridays, the school offers an innovative program, a day in the hills, where the children spend all day outdoors rain or shine. Not only nature provides a wide range of opportunities for physical exploration and imaginative play, but the children develop a personal relationship with the natural world, a sense of reverence for the Earth. I forgot to add that the snacks are all homemade, nutritious and organic, and the children make their own sourdough bread and stone soup.

The school also cares about creating bonds among the families and the community by offering craft gatherings and classes and study groups.

We are very happy with the school! happy parent

Our son goes to the Berkeley Rose School and we love it. Our son has really blossomed at the school. It's amazing to see how much more aware he is now of the nature that surrounds him. At school they learn finger knitting, sewing, carving and bread making. The school has hike day every Friday which provides a wonderful outdoor experience to explore the mother earth. The teachers are truly loving, caring and been a great resource for us. We highly recommend anyone taking interest in the Berkeley Rose School. Tsering