Who We Are
Prairie Hill Waldorf School (PHWS), founded in 1987, is an independent, nonsectarian, nonprofit school serving children from infancy to through Grade 8 and offers the internationally acclaimed Waldorf curriculum. We strive to create and serve a diverse community that welcomes everyone regardless of differences of gender, race, religion, family structure, socioeconomic level, culture, age, sexual orientation, language and learning style.
We are accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, and the State of Wisconsin. In 2014, we received a three year accreditation from AWSNA. The reaccreditation process allows Prairie Hill to reflect on it’s strengths and challenges with the goal of growth and progress toward the ideal of Waldorf educational excellence. Read the final report here.
In the 2013 – 2014 school year we received a full membership renewal from Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), This Membership gives the Prairie Hill Early Childhood Department the opportunity to focus exclusively on building and sustaining a strong early childhood program. View the site visit report here.
Waldorf is the fastest-growing non-sectarian educational movement in the world, with over 900 schools in 83 countries, and five schools in Wisconsin.
Prairie Hill offers a developmentally-appropriate, experiential approach to education. We integrate the arts and academics for children from preschool through Grade 8, seeking to inspire a lifelong love of learning and to enable each student to fully develop his or her unique capacities.
Our curriculum is broad and comprehensive; it is structured to respond to the developmental phases of childhood. Our teachers know that the best way to give meaningful support to the child is to understand these phases fully and to provide “age-appropriate” content that nourishes healthy growth for the Waldorf student. Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends, and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested – they are experienced.
Through these experiences, our students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities to be successful individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.
Prairie Hill Waldorf School:
- Begins with values such as respect for truth, self-respect, reverence for nature and compassion for others
- Recognizes that children need order, rhythm and consistency to develop a sense of discipline
- Cultivates the children’s unique talents so that they can go out into the world with confidence and purpose
Founded in Europe in the early 20th century, Waldorf Education is based on the insights, teachings, and principles of education outlined by the scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf Education evolve from a profound understanding of human development called Anthroposophy which directly addresses the needs of the growing child. These principles inspire and guide teachers, administrators, trustees, and parents today.
Anthroposophy was the term Rudolf Steiner used to characterize the approach to understanding the whole human being as body, soul, and spirit; while at first foreign to the modern eye, a moment’s reflection will show that the term is no more difficult than the more familiar word, anthropology, except that, instead of the Greek word, logos—or “wisdom”—sophie is joined with the Greek word for “human being”—or anthropos. Elsewhere, Steiner expressed his hope that anthroposophy would not be understood in a wooden and literal translation, but that it should be taken to mean “a recognition of our essential humanity.”
Introduced in Germany in 1919, the Waldorf school movement grew out of the insights of Rudolf Steiner, a respected scientific, literary and philosophical scholar who also made contributions to the varied fields of agriculture, medicine, art and science. At the request of Emil Molt, a leading industrialist, Steiner opened the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany for the children of workers at the Walorf-Astoria Company. International recognition of the school came quickly and similar schools began in other European countries. Within a decade, the first American Waldorf school was launched. There are now over 900 Waldorf or Steiner schools world wide.
Prairie Hill Waldorf School opened in 1987 when Cynthia Aldinger led a three-day kindergarten of 12 children in a church hall in new Berlin, WI. In it’s beginning years, Prairie Hill relocated several times to support ever-increasing enrollment. In 1989, the school relocated to Brookfield, WI and in 1990 Prairie Hill moved to the Elmwood School building in New Berlin, WI. In 1992, the historic Zion School building became home to Prairie Hill and in 1995, the Zion building was purchased – this is the building we still utilize, treasure and nurture today.
1999, our Community Hall/Gym was built to house our drama and sports programs. Our active and generous parents have helped to paint the school’s exterior and raised monies to paint the gym and community hall.
Prairie Hill Waldorf School awakens the capacity for dynamic thinking, creativity and compassion, inspiring children to contribute their unique gifts to the world.
We are located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin just 30 minutes west of Milwaukee and 45 minutes east of Madison at the southwest corner of Silvernail Road and Elmhurst Road just South of I-94 (Town of Delafield). Click here for address and map.