Shade Canyon School expands plans to offer grades TK-3 in opening year

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the board of Shade Canyon School voted to expand its plans to include transitional kindergarten through third grade beginning in the fall of 2022, pending student enrollment.

Positive budget projections and responses to Shade Canyon’s online community interest survey have convinced the school initiative’s board that it is feasible to offer more grades from the beginning than originally planned. In keeping with the school’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, the grades offered would depend upon adequate enrollment.

After its first year, Shade Canyon plans to add one grade each subsequent year until the school reaches a full TK-8 program.

Having a Waldorf-style option for second and third graders in 2022 could be especially timely for families whose students have experienced loss of learning during the pandemic.

“Waldorf teachers are trained to ‘teach the student rather than the subject,’ using methods that meet multiple intelligences,” said Shade Canyon’s Founding Educational Director Savannah Mitchell. “For example, elements of math are taught through cooking, music and storytelling.”

Collaboration and learning among a broader span of grades would offer a fuller experience for students, as well as give more families the chance to send all their children to the same school.

If Shade Canyon had a total enrollment of 80 students in the first year, it would also be eligible to apply for up to $600,000 through the California Department of Education’s Public Charter School Grant Program, which awards grants for the planning and implementation of new public charter schools.

Shade Canyon will submit a petition this spring to the Kelseyville Unified School District Board to be authorized as a charter school in the district. If authorized, the school would offer a tuition-free, public Waldorf-style education option to all Lake County families.

A time-tested model, Waldorf education brings forth a sense of wonder, cognitive strength, self-awareness, and social fluency, as well as respect for self, others, and the environment--all while building a strong academic foundation.

Shade Canyon’s planned curriculum weaves together experiential learning, integrated subjects, outdoor exploration, and a deep awareness of child development.

Waldorf students become critical thinkers who are curious about the world, connected to their communities, and confident shaping them as they go on to high school, post-secondary education and meaningful careers.

Shade Canyon invites Lake County families and community members to fill out the community interest survey, which school founders will use to estimate enrollment and demonstrate community interest to the Kelseyville Unified School Board.

The link to the survey may be found at

Shade Canyon School is a tuition-free, Waldorf-inspired public charter school initiative. The school’s name comes from the saddle canyon on Mount Konocti that, long ago, shaded canyon oak seedlings so they could grow into a lush, towering forest.

The school initiative is guided by this vision: “by honoring simplicity, we nurture the spark of the individual and nourish a thriving community.” Their mission is to cultivate inspired learners.