While attending a worldwide gathering of Waldorf early childhood educators at the Goetheanum in Switzerland in the Spring of 2012, Justine Costerouse was inspired when the keynote speaker ended the conference in saying “If you take nothing else away from this conference please take this: Go back home and found more kindergartens!” This idea had been brewing for some time, but events conspired to move the dream into reality. The following week there was a happenstance encounter in Hawaii. Justine and Abbie Coburn, both on vacation with their respective families, ran into each other. Justine said to Abbie, “I’m thinking of starting a school” to which the reply was “Me too!”. Upon her return, Abbie contacted her friend from teacher training, Jessie Elliot, and said “Justine wants to start a school, just like we do. We should meet with her.”
Throughout their teacher training program, Abbie and Jessie, along with many fellow classmates, had been discussing the type of school each felt truly represented the ideals that were brought in the training. In the year following their graduation, 2011, Abbie, Jessie, and another classmate formed a study group to reexamine Rudolf Steiner’s initial impulse for Waldorf education and how it can be brought as a healing force in our current times.
Just a few short weeks after the chance meeting in Hawaii, the three experienced teachers, were sitting in a small circle in Jessie’s living room.
After subsequent meetings over the next few months, the teachers invited interested parents, both through word of mouth and local listservs, to a meeting at the Bernal Heights Library Branch. We presented our vision, both for the short and long term. After two more community meetings, the enrollment process for the preschool was in full swing and by February 6, 2013, 13 families were enrolled in the opening of the Dandelion Preschool. Visit our blog to see how we progressed in the early days.
In 2013-2014 we completed our first complete school year with a preschool, kindergarten and aftercare program. In 2015-16 we added a first grade and every year thereafter have added an additional grade. We have inhabited spaces and classrooms in the Mission District, Diamond Heights, in the Excelsior at 65 Ocean, and in 2020 we landed in our long-term home in Portola.