something special is happening here.

“I've been to countless Waldorf schools across the globe and I have to honestly say that something special is happening here at Wasatch. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before.”

holistic education in the salt lake valley

Wasatch Charter School (WCS) provides an innovative, holistic, student-centered, developmentally appropriate education to a community desiring a whole child educational option. Guided by the principles of public Waldorf education, the school nourishes a child's natural curiosity and passion for learning by respecting the unique developmental stages each child experiences.

All facets of the school are structured around a comprehensive understanding of human development—an understanding that nurtures a community of self-awareness, respect, and dignity. 

WCS's education model is a compelling public choice which incorporates research-based strategies that improve and enhance student achievement, cognition and social and emotional health. Based on the hundred-year-old Waldorf approach, but wholly new to Utah, WCS provides an innovative and creative method for delivering the Utah Core to students in the Salt Lake Valley.

our history

WCS was founded by a diverse group of individuals with varied first-hand experiences with Waldorf education. Each founder came to WCS with a passion for the beauty, curriculum, methods, and successes of Waldorf education. As parents of Waldorf students, former students in Waldorf schools, former teachers and assistants in Waldorf schools, and individuals seeking training in Waldorf education, each has sought to replicate the success of the Waldorf model and make this type of educational experience accessible to students in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.

Opened August of 2016, WCS is the first public Waldorf school in the State of Utah. WCS will be located in the Holladay area of Salt Lake County and serve up to 540 students, with 3 Kindergarten classes of approximately 20 students and 2 classes for each grade 1–8, with a maximum class size of 30. WCS will serve students of all incomes, cultural backgrounds, and academic abilities. The centralized location in the Salt Lake Valley will draw students from the local community and the surrounding region.


“Being personally acquainted with a number of Waldorf students, I can say that they come closer to realizing their own potential than practically anyone I know."
 
—Joseph Weizenbaum, Emeritus Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Computer Power and Human Reason

administration

EMILY MERCHANT
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
BRITTANY HARRIS
ASSESSMENT & COMPLIANCE COORDINATOR
Heather Campbell
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTOR
KARA SALISBURY
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR






















EMILY MERCHANT
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Emily Merchant is an Utah native with a life-long interest in education and child development. She has earned a BS at the University of Utah, studying psychology and elementary education and a Masters in education from Antioch University with a focus on administration and Waldorf teaching.

Emily’s professional career has included work as a technical writer, a congressional Policy Adviser on education in Washington, DC, and experience in various educational contexts, such as teaching children with autism, coaching high school debate, creating service learning programs, and teaching dance and arts for preschoolers and in public schools.

After years of study and involvement in education, it was as a mother of three beautiful and lively girls that Emily discovered Waldorf education. Emily was enlivened and inspired by the use of the arts as a primary teaching modality, the deep spiritual and philosophical basis, the attention to the whole, developing child, and the role of the teacher in Waldorf schools. She immediately began learning more, incorporating aspects of the Waldorf approach into her home, and looking for Waldorf schools in her area.

After attending training at Rudolf Steiner College and aware that there were not any Waldorf schools in Utah (to which she was moving with her family), Emily was inspired to work to bring a Waldorf school to the Salt Lake Valley. Given her personal experiences as a mother and deep commitment to providing the highest quality educational options for students of all demographics and socio-economic statuses, Emily felt strongly that this must be a public charter school, allowing Waldorf education to be a choice for all families.

Over the last few years, Emily has worked with other dedicated individuals throughout the community to apply to the Utah State Office of Education for approval of Utah’s first Waldorf charter school. Emily is thrilled that the Waldorf approach to education will now be available to Utah’s children and families. She feels privileged to be a part of such a valuable work and is in awe daily of the blessing it is in her personal life to have had her interests, experiences, and passions all intersect into this endeavor.

Most of the time our children are doing well at school. They are “in the flow.” Sometimes, though, they experience challenges. For one reason or another they feel out of kilter with their teacher and classmates. Their challenges may have to do with the social realm (“They’re being mean to me.”); learning challenges (“Everyone knows how to read except me.”); or, occasionally, acting out, misbehavior, or non-compliant behavior (“I don’t have to if I don’t want to; you can’t make me.”) Social and emotional well-being is a prerequisite for academic success. Wasatch Charter School is committed to providing a foundation for healthy learning by supporting those students who are experiencing challenges. This commitment is the foundation of the curriculum and the heart of our work at Wasatch Charter. We have adopted our Three Care Streams of Student Support process in order to provide as much support as possible for students who are experiencing social, disciplinary, or learning challenges. It is based on the work of Kim John Payne, who is respected worldwide for helping children, parents, and teachers navigate challenge as well as conflict.

our mission: creative thinkers, engaged citizens.

Wasatch Charter School is a K-8 tuition-free, charter school in the Salt Lake Valley guided by the principles of public Waldorf education that provides a comprehensive education program integrating academics, arts, movement, nature, and social responsibility into everyday learning. 

Through a culture of holistic learning and dedication to the optimal development of each individual child, WCS nurtures intellectual, social and emotional, and physical capacities through an artistic, hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to core academic subjects which enables each student to blossom into an imaginative, engaged, competent, life-long learner.

Our students, teachers, faculty, and families emerge as confident, creative, strong critical thinkers and environmental stewards, empowered to act positively in their own lives and communities.

WASATCH CHARTER SCHOOL IS A K-8 PUBLIC SCHOOL:
  • Offers a rigorous, relevant, balanced, and memorable liberal arts education, structured around the Utah Core Standards. 

  • Nurtures the intellect, imagination, and emotional life of each child. >

  • Incorporates sustainable living practices, environmental stewardship, and experiential learning through outdoor experiences, animal husbandry, and gardening skills. 

  • Infuses academics with singing, painting, movement, drawing, recorder and flutes, strings, storytelling, foreign language, speech, handwork, and drama. 

  • Inspires children to live engaged and successful lives, prepared to meet the demands of their world. • Involves parents and families in a community of learning and self-development.



WCS is a valuable option for families seeking whole child centered education where children learn reading and writing, mathematics, history, geography, and the sciences, while also learning to sing, play a musical instrument, draw, paint, model clay, carve and work with wood, act in plays, do handwork such as knitting and sewing, speak a foreign language, think critically and independently, and work harmoniously and respectfully with others. WCS fully delivers the content and competencies outlined in the Utah Core Standards during the progression from K–8, but in addition to developing these skills, WCS uses Waldorf methods and curriculum to immerse children in the arts and an environment that nurtures their emerging capacities at each age.

WCS teachers use an experiential, arts-rich approach that engages students in intellectually stimulating academic activities, fine-motor activities, creative and imaginative activities, as well as larger movement and gross-motor activities in every lesson—“a head, heart, hands” philosophy. WCS teachers are trained and mentored in the principles of public Waldorf education, developing an engaging curriculum and effective pedagogical practices. Teachers loop with students through the grades, building relationships and competencies together.

The importance of storytelling, of the natural rhythms of daily life, of the evolutionary changes in the child, of art as the necessary underpinning of learning, and of the aesthetic environment as a whole – all basic to Waldorf education for the past 70 years – are being “discovered” and verified by researchers unconnected to the Waldorf movement.

—Paul Bayers, Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University

about waldorf ecucation

In a world of accelerating change and increasing uncertainty, what values will help inspire and sustain children as they become young adults? Unlike past generations, children today can expect to have several careers during their lives, and they can expect to be lifelong learners because many of the jobs they will have don't yet exist. The pace of change today is accelerating as never before in history.

How can we prepare a generation that will be comfortable with change and will have the tools and the willingness to confront and solve the many problems of our global society, instead of sinking into cynicism or apathy?


“We love Waldorf kids. We reject some students with 1600s on their SATs and accept others based on other factors, like the creative ability Waldorf students demonstrate."
 
—Donna Badrig, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions for Columbia University USA
 
 

Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives.

—Rudolf Steiner