The Waldorf-inspired charter school opening in the fall, Gathering Waters, announced it has been approved for more students.
The Keene school was recently approved by the state Board of Education to expand its class size of up to 25 students per class, and the school is planning on having two kindergarten classes of 12 and 13 students to start the fall.
The news comes as the school hired Luke Goodwin to lead the charter school. Goodwin grew up attending the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene and has spent his career in Waldorf education.
“In many ways, joining Gathering Waters is a homecoming of sorts. I attended the Monadnock Waldorf School myself as a young child in the school’s earliest pioneering days when it was known as Tomte Gubben,” he said.
The Monadnock Waldorf School announced this year it is closing at the end of the school year. The private school, which charges $13,000 a year for tuition, was seeing enrollment decline as fewer parents are able to afford the private school costs, said Nell Weiner, the head of programs for the Monadnock Waldorf School.
“Over eight-plus years we have seen a slow but steady decline in enrollment; at the same time, the median tuition paid per student has also trended steadily downward as the tuition assistance required for families to be able to attend our school has increased,” Weiner said.
Gathering Waters is being started by a group of Monadnock Waldorf School families, and by using the state’s charter school funding, it will be able to offer the education for free as it will be a public charter school.
Waldorf education is the brainchild of early 20th century Austrian spiritualist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who believed he could encourage his brand of esoteric spiritual evolution through education.
Gathering Waters plans to run through the ninth grade, with the goal to add classes through high school.
The Monadnock region now has a growing list of charter schools operating and in the planning stages. Barry Tanner, with the Monadnock Classical Academy, announced last month that the proposed charter school is now connected with conservative Christian college Hillsdale, located in Michigan.
Monadnock Classical Academy plans to open in the next year or so.
The area is also home to the Surry Village Charter School — with campuses in Keene and Surry — which runs from kindergarten through eighth grade. There is also the MC2 charter high school in Keene, and the Leaf Charter high school in Alstead.