The Clover Hill School is an emerging Early Childhood Center that is inspired by Waldorf education. We offer a Mixed-Age Kindergarten for 3 to 6 year olds and a Growing Together program for moms, dads and children 2 months to 3 years of age. We offer a full play-based program appropriate for each age group and organic food is served at our snacktime. Our campus, including beautiful, newly renovated classrooms and a private play yard, is located at Christ Episcopal Church in East Norwalk, CT.
The Clover Hill School, a recognized 501(c) (3) entity, was organized in 2003. The School has been nurtured and encouraged through its startup years by a dynamic community of volunteers, teachers, parents and supporters who believe in Waldorf education.
Accordingly, since its inception, the School has vigorously pursued its mission of bringing programs inspired by Waldorf education to lower Fairfield County (CT). Waldorf education, which is non-denominational and non-sectarian, began in Germany in 1919 and is the fastest growing private educational system in the world. There are 250 Waldorf schools in the US alone.
Filling a NeedClick on the image to view a larger version.
The Clover Hill School Board decided to focus on lower Fairfield County (CT) because it was a portion of the Tri-State Region of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey that was devoid of Waldorf schools. We call this area the "Hole in the Donut". (See map) There already were well-established Waldorf schools in Long Island, Manhattan, Spring Valley (NY), and elsewhere in Connecticut. Importantly, Sunbridge Institute (a training institute for Waldorf teachers and professionals) also is in Spring Valley.
Our long term (10-15 year) goal is to establish a major Center of Waldorf Education on a campus we own. The Center will encompass Early Childhood programs, an elementary school, and eventually a high school.
Our Early Childhood Center in Norwalk is a step toward this long term goal. It is the first of three feeder programs needed to sustain the grade school we intend to establish in Norwalk or nearby within the "Hole in the Donut". We will begin with a first grade class and add a grade at a time as the program grows and matures.
Brief History: Three Phases of Growth
There have been three phases in the growth of Clover Hill. The period 2003-2006 represented the Initiation Phase because it involved organization, incorporation, research and early program efforts.
In 2007, we were able to move aggressively to start the Launch Phase for the School thanks to a major gift from Hiram A. and Anne E. Bingham. The Launch Phase actually continued from 2007 through zoning, construction and hiring in 2008, through licensing and the official opening in 2009, and then to the end of the 2009-2010 school year in June 2010.
Along the way there were long delays and large unexpected expenses requiring additional funds. In addition to many individual contributions and the proceeds from two successful fundraising events, we were fortunate to receive substantial grants from three foundations: the Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Foundation, the Woodshouse Foundation, and our original and continuing supporter, the Foundation for the Redevelopment of Individual Character (FRIC). So we made it!
We see 2010-2012 as the start of Clover Hill's next phase, a Base Building Phase in which we consolidate our organization and finances while laying the groundwork for the necessary expansion that lies ahead.
The Meaning of Our Name
Establishing the school that became Clover Hill was a long-held and cherished dream for a particular grouping of Anthroposophists who came together in 1973 to study the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner founded Waldorf education as well as Anthroposophy, the philosophy inspiring its creation. They envisioned a day when they would bring forth a school truly based on Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophical principles. This group is now known as The Michaelic Anthroposophical Group of Connecticut. A number of the forty members either had or have sought training in Waldorf education, and many of them now serve as teachers, advisors and board members of the School.
In 2004, members of the Group formed a Council to cultivate the vision of the School's incarnation and lead the School through its pioneering stage. They wanted the name of the School to carry a deep meaning and be connected to the community that it would serve. They noted that the area was filled with clovers during the spring and summer months. One of the council members had been an intern in the Pfeiffer Center's biodynamic garden at Sunbridge College. She was immediately reminded of spiritual insights expressed by Rudolf Steiner in his lecture cycle entitled "Bees," delivered in 1923 (Anthroposophic Press), in which he spoke of the clover plant.
In the lectures, he described how plants produce oxalic acid, and how the clover plant contains the greatest concentration of it. This oxalic acid is gathered and transformed into formic acid by the stinging insects. The human being also transforms oxalic acid into formic acid through a special process. Steiner described this process as a transformation that generates the soul element from the basic level of life processes (Dornach, December 22, 1923). It is a process that attracts soul and spirit.
In the clover plant, the Council found a fitting symbol of transformation, which is an ideal held at the School's core. They saw the Waldorf curriculum, festival celebrations, community activities and the sincere striving of teachers as gifts of love that will be transformed by the children, like busy bees, into gifts for the world.
The Clover Hill School is committed to the proven ideals and methods of Waldorf education, developed by Rudolf Steiner. We are devoted to protecting childhood and to providing an education that serves the needs of the developing human being. Our classical education addresses the whole child, including the head, the heart and the hands.
Our approach, validated by research, goes far beyond the conventional wisdom of the day which emphasizes standardized instruction and testing focused on the intellect. Its flawed mantra is "the more and earlier the better". Instead, we seek to develop the capacities needed to thrive in our modern world, including skillful hands, moral courage, and independent thinking. We recognize each child as a being of body, soul and spirit.
The School aims to inspire a love of learning so that each student is academically prepared for the next steps in life, and is also given opportunities for the unfolding of their unique gifts. Further, we believe we can help to meet the needs of the growing child by providing ongoing opportunities for adult education through parent workshops, lectures, study groups, and teacher development programs.
We recognize that an active external community surrounds and supports the families of the School. We seek to foster and enrich this community through public events, community outreach, and the celebration of seasonal festivals. Overall, the School aims to serve the lower Fairfield and proximate Westchester County area by being an active and responsible contributor to the community at large.