Garden City is known for having one of the better school districts on Long Island and in the Metro area. Its academics and extracurricular activities both help students to excel. However, for those who want something outside the school district, there’s an option right under their noses.
The Waldorf School of Garden City is a small, private K-12 school adjacent to Adelphi University. Its most famous alumni include Kenneth Chenault (‘79), the former CEO of American Express and Scott Mills (‘01), President of BET Networks.
In 1947, the Adelphi Education Department opened the Waldorf School as a demonstration school to help those looking for a degree. Following a seven-stage construction from 1947 to 1958 and an expansion of the campus, the school became its own institution and became accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the first Waldorf School to achieve such a feat.
The expansion included the acquisition of a farm in New Hampshire called Camp Glenbrook. It serves as past of the Waldorf campus where kids will travel for a week or so and learn things pertaining to their curriculum for that school year. For example, the fifth grade students will explore the area’s plant life in accordance with the subject of botany that they study that year.
“Our students always comment that one of their favorite things about the school year is their trip to Glenbrook which is also just a chance to connect with their classmates in a different way than their normal day-to-day academic setting,” school faculty chair Kelly O’Halogan said.
Despite now being its own school, Waldorf still holds valuable ties with Adelphi. Students in the high school have the opportunity to take college-level courses, something that comes in handy when it comes time to apply to colleges.
“They’re able to show on their college applications that they have already been working at a college level and it affords them the possibility to expand their course of study and their interests even more,” O’Halogan said.
The school prides itself on the way they approach child development, which they believe makes them stand out from other private and public schools in the village. Each grade has a very succinct curriculum which, on top of the traditional academic courses, includes the studies of various religions, cultures and histories from the world around them.
“What we try to do is to really keep the children engaged in a non-stressful way so that their love for learning is sustained and continues, hopefully through their whole adult life,” O’Halogan said.
The school also puts an emphasis on being able to modernize their curriculum to make sure that the needs of the students are being met, 12 percent of whom are from Garden City. O’Halogan stated that the school is “intentional” with what they do.
“So children who come to us today are really drawn here for a reason and it is that we can really give them this balanced education that nurtures them and brings about their sense of interest in the world and learning and at the same time,” O’Halogan said. “They graduate with skills that they need in order to be in the current world and in the future world.”