Da Vinci Waldorf School To Expand Its Campus

Da Vinci Waldorf School has reached an agreement to lease five acres of neighboring property on Bonner Road, more than doubling the size of its campus to meet growing enrollment.

The lease agreement, finalized last Friday, comes days before Tuesday's start of fall classes at the school, which serves students in early childhood through eighth grade. With 121 students and 29 faculty and staff, the school has grown by more than 30 percent since 2019.

"We're thrilled to expand our campus and be able to add classroom space for our middle school program, which has doubled in size these past few years," the school's administrator, Laine Ambrose, said. "For our youngest learners, this will mean more nature and trails to explore during their outdoor education."

Da Vinci Waldorf School is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The school was started in 1998 by a group of homeschooling parents with a shared interest in Waldorf education. Known then as Water's Edge School, the program began as a once-a-week kindergarten and preschool class led by a single teacher in a rented church room. It quickly grew and soon adopted a one room schoolhouse approach, with its mixed-aged classroom meeting several days per week.

In 2005, the school bought its building at 150 W. Bonner Road, where it expanded its program to include first grade. The school added additional grades as it continued to grow and soon changed its name.

Today the school serves families from more than two dozen nearby communities like Barrington, Crystal Lake, and Mundelein. Its three-acre schoolyard has nature-based play areas, sports fields, a basketball court, a student vegetable and flower farm, native prairie plantings, an outdoor cooking area and a chicken coop, where children collect eggs for the school to use and sell.

The recent growth has led school officials to explore options for expanding the school. This summer, the school's direct neighbor listed their property for sale or rent, including five acres of partially wooded land and a four-bedroom ranch with an expansive 3,000 square-foot great room, which will be used as an orchestra room as well as middle school classroom.

With an asking price of nearly $1.1 million, the school opted to lease the property, according to Morgan Branson, the school's marketing and communications director. The nine-month agreement will provide the school additional space for the coming school year as it continues to evaluate its expansion options.

In addition to moving its middle school program to the new building, Branson said early childhood classes will use the land for weekly hikes and other outdoor activities.

Morgan Branson
Morgan Branson
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