Our Mission

The mission of Desert Marigold School is to provide an educational context that emphasizes intellectual achievement and the imaginative, artistic, and moral growth of its students. By addressing their heads, hands and hearts, the school will encourage students to be lifelong learners and independent thinkers as well as self motivated, self-disciplined, creative, adaptable and responsible individuals.

We seek to establish and maintain a school that provides an individualized, nurturing approach and achieve the following goals:

  • To ensure each child’s excellence in core academic skills by providing a curriculum enlivened with the arts of painting, music, theater, movement, singing, sculpture and handwork

  • To educate according to age and development, so that learning and growth are united.

  • To present the curriculum in multiple and integrated ways, so students have many different opportunities to learn concepts, as well as see the relationship to the larger whole.

  • To nourish the spirit of curiosity so that students continue to learn long after the end of formal training.

  • To encourage fundamental values and life skills, including responsibility, perseverance, integrity, self-discipline, trustworthiness, craftsmanship, friendship and compassion.

  • To make available this quality of education for all ethnic and socioeconomic sectors in our community.

A Copy of the Original Mission

Our History

Desert Marigold School belongs to the worldwide movement of Waldorf Schools. Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian educator, philosopher, and scientist (1861-1925), established the first school in Stuttgart, Germany. After the World War I, Emil Molt, manager of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart,wanted to provide a school for the workers’ children. He hoped it might develop human beings who were able to respond to the complexities of modern life and help renew cultural and social ideals. Steiner responded to Molt’s request in 1919 with what came to be called the first “Waldorf School.”

Steiner brought a practical educational approach grounded in the knowledge of human development and psychology, which sought to achieve an integration of academic and artistic disciplines. The aim was to foster the healthy, balanced development of the capacities of thinking, feeling, and willing which would enable the growing human being to acquire a sense of inner freedom and social responsibility. Since that time, Waldorf schools have grown steadily, at present there are over 700 elementary and secondary schools and countless kindergartens teaching students around the world.

Since 1994, Desert Marigold School (DMS) has served students and families in the metro Phoenix area by working to bring alive the deep principles underlying Waldorf Education. First as a developing member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and now as a member of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education (APWE, DMS has grown from atiny Kindergarten into a thriving K-12 school. Throughout our entire history, DMS has also been a key member of the Arizona Council for Waldorf Education (ACWE), a trailblazing organization that models collaboration and mutual support between private and public endeavors. Currently, DMS is the only comprehensive K-12 Public Waldorf School in the United States, with a dedicated and experienced staff of nearly 90 serving over 350 students. We celebrate the diversity of our amazing community, so rich in different cultural, family, and faith traditions, and so generous in its support of our beloved school. Here are some brief highlights in the unique history of DMS:

  • 1994 – DMS opens in central Phoenix as a private mixed-age kindergarten

  • 1996 – Families raise money to purchase a 5 acre campus on 28th Street with the help of our lender RSF Social Finance

  • 1997 – The pioneer first grade class begins with six students

  • 2001 – DMS completes construction of the first permitted commercial straw-bale structure in Phoenix

  • 2002 – DMS transitions to operating as a public charter school while still offering private pre-k and parent/child classes

  • 2009 –  First 8th grade graduation; the DMS campus expands to 10 acres

  • 2010 – The campus expands to 12 acres and the building on the new parcel is remodeled to accommodate high school classrooms and Eurythmy/music/community gathering space

  • 2011 – DMS begins hosting college interns from the ASU School of Sustainability and Prescott College

  • 2013 – The Class of 2013 – the first senior class – graduates on May 25

  • 2016 – DMS celebrates 21 years of learning