Our School

Get to know our Waldorf-Inspired Grades Program located in Fallbrook, California!

Our Mission

Spirit Mountain School is devoted to nurturing, loving, and guiding children so that they grow to be adults who can think clearly, feel deeply, and act responsibly in the world.

Using a developmentally appropriate storytelling curriculum, we strive to educate the whole child – body, soul, and spirit. We foster a connection with nature to keep children grounded and connected to the world’s deep wisdom. By honoring the child’s individuality and ever-changing consciousness as they grow, we keep the child’s natural love of learning alive and help each child grow to their own unique potential.

Our Vision

Spirit Mountain School envisions creating a small class size, private, non-sectarian, mixed-age village school that serves children and families in North County San Diego. We are committed to creating a Waldorf-inspired education that’s accessible to to families of all ethnic, spiritual and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our History

Spirit Mountain School began as a home-based Waldorf-inspired program that was brought into being in the summer of 2012 when a group of parents asked Lori Opute, an experienced Waldorf teacher, to design a program for their children.

The initial group of five 1st through 3rd graders were called Home Grown Kids. We adopted the name Spirit Mountain in May of 2013 and have continually grown, adding more children and families to our community each year. We were idyllically located in the homes of parents in our initial years, surrounded by abundant nature and a working ranch.

In the spring of 2016, the program moved into the friendly village of Fallbrook in order to be able to serve more families and connect with the larger community. We became a private, independent school, devoted to building a complete Waldorf curriculum for families of North County San Diego and Southern Riverside Counties.

Our students learn in mixed-age groups and attend school Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  There is an optional class offering on Friday. Our hope is that we offer the right fit for those families seeking a holistic education for their children.

Unity and Acceptance

Our school faculty and board see diversity and inclusion as essential components to any soulful endeavor and living system. We are proud and grateful of our diverse student body, and we welcome all races, religions, creeds and humans to be a part of our growing family.

Non-Discrimination Policy

SPIRIT MOUNTAIN SCHOOL admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Please read our full Non-Discrimination Policy here.

exploring mission creek at Spirit Mountain School

A Waldorf education seeks to connect students with the vibrancy of life in all things.

It nurtures and protects childhood. Waldorf education emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, the use of an artistic approach to all subjects, and an honoring of the slow unfolding of capacities in three distinct developmental stages: early childhood, elementary, and adolescent education. The goal of Waldorf Education is to develop free-thinking, morally responsible, and capable human beings who can impart purpose and direction to their lives.  

Students are taught through diverse activities and modalities. The curriculum is comprehensive in its depth and breadth, and is based on a profound understanding of human development. This approach teaches to the whole child—head, heart, and hands, something that is rejected by the standardization movement within conventional education.  In addition to learning the standard academic subjects – English, math, history, and science, Waldorf students learn to sing, play a musical instrument, model clay, draw, paint, knit,  sew, carve wood, garden, move with grace and ease, speak foreign languages, and act in a play. The development of social awareness and understanding is an important part of the students’ school life as well.

Waldorf teachers are dedicated to self-development and study. By continuously striving to develop their own capacities and understand human development, they are able to create curricula for their classes that are truly age appropriate and meet the childrens’ consciousness as they grow and change. They are also consciously striving to understand each unique student who is entrusted into their care. They are given many tools and skills to practice a therapeutic and artistic teaching approach. As a result, children under their care feel more at home within themselves and more easily embrace their own potential and develop a lifelong skill set for thriving in our world.

Meet Our Faculty

Lori Duckstad Opute

Lori Duckstad Opute

Teacher - Upper Grades

Lori grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest, where she learned to knit, crochet, and sew.  In rural Wisconsin she developed a love of learning and an appreciation of the natural world.  She has a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and a master’s degree in counseling and human development.  She worked in a variety of school, social service, and hospital settings for eleven years, and then discovered Waldorf education when looking for a preschool for her eldest daughter.  It was a life changing experience for the whole family, and within three years she sought out training and became a Waldorf teacher.

Lori has her Waldorf Teacher Certificate and more than twenty years of experience as a Waldorf Class, Handwork, and Music Teacher. She worked for six years at the Waldorf School of San Diego where her eldest daughter graduated from eighth grade in 2004, and at Sanderling Waldorf School for six years where she taught the first graduating class of the school.  She also founded two Waldorf-inspired grade school programs, Mountain View School and our own beloved Spirit Mountain School.  She is the proud mother of Kelsey and Sarah, now young adults.  Lori loves to read, travel and do handwork in her spare time.  

Angela Sarich

Angela Sarich

Teacher - 1st & 2nd Grades

Born in a wooded suburban neighborhood in Texas, Angela spent her childhood climbing trees, building forts, and playing in the forest. In this sleepy neighborhood Angela’s love of children began, and she quickly became a very busy babysitter at the age of twelve. In 1992, she moved to Hawaii, where she completed high school, entered community college, and became a live-in nanny. Not long after that she was recruited into the fashion industry, where her love of people and the philanthropic opportunities presented there inspired more than eighteen years of service as a general manager.  Angela’s spiritual studies led her to Rudolf Steiner’s work at a very young age; however, it was in becoming a mother that her curiosity about Waldorf education eventually brought her to the Waldorf Institute of Southern California and our own Spirit Mountain School.  

Angela is an avid philanthropist, having spent countless hours fundraising and organizing volunteer projects, as well as serving on the board for charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Women Helping Women,  American Red Cross, and many localized efforts supporting underprivileged families in the community.  She loves swimming, surfing, hiking, reading, and playing music.

 

 

Nicholas Barter

Nicholas Barter

Special Subjects Teacher

Nicholas was raised in the town of Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert in California.  As he was growing up, he spent many of his holidays camping throughout the Southwest.  After high school he traveled and explored the culture and terrain of the U.S., Mexico and Central America, and discovered many ways of living and thinking.  His journeys were inspired by love and freedom. He participated in World Peace Rainbow Gatherings, Earth First base camps, and small multi-devotional ashrams, and also hitchhiked through the dismal beauty of the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Nicholas holds early childhood teaching and consciousness studies certificates from Rudolf Steiner College.  He is actively committed to anthroposophy  and deeply invested in Waldorf education.  He has been a lead preschool and kindergarten teacher in California, and worked as a movement and nature teacher, substitute class teacher, and a class and special education assistant at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Hawaii.  He has developed his interest in practical arts and in therapeutic education, through training and work with Ruskin Mill College Trust in the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth Monacelli

Elizabeth Monacelli

Strings Teacher

Elizabeth grew up in New York in a musical family. Her father was a violin maker and her mother was an opera singer. Elizabeth started her professional orchestra career at age 13. She received her training at the Longy Music School, the Juilliard School and New England Conservatory of Music.  She has performed with many musical celebrities such as Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Tony Bennett, Wayne Newton, Natalie Cole, and Smokey Robinson.

Elizabeth has taught at several music schools and music festivals including the Southeastern Music Festival, the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, The Music School, and Yellow Barn Music Festival.  She continues to work as a professional musician and is the founder and music director of the Fallbrook Chamber Orchestra.

 

Steps to Enrollment

Enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year is fast approaching! Read our application process and start today!

Why Waldorf Works