A Waldorf-Inspired Early School for Children in Berkeley, California
Held in Harmony
Grown out of a home in the Berkeley Hills, Angel Academy is an early school for children. Angel Academy supports the creative process that enables children to fully embody who they are now. While Waldorf philosophies drive much of our daily routine, we also draw on Montessori, Reggio Emilia, or an intuitive approach, that may further benefit our students’ development. Our focus is on the individuality of the child over conformity. Respect and love are given out of a desire to help our students feel proud of who they are.
Childhood is precious and for this reason, we shower our students in patience and warmth. We acknowledge the capacities and great will-force that lives within each child. For this reason, we engage them in self-motivating and daily routines. Learning what each child needs in order to feel good about the rhythm of the day is how we guide our students to make healthy choices.
Our school is dedicated to natural materials. The inside classroom is a bridge to the natural world. Our outside classroom is an educational stomping ground. When we plant a seed in one of our planters, we do so with intention and play. Our backyard furthers our student’s abilities to follow natural rhythms. Helping or watching the watering of the plants, working in the organic garden, and eating the vegetables we grow brings our students more awareness of the processes of life. Every moment is an opportunity for inquiry, engagement, and playfulness.
Our teachers offer children expansive socio-emotional and cognitive skills development. We guide our students in discovering how they can utilize these skills. These early years are a call for celebration and inspiration for our present and future selves. Painting, imaginative play, block building, organic planting and cooking, meditation, daily affirmations, and story-time are just a few of our daily rhythms. We are delighted to celebrate life’s beautiful educational process—in community, in self, and in each other.
All our spots are currently full, but we will update this website when we begin touring for the 2017-2018 school year.
In the meantime, if you’d like to leave us your contact information, please fill out the form to the right.
Our students range from 18 months to 5 years old. We maintain a 1:4 teacher to student ratio.
Originally built in 1914, the school facility is a dedicated single family home in the Berkeley Hills of California. Children are offered rich, varied materials and real life experiences for their work and play.
Our interactive organic garden is designed for children to feel connected and grounded in Nature. The common rooms are spaces to cultivate tranquility, cognitive and socio-emotional skills, self-help skills, and warmth.
Food and healthy living are a large aspect to our school’s identity. The custom built farm tables foster the tradition of sharing and eating together—a wholesome form of love. We believe that the space is the children’s space, emulating a feeling of home. Our walls offer photographs of the children, their families, as well as their artistic work. Every season we dedicate time to our Nature table as a way to connect with the natural world.Angel Academy is an in-home preschool—“home” is at the essence.
The mission of Angel Academy is to provide a loving and educational environment based on the pedagogy of listening. We are founded and constantly being fed by these three principles: To nurture with compassion; To encourage wonder; And to hold space for each child’s unique and individual exquisiteness. Our community is enriched by the participation of our student’s families.
We ask that parents maintain and uphold the core values of Angel Academy. Generally, parents are not expected to stay beyond drop off or pick up unless previously arranged. We welcome parents, grandparents, and other relatives to visit and share activities, such as story-telling or arts and crafts projects.Every family is expected to provide at least five hours of volunteering per school year. Various volunteer opportunities may include field trips, assisting with our seasonal potlucks and/or school provided brunch celebrations.
Director & Head Teacher
Halimah Harden is an educator, storyteller, and advocate of early childhood education. She is a graduate of the State of Florida’s Honors College, New College of Florida. Her thesis, entitled “From Stories to Dialogue: The Student’s Path to Freedom” highlighted the intrinsic relationship between today’s teacher, student, and the love of learning process.
In 2005, Halimah worked with the Himalayan Trust Foundation as an educator and advisor for the Pangboche School in Khumbu, Nepal. Her travels took her to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she was the Assistant Professor at Wat Suan Dok’s University (MCU). It was here that she gained knowledge in meditation for younger children.
In 2011, Halimah relocated to California, where she delved into holistic education at the “Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training,” an internationally recognized program in Waldorf teaching. Until realizing her dream and opening Angel Academy, Halimah was an Early Childhood Teacher at Hearts Leap Preschool in Berkeley, California. Her pedagogical studies include Waldorf education, the Reggio Emilia Approach, and Meditation education.
Gabriella is devoted to wholeness and commits much of her time studying practices and approaches that encompass the whole being for evolving towards optimum health. She is an Anthropology Honors and Public Health graduate from the University of South Florida and credits her studies for being a catalyst in her deep curiosity for understanding the relationships of the whole self.Gabriella developed a closer relationship with early childhood education following a service trip where she volunteered as a teaching assistant in a pre-school and spending a great amount of time with her nephew.Of Puerto Rican descent, Gabriella brings Spanish language into the Angel Academy curricula.
We are a proud member of the Wonderschool network.
Wonderschool is a group of early childhood programs that combine the quality standards of the best child care centers with the warmth of an in-home program in your neighborhood.