Our History

Davis Waldorf School (DWS) was founded in 1986 by a group of parents who wanted Waldorf education for their children.  The first kindergarten opened in the fall of 1986 in the living room of a parent’s house in Dixon, California.  The school soon moved to a temporary site in a farmhouse west of Davis.  For five years the school grew into a community, housing the expanding grades in portable classrooms, holding assemblies and plays in the property's open-air barn while laying straw pathways through the flooded yard each winter.

In 1992, a generous gift of land from John and Judy Whitcombe enabled the school to move to its current five-acre site.  The campus and buildings were carefully designed to harmonize with the ecology of the landscape and the principles of Waldorf education.  One of the most distinctive features of our lower grades classrooms is the rammed earth used in the interior walls.  Formed of native California clays in beautifully swirled layers, the walls serve as integral works of art, encouraging a sense of connectedness to the Earth. Relocating the school was a community endeavor, with landscaping and prep work done by parents and faculty.  The current strings portable building was transported from the old site.  The Almond House (current preschool building) was donated by John Whitcombe. These buildings, along with the rammed-earth classrooms, formed the original DWS facilities. 

In 2005, the upper grades wing was installed.  DWS has since expanded to include: parent-child classes, two preschool and two kindergarten classes and one class each for grades 1-8.  We have added an array of subjects which include: eurythmy; strings; band; Spanish; handwork; woodwork; games and gardening. Our first parent-toddler program began in 2003 and in the Fall of 2006, we added our popular preschool program.

In 2010 , the Site Committee developed a plan for continued growth and began the first phase of the project.  We built new wings for both the kindergartens and administration using innovative green buildings. 

In 2016, the school was accredited as a full member Waldorf school by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).


Land Acknowledgement

We should take a moment to acknowledge the land on which we are gathered. For thousands of years, this land has been the home of Patwin people. Today, there are three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. 
The Patwin people have remained committed to the stewardship of this land over many centuries. It has been cherished and protected, as elders have instructed the young through generations. We are honored and grateful to be here today on their traditional lands.


What is the appropriate pronunciation of each of the indigenous names?

  • Patwin [PUTT-win]
  • Cachil Dehe [CATCH-ill DEE-HEE]
  • Kletsel Dehe [KLET-SELL DEE-HEE]
  • Yocha Dehe [YO-chuh DEE-HEE]
  • Wintun [WIN- tune]

Construction begins on the rammed earth classrooms.