Mangrove School of Sarasota is an outdoor school and community center that embodies the place in which we live and the time in which we live. Grown with mindfulness and attention to what is local, abundant, native, and sustainable, to support our planet, along with ample opportunities for practical skills that seem more important now than ever, to foster self-reliance, ingenuity, and resilience in our students.
In what will feel like just a moment, they will be the ones shaping the world; we want them to have a sustainable model as their foundation from which to further innovate and bring forth into the future. In a world where nearly everything is automated, manufactured and disconnected from human hands, acres of land ripe for planting and building offers a unique opportunity to our community to develop a feeling of kinship with the earth.
The greenery that sustains us will be our own creation; structures from local resources, plantings, trees, meadows for playing, gardens for nourishing foods, and community gathering places for coming together are all essential elements that bring us all forward in health and fulfillment. Imagine driving onto a property lush with trees and native plantings, and each class has its own open-air classroom with plenty of shade and storage for their gear. Evidence of proactive measures for water and energy conservation dot the landscape, and joyful, healthy children contribute, play and commune with nature. Although not far from town, there is a feeling of being secluded and shielded from the frantic pace of modern-day society. A restorative environment for us all!
Mangrove School of Sarasota is dedicated to providing a nurturing and calm space in which children and families can love, learn, and grow. As a childcare facility, school, and community center that serves predominantly lower income families, we seek to engage the whole being in their education – head, heart and hands, while also honoring our inherent connection to nature through frequent exploration of and hands-on experience in our majestic natural surroundings
Mangrove School of Sarasota was founded in 2000 by a small group of dedicated parents and experienced Waldorf teachers. What began as a playgroup swiftly expanded into much-needed nursery and kindergarten programs. Our grade school soon followed, as did more families and more exceptional teachers.
Today, we offer early childhood programs and a comprehensive grades curriculum, currently to 8th grade, along with a high school mentorship program. Additionally, parent-child classes, homeschooling enrichment programs, adult practical art and homesteading classes, free summer programming, free forest school for underprivileged families, and festivals are extended to the greater Sarasota area. As Florida’s first outdoor school, we have been featured in National Geographic magazine as a game changer in education, and we have attracted a community of extraordinary teachers and families, committed to growing a school inspired by the principles of Waldorf education, with a strong connection to nature, experiential learning, and service to those in need.
We are creating a campus that supports our curriculum focus of passing on regenerative agriculture techniques, homesteading, sustainability practices, and reverence for what supported nature, long before humans cultivated the land.
The campus will include a modular classroom building, along with outdoor (covered from sun/rain) classroom areas for each student grouping, with rainwater collection and eventually solar power. Bioswales may be added to support property drainage responsibly. We will be planting a considerable number of trees and native plants to nourish the earth that provides our learning area. These choices support a healthy school experience, gathering in community in the open air, and not only minimal impact to the land but a conscious choice to nourish this land that will provide our learning environments.