"Hello, is this the freedom school in Bozeman?"
I can't tell you how many times I answer my cell phone and hear this question immediately following my inquiry, "How can I help you?". Parents from all over Montana, the US, and even one from South Africa are desperately seeking refuge for their children. Families are seeking refuge from masks causing respiratory infections and developmental delays, government-mandated vaccines, frequent school closures for a virus scientifically proven not to be a risk to children, forced political agendas on educators, and shameless indoctrination of children.
Let's not forget, "Nature finds a way," Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park.
Epoch, Inc, the non-profit entity behind the school was founded by Child Development Specialist and former educator, Chelsea Vail, and USMC Lt. Col. Justin Jackson. This dynamic duo had twin boys to think about post-pandemic and refused to send them to public school where they'd be forced to learn rather than invited to think. The pair identifies as more spiritual than religious and couldn't find a non-public school in Bozeman that wasn't tied to religion. Having studied anthroposophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, Chelsea desperately wanted a Waldorf education for the boys, but couldn't find a Waldorf school that didn't come with a catch whether it was the location, expense, or a program with good intentions that simply lost its way.
"Why don't we just start a school?" suggested Justin. And they did.
Epoch is a waldorfy forest school in Bozeman, Montana where the wild things grow literally and figuratively! Epoch is a place where kids are welcomed as they are and viewed as both spiritual and physical beings. The goal of Waldorf education is to help children find the truth, beauty, and goodness amongst the chaos of today's world and merge head, heart, and hands or mind, body, and spirit. Only natural, beautiful materials are used in the classroom and the children learn among the elements of fire, water, earth, and air regardless of weather in order to understand the interconnectedness of the universe and their place in it. Art, music, and movement are integrated throughout the curriculum and children are invited to think critically and act creatively. Knowledge will be applied through field experiences and cultural trips and children will be in charge of their learning by making their own textbooks. Our lead teacher will guide the children in their learning journey in a one-room schoolhouse sitting atop a nearly six-acre campus with a creek, hiking trails, wildflowers, a school garden and animals to care for. We are creating a renaissance education for the children of Bozeman and teaching them how to be good humans as well.
So, how do we get this dream school started off right and keep it thriving? We rely on help and support from like-minded people who feel strongly that this type of education should be the mainstream way; not the alternative. We have a wish list on our "programs" page under "Dreamlist" that allows supporters to purchase books, furniture, and school supplies and send them directly to Epoch. Should you be interested in donating monetarily, please click "donate" or RSVP to our August 10th dinner at Tanglewood, a Blue Collar Group restaurant, and meet others dedicated to the mission while learning about the growth plan from the school's founders, Chelsea Vail and Justin Jackson.
Interested in being connected to the school, but enrolling full-time is not an option? Consider becoming a member and attending our school festivals, field trips, fundraisers, plays, and other activities. You'll also receive 20% off workshops and future merchandise. We look forward to getting to know you!