Admissions Process for Early Childhood Programs

Orchard Valley offers Early Childhood programs for toddlers and preschool-age children at both its Grace Farm campus, situated on 55 beautiful acres of rolling hills and river frontage in East Montpelier, and at its lovely Child’s Garden campus, minutes from downtown Montpelier and surrounded by 150 acres of fields and woods.

Children in the early childhood programs create many magical moments in their play, work, gestures and insightful words…. I heard one child say, ‘Let’s call this ship the Friend Ship.’
— Kay Gibson, past Child’s Garden teacher

Orchard Valley welcomes children and families of all cultures, faiths, and creeds. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. Orchard Valley families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interests.

Early Childhood Age Requirements
Grace Farm campus (East Montpelier):
•    Apple Tree: 3 years old by September 1
•    Farm and Forest Kindergarten: 3 years old by September 1

Child’s Garden campus (Montpelier):
•    Sunflower: 3 years old by September 1
•    Apple Blossom: 2 ½ by September 1

Publicly funded Pre-K:

Regardless of parental income or circumstance, all children who are age 3 or 4 on or before their school district’s kindergarten entry date (and who are not enrolled in a state-accredited, public or private kindergarten) are eligible to receive funding from the state Pre-K funding grant. For the 2019-20 school year the Pre-K funding grant is $3,356 per child. Click here for more details. Also see: PDF of VT Pre-K FAQs

Pre-K funding is only available to children who turn 5 on or after their school district’s kindergarten entry date. After this, a child is then considered to be "of kindergarten age" and may complete 1-2 years of kindergarten (depending on birth date and readiness) prior to rising to 1st grade. Families of these Kindergartners (ages 5, 6, or 7) are then eligible to apply for our Accessible-to-All (ATA) tuition adjustment.


We are here to answer any questions you may have and to help you with your application. Please contact us via the convenient form button below or directly at (802) 456-7400 or at We look forward to hearing from you!

Application Process for New Students

1) You may want to attend an “Open House” for our early childhood programs. Dates are listed on our Calendar, and our Admissions Director would also be happy to let you know when the next Open House will be.

2) Initial Application for New Applicants: Please complete an application and return it with the non-refundable application fee. We will confirm receipt. 
Grace Farm Early Childhood Application Form
Child’s Garden Application Form

3) We are delighted to schedule tours of the early childhood facilities at either campus when classes are not in session. Observation times are not available while classes are in session as they might disrupt the serene rhythm of the young children’s class experience. The early childhood faculty are happy to meet with prospective families at the end of the morning programs.

4) Admissions Interview: Once an application has been received, the parents will be contacted to schedule an interview with the class teacher.  We strongly encourage both parents to attend. This interview is an opportunity for parents and the teacher to exchange pertinent information. The program and Waldorf pedagogy are discussed to help the family determine if the program is right for their family and their child.

5) Assessment: For applicants to early childhood programs, no formal assessment is performed.
Applicants to 1st grade will be scheduled for an assessment with the early childhood teachers and
another student.

6) Admissions Decision: After the student visit, all of the observations are gathered and the Admissions Committee reaches a decision (sometimes quite informally through conversations). Our Admissions Committee consists of the class teacher, our educational support teacher, and the enrollment coordinator. Parents are notified by mail of the admission decision. Upon acceptance you will receive an acceptance packet. 

7) Finalize Enrollment: Return of enrollment forms and payment of an enrollment deposit finalizes enrollment. A completed and signed Enrollment Agreement and the enrollment deposit are due within two weeks after acceptance to hold your child’s place in the class. Deposits paid will be credited toward the tuition obligation. Please see “How to Pay” below. Financial questions may be addressed to our Business Manager. School policy and state law require that all enrollment forms must be returned to the school prior to a student attending class. 

8) Tuition Adjustment Program: You may apply for tuition adjustment following acceptance. Once the tuition adjustment process is complete, an amendment to the Enrollment Agreement will be issued.


Please contact our Enrollment Director at for information about the Early Childhood Aftercare program available at our Child’s Garden and Grace Farm campuses.

This is our first experience with Waldorf education, and we are overjoyed with the songs and stories that are brought into our home from Damon’s days at school. I never could have hoped for a more loving environment.
— Nursery parent


Learning about Waldorf Education

Orchard Valley offers a comprehensive Waldorf education and works hard to uphold Waldorf ideals. There is the hope and expectation that parents at Orchard Valley will choose to educate themselves so they have a basic (or perhaps a deep) understanding of the main tenets of Waldorf education. For your child to achieve the most benefit from his/her education, it is important that parents be in agreement with and supportive of the school’s philosophy and the work teachers are doing in school each day.

Please visit our Why Waldorf page for more information about Waldorf education.

Children with Special Needs

OVWS is happy to meet with families to assess whether we are able to meet the needs of any children with special needs. OVWS is committed to meeting each child’s social, emotional and intellectual needs, but there may be times when our scope of remedial and support services is not adequate to meet the needs of a child while balancing the needs of the class. As a private school, we do not have the resources or a mandate to provide an appropriate education for all children. OVWS reserves the right to deny acceptance or continued enrollment in the school if the faculty does not believe the school can adequately meet a child’s needs.

How to Pay

We offer two options:
1. Payment in full to our Business Office by July 1 for the upcoming school year — payable by check.

2. Installment payments via FACTS automatic withdrawal. Through this service, families can arrange the payment plan (semester, quarterly, or monthly) that works best for them.  FACTS charges a small annual fee for this service.  Click on the FACTS button link to get started.

Orchard Valley Waldorf School does not discriminate on the grounds of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin in the operation of its programs or in its admissions, hiring, or financial aid decisions.