At Lakeside, children learn about themselves and the world around them. It is a place where children can still be children as they learn to be contributing members of a community. The experiences at Lakeside lay a strong foundation for success in all areas of life by fostering confdence, self-reliance, independence, a genuine interest in others, and a life-long love of learning.

Parents and community members are invited to participate in our parent education evenings, work parties, community events and rich festival life. 

Lakeside School runs from early September to mid-June and is a developing member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. It is located on the corners of Cook and Leaning Road in Essex, NY at Black Kettle Farm.

Lakeside School is recognized and chartered by the NYS Department of Education and is a developing member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.

Our Mission

Drawing from the surrounding farms and forest and based on Waldorf education, Lakeside School cultivates the whole child in an evolving ecosystem of independent thinking, community spirit, and stewardship of our natural world.

Our Vision

At Lakeside School, we strive to meet the needs of the community we serve: our children and their families, our faculty, and our neighbors in the surrounding Adirondack Park. 


Our Children. By encouraging independent exploration in both farmland and wild forest we seek to expand our students’ understanding of themselves and the world around them. By fostering compassion and flexible thinking, our students will carry with them confidence and courage as they join the global community. We accomplish this through:

  • exploring the relationships between humans and nature through sustainable farming;

  • emboldening our students to participate in forest exploration;

  • building developmentally appropriate foundations of science, mathematics, language, and arts through Waldorf philosophy; and 

  • providing families with opportunities to nurture their children with a better knowledge of developmentally appropriate expectations.


Our Faculty. Lakeside School is committed to supporting the professional growth and creativity of our faculty by endowing them with the freedom of self-direction in developing curricula and facilitating a collaborative interaction between teacher, child, and parent. 


Our Community. As a school, we strive to create an accepting environment that fosters a love of learning and a sense of hope for the future. Throughout the year, Lakeside School invites our surrounding neighbors to join us for seasonal celebrations, community discussions, and family activities. By practicing responsible stewardship, we model a commitment to duty and service to our community and land.


Our Faculty


Melissa Fredrick joins us this year as our new Sprouts Teacher. She has a BA from St. Lawrence University and a Masters of Education from Antioch University of New England focusing on Nature Based Early Childhood Education. Melissa has been working with children outdoors for her entire post-graduate life starting as an Environmental Educator before gravitating toward Early Childhood and launching Alabama’s first Nature Based Preschool. Melissa’s roots are in the Adirondacks and her passion for the outdoors and early life fuels most of her personal time enjoying the Adirondacks, pursuing a Doula Certification and traveling.


Becky Johnson joined us as the Movement and Games Teacher for the Elementary Grades, but has since taken on the role of acting Forest Kindergarten Assistant and Aftercare Teacher, a position she held at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. Becky has played soccer at the college level, and coached public school and college soccer teams. Becky brings her love of hiking, running, skiing, gardening, art, and yoga to Lakeside. Becky and her family live in Keene Valley, NY.

Kathleen Morse our 1st – 3rd grade teacher, completed her BS in Education with a concentration in Mathematics at SUNY Fredonia and her MS in Education with a concentration on Waldorf Education at Sunbridge College.  She has experience teaching early grades at Saratoga Springs Waldorf School, and teaching middle school at Monadnock Waldorf School. Kathleen was the Director of Admissions & Summer Courses at Sunbridge Institute.

Irwin Sayward, our Maintenance Worker, is a retired  dairy  farmer  and  the  great  grandfather of one of our Sprouts. He knows how to do a little bit of everything and continuously saves the day with his fix-it know how.


Jade Sayward grew up in Willsboro on her parents’ hobby farm and grandparents’ dairy farm. She has dual degrees in liberal arts and arts and science from Clinton Community College and SUNY Canton. She is excited to be at Lakeside to begin her career in early childhood education. Jade also has two baby goats, Roscoe and Remy, which she brings to Sprouts every day for the children to play with and feed. We are so happy to have Jade’s loving presence and natural ability with our youngest students.

Jess Stone 

Maeve Taylor our School Administrator, worked as a recreation/environmental education program manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service for fifteen years, mainly in Alaska. She also managed an Alaskan youth environmental leadership program for the National Wildlife Federation. She has a BS in Biology and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Masters in Wildlife Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 

Gregg Van Deusen our Lead Kindergarten teacher, has been at Lakeside from its infancy.  He was the assistant teacher for seven years, and taught children for sixteen years at camps and outdoor schools across the country.  He has an AA in Rural Resource Management from Sterling College, and a BS in Outdoor Education/Natural History from Northland College.  Gregg spends his summers guiding trips at Northwaters Wilderness Programs in Temagami, Ontario.  

Julie Warren joined Lakeside School's faculty in 2013 as the After Care teacher and Mountain Tots program coordinator. Currently, she leads Mountain Tots on Friday mornings. Julie began her career in education while living in Colorado, where she split her time working as a teacher’s assistant during the school year, and as an outdoor educator during the summers.  She earned her elementary teaching certification from the University of Colorado.

 Noah Weber is our new Lead Aftercare Teacher for Kindergarten and Elementary, as well as our Farm and Forest Summer Camp Teacher for ages four to nine. Noah comes to us with years of experience doing ecology field work, a degree in Geology, years of running his own farm, parenting his two young children, and a passion for sharing his love for the outdoors with children through creative adventures. Noah and his family moved home to New York a year ago from their farm in Montana. 

Black Kettle Farm

Since our move to Black Kettle in 2007, we have implemented a farm-based program, whose roots grow deeper each year.  Our unique setting allows us the opportunity to experience an education inspired by Waldorf philosophy in a deep and rich way. 


From animal husbandry to planting, tending, and harvesting their produce, children experience the seasonal food cycles of agriculture first-hand. Each fall, after the fall harvest is over, the children put the beds to sleep for the winter.  They enjoy the fruits of their labor over the fall and winter by using root vegetables for soup, apples for applesauce, and grapes for grape juice.  Over the last few years, they have cared for sheep, pigs, draft horses, goats, kids, cows, and laying hens.  Herbs from their herb garden are made into healing salves and ointments to give as gifts.  Any uneaten food goes to the compost pile to nourish the soil.

The Eddy Foundation

Lakeside School was fortunate to lease--and then purchase--Black Kettle Farm from the Eddy Foundation.  The Eddy Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a focus on supporting a sustainable interface between humans and the ecosystem.  The foundation purchased the 213-acre Black Kettle Farm in 2000 as part of a wildlife corridor connecting Lake Champlain with the High Peaks.  Over the years, the farm provided a variety of educational programs and opportunities.  At the same time, it always operated as a "wild farm," where wildlife and farming can coexist harmoniously.


Lakeside is honored to continue the stewardship of this land as we develop the farming component to our school at Black Kettle. In 2018, Lakeside School purchased Black Kettle Farm from the Eddy Foundation. If you would like to learn more about our Capital Campaign, please click here.


From our beginnings in 2006, the Eddy Foundation has been hugely supportive of Lakeside.  Their generosity allowed us to gain momentum early on and we are so grateful for their continued support!