Walden School (New York City)

Walden School was a private day school in Manhattan, New York City, that operated from 1914 until 1988, when it merged with the New Lincoln School; the merged school closed in 1991. Walden was known as an innovator in progressive education. Faculty were addressed by first names and students were given great leeway in determining their course of study. Located on Central Park West at 88th Street, the school was very popular with intellectual families from New York's Upper West Side and with families based in Greenwich Village.[1][2] The Walden School was founded in 1914 by Margaret Naumburg, an educator who later became an art therapist.[1][3] Claire Raphael Reis, a musician, was also involved.[4]

Naumburg, who had been exposed to the theories of John Dewey at Columbia University, embraced "individual transformation" as an education principle, encouraging creative expression and self-motivated learning.[5][6] Throughout its history, the Walden School emphasized the visual and performing arts. Competition between students was minimized. No exams were required for admission.[1]

Walden's original building at Central Park West at 88th Street has been demolished. However, Walden's adjacent building at 1 West 88th, now known as the Goodman Building after Walden alumnus and civil rights martyr Andrew Goodman, is now occupied by the Trevor Day School.

Notable facultyEdit

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Douglas Martin, Walden School, At 73, Files for Bankruptcy, The New York Times, June 23, 1987
  2. ^ Wolfgang Saxon, Planned Merger to Cut Costs For Two Private Day Schools, The New York Times, May 10, 1988
  3. ^ Margaret Naumburg, Walden School Founder, Dies, The New York Times, March 6, 1983
  4. ^ "REIS, CLAIRE RAPHAEL | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Tshaonline.org. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Daniel Schugurensky (2002), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century: 1914 – Margaret Naumburg promotes art therapy at Walden School, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Accessed September 24, 2010.
  6. ^ Susan F. Semel and Alan R. Sadovnik, The Contemporary Small-School Movement: Lessons from the History of Progressive Education, Teachers College Record
  7. ^ Anna Kisselgoff, Jane Dudley, Modern Dancer And Teacher, Is Dead at 89, The New York Times. September 22, 2001
  8. ^ "Chaney, Goodman & Schwerner". Core-online.org. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/arts/saul-landau-maker-of-films-with-leftist-edge-dies-at-77.html?pagewanted=all
Further reading
  • Margaret Naumburg (1928), The Child and the World: Dialogues in Modern Education. New York: Harcourt Brace.


External linksEdit

  • ^ Hinitz, B. F. (2013). "The Impact of Margaret Naumburg and Walden School on Early Childhood Education in the United States". In Hinitz, B. F. (ed.). The Hidden History of Early Childhood Education. New York & London: Routledge. pp. 181–212.