English-Spanish Elementary School

May we raise children

who love the unloved

things – the dandelion, the

worms and spiderlings.

Children who sense

the rose needs the thorn

And run into rainswept days

the same way they

turn towards sun…

And when they’re grown and

someone has to speak for those

who have no voice

may they draw upon that

wilder bond, those days of

tending tender things

and be the ones.

Nicolette Sowder

We are growing our intergenerational learning community!

In Fall 2024, we will support the holistic development of children by welcoming a cohort of learners ages 5-12. We are excited to bring people of different cultures together by offering language immersion opportunities in Spanish and English in this new younger cohort. The New River Valley is home to a diverse population, including those seeking asylum in the United States. Language immersion is the first step we will take to bring people of diverse backgrounds together in our educational programs.

The Program

Our elementary school program is informed by Sourced Education, a curriculum that supports intergenerational, holistic development and leads us toward a thriving world. Cultural renewal happens when we learn how to live our lives fully and create the conditions for others to do the same.

In our elementary program, we support young learners by encouraging their natural curiosity and wonder. In this cohort, children learn about their family and community and practice the skills they need to relate with others. They begin to learn about the wonders of the ecosystem and explore the history and geography of their local region and the world.

They build foundational skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and basic technology, and they have ample time to use their imagination, experiment, play, and be creative. Our younger age cohort has opportunities for immersion in both Spanish and English. This cohort will be led by staff members fluent in both languages.

Learning happens outside on our 11-acre campus, in the classroom, in our print shop, and in our local community. Children learn with their peers as well as in larger mixed-aged groups when appropriate. Learning at Springhouse is interdisciplinary, hands-on, and intergenerational. We regularly engage in practices that foster a sense of community such as singing, dancing, taking care of our spaces, and playing games together.

Meet our incoming Language Immersion Director!

Gigi Austin was raised an Appalachian Mountain girl and spent much of her childhood hunting, fishing, and farming in Southwest Virginia. Her dad instilled in her a deep love for Nature and its conservation. Her mother taught her social graces and grit. Gigi left her home after college and spent the next twenty years developing her career as a language instructor and facilitator of conscious travel communities. Some of the most treasured experiences she accrued during her seven years of wanderings include: walking the full Camino de Santiago in Spain, WWOOFing across Chile, working at a hostel while living in a tent on the Uruguayan coast, raising baby goats on a ranch in Texas, couchsurfing the south of South America, leading people-to-people exchange programs in Cuba, apprenticing as a Dream Quest guide, leading 70-day Gap Year programs in Latin America, teaching yoga at a silent retreat center in the mountains of Guatemala, and going on a safari in Tanzania. Of the twenty-four countries where Spanish is an official language, Gigi has experienced twenty firsthand. She has recently returned to the ‘hollers and hills of the Virginia that raised her and looks forward to contributing to a cultural renovation of the area. Gigi will serve as the Language Immersion Director beginning in the summer of 2024.

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

William Martin

Is This Program For You?

We seek families who understand that, to live in a thriving world, the purpose and practice of education must fundamentally change. To determine whether this program is for your family and child, please consider these questions:

Are you ready to be part of a community with a long-term vision to live in a world where all life thrives?

Do you understand that education must fundamentally change – its purpose and practice – for us to no longer perpetuate the status quo and transition to a thriving world?

Are you open to vitality being the primary measure of your child’s success, which encompasses all aspects of one’s life, including self-sufficiency, intellectual competency, emotional health, having a sense of meaning, and a commitment to lifelong learning?

Are you ready to be part of a pilot program and an innovative educational model where change is the norm?

Are you an English or Spanish speaking family and want your child to have immersive experiences with your non-dominant language?

Are you eager to connect with others from different cultural backgrounds?

If you answered yes to these questions, this program might be right for your family, and you can follow the next steps listed below.

Next Steps

  1. Attend an Info Session or Visiting Day or arrange a school visit (email info@springhouse.org to schedule).

  2. Submit the two-part application found below.

  3. Once the application is submitted, you will be contacted to schedule an admissions interview during which you will meet with two staff members to discuss your interest and any questions you have. Interviews are conducted in your dominant language.

  4. Shortly after the interview, you will be contacted regarding acceptance and further steps for enrollment, including determining your tuition rate.

The deadline for applying to the elementary cohort is August 3rd, 2024.


We have set tuition rates for our school programs, and we remain committed to ensuring that no one is turned away due to a lack of funds (learn more about our economic approach).

Springhouse has three tuition rates for our school programs:

  1. Pay-it-Forward Rate: $10,000 (Default payment schedule is $1000/mo for 10 months)

  2. Sustaining Rate: $8,000 (Default payment schedule is $800/mo for 10 months)

  3. Supported Rate: We remain committed to accessibility, and no one is turned away due to lack of funds. If you cannot afford either of the rates above, please review our Supported Tuition Rate Packet and prepare for a tuition meeting with Chris