999 Leland Drive, Lafayette, California 94549, United States
The Meher Schools (K-5) and The White Pony (preschool) offer programs for children two years old through fifth grade, with a focus on serving the needs of working parents by providing child care programs, even for very young children.
They believe in the unity of life—of faiths, races, and of all mankind. They feel that the most individual achievement is best fostered in an atmosphere of love and security, expressed through creative channels rather than competition. They encourage children to strive for high academic excellence while learning the enduring values of cooperation, community and service to the world.
In the summer of 1975, the Meher Schools, originally called The White Pony, began to fulfill the dream of Murshida Ivy Duce as a school for children based on Meher Baba's principles of love, harmony, beauty, and selfless service to life. The school draws its philosophy from the spiritual teachings of Meher Baba, who was also the teacher of Murshida Duce.
The immediate needs of their community were affordable preschool and daycare for the children of working parents, most of whom were single working mothers. They have responded to that need. They opened their doors for summer sessions in the parish hall of the local church. They expanded their programs quickly, starting in the fall of 1975, and added a kindergarten. In a couple of years, they have been expanding to the tenth grade.
Initially, their elementary school curriculum was a combination of two teaching methods. They chose to experiment with the Waldorf Method created by Rudolph Steiner and the Educational Construction created by Maria Montessori. These apparently opposite teaching methods have, in practice, fully complemented each other.
They created their program by having two teaching team-teachers, one trained in Waldorf and the other in Montessori. Their classes were rich in storytelling, hands-on activities, dance, rhythm, music, art, and integrated lessons ("main lessons"). Right from the start, they started to develop their arts program.
In 1979, they again outgrown their space and began the search for new, more permanent quarters. They have chosen their current location, the Montecito School in the Lafayette School District. Here's where they added grades 7 through 10. Murshida Duce changed the name of the school to The Meher Schools (the name Meher means compassion) for all grades except preschool.
They also added an infant/toddler program and were eventually licensed to 80 infants and toddlers. In 1982, they consolidated their programs by eliminating secondary and secondary schools.
At the end of the day, they eliminated the infant program when it became clear that they did not really serve the needs of the community by having a waiting list of over 200 preschoolers. They only had room to take children as infants, because they all stayed there. When they eliminated the infant program, they were able to expand the preschool program to serve more than 150 children.
They're now a preschool, starting at age two, and a primary school, going through grade five. Since then, Meher Schools has offered programs for children aged 2 to 5 years. Their school is still open from 7:00 a.m. At 6:30 p.m. To meet the needs of working families.