Otto Specht School

The Otto Specht School offers a variety of educational programs designed to meet the needs of students with developmental delays, social and sensory sensitivities, and learning challenges. We provide developmentally appropriate academic and artistic curricula in small, individualized class settings. Artistic activities — speech and movement, visual and musical — are integral to our classroom activities, as are practical skills such as cooking, weaving, wood- and metalworking, farming and animal care.

The Otto Specht School Offers . . .

A full-time school for grades 1 through 12 providing a Waldorf curriculum adapted to each child’s developmental and learning needs, and the opportunity to earn a high school diploma. Classes have a ratio of no more than one teacher to five children, and each child benefits from an individualized pedagogical program designed to address her or his particular needs.

A part-time Practical Arts program for students in grades 9 through 12 who need a vocational/fine arts curriculum to supplement or enhance their current academic program.

A half-day or full-day Early Childhood program. Here children ages 5 to 7 have individualized programming with the opportunity to spend a portion of the day integrated with the life and work of the Fellowship Community and the neighboring Green Meadow Waldorf School’s Farm Kindergarten.

A Transitional Life Skills Program for students who have completed high school courses and need a post-secondary program to build the practical, vocational and social skills required to successfully navigate their path towards independent living. This program offers career and internship opportunities through partnerships with the Fellowship Community and area businesses.

Our Campus

All program activities take place on the campuses of the Fellowship Community and neighboring Threefold Educational Center. The Fellowship Community is an intergenerational intentional community and farm established for the care of the elderly. Our school's community-based setting provides many varied opportunities for our students to strengthen their practical, social and cognitive skills so that they gain success towards being independent learners and members of society.

Whether we are gathering eggs from the chicken coop, harvesting beets, sewing a doll, studying biology, or building a bench, an Otto Specht School education is not defined by the four walls of a classroom; the world is our classroom.

Our Mission

The mission of the Otto Specht School is to make possible a self-sufficient and positive future for children with developmental delays, learning challenges and sensory imbalances who do not thrive in a typical classroom setting. To this end we provide innovative educational programming, based on the methods of Waldorf education, in a safe environment where therapeutic, social, and academic needs are addressed. We emphasize the healing nature of practical work, artistic activities, and caring for others; our children learn and work on a farm, in craft shops and with the elderly in service of the larger community. This innovative approach supports each child's individual path toward self-development and independent functioning in the world.

Otto Specht and Rudolf Steiner

Our school is based on the enlightened and carefully drawn insights into child development of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Rudolf Steiner challenged teachers to perceive and respond to children’s individual developmental needs at each stage of life. He described the foundation of anthroposophy, the name given to his world view, as the "wisdom of the human being," with the understanding that each human being has a unique body, soul and eternal spirit. It is through the harmonious relating of the individual’s cognition, feeling life, and will-activity that true education can occur. Waldorf education, one of the largest and fastest-growing independent school movements in the world, is grounded in these insights.

As a young man, Rudolf Steiner became tutor and care-giver to Otto Specht, age eleven, a child with social and learning difficulties who was considered uneducable. Once Rudolf Steiner became responsible for Otto’s education, he employed carefully planned lessons that focused mainly on limb activity. After two years of intensive work, Otto was on grade level and able to enter a school. Rudolf Steiner continued to tutor the boy daily, and Otto completed his education by becoming a physician.

Rudolf Steiner attributed the foundation of Waldorf education to his early educational work with Otto Specht. Through Rudolf Steiner’s insights, we strive to find the path on which each child can find her or his way to a meaningful educational experience just as our school’s namesake did.

Contact Us

For more information about the Otto Specht School, including enrollment opportunities, please contact Jeanette Rodriguez at 845-352-5020 x30 or


For more information about the Otto Specht School, including enrollment opportunities, contact Jeanette Rodriguez:
845-352-5020 x130 or

The Otto Specht School
260 Hungry Hollow Rd
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977
845-352-5020 x130

The Otto Specht School is operated by Threefold Educational Center in cooperation with the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation and the Fellowship Community. The school operates under the charter of the Threefold Educational Foundation and School granted by the New York State Education Department. The Otto Specht School also collaborates with Green Meadow Waldorf School to provide integrated activities that enhance the learning experience for each child as appropriate and needed.