Camphill Special School was formed when Downingtown Special School and Donegal Springs, curative homes for children that began in 1954 and 1961 in Pennsylvania, merged. After an extensive search for a location to house an ever-growing number of children and volunteer coworkers, a beautiful fifty-seven acre farm in rural East Nantmeal, Pennsylvania, was purchased in October 1963.

Ursel Pietzner

Ursel Pietzner

Our Founders

Carlo and Ursel Pietzner are our founders. Carlo was associated with the first Camphill in Scotland very early on (1941). He and Ursel met there in 1949.

In her “The History of Beaver Run: Thirty Years 1963–1993,” Ursel wrote:

Beaver Run, the “Millionaire’s Place” as we called it, was so beautifully kept by the lady who owned it. She lived alone with her six Siamese cats. The large house had wall-to-wall carpets, a flower garden (mainly irises), pool, horses grazing in the field…On December 9 we moved in, “lock, stock and barrel,” seventeen children, plus coworkers and the Pietzner family!

Whitestone in our early years.

Whitestone in our early years.

That house now is known as “Whitestone.” In 1964 its barn had to be remodeled as additional living space (“Chantry”).

Camphill Special School became a Pennsylvania Approved Private School in 1980 and is accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, and the National Council for Private School Accreditations.

Children’s Village

One of our early classrooms.

One of our early classrooms.

The first house purposely built to serve as a home for children with special needs and volunteer coworkers, “Rock Crystal,” was built in 1967. Rock Crystal has the foundation stone for The Children’s Village within it. Since then, Camphill Special School has grown to include eighty-one acres; twelve additional houses; “Rainbow Hall,” a common meeting/performance/celebration space; “Celandine,” a medical and therapy building; “Hephaestos,” for maintenance; our Craft House and store; a barn; office building; and Karl Koenig Schoolhouse.

Transition Program

In 2002 we established a new Transition Program for students completing our high school program. This vocational program, designed especially for eighteen to twenty-one year old students, is located at Beaver Farm.

Camphill Academy

Sharing our knowledge of curative education and the care of children with special needs has been a hallmark of Camphill Special School since its inception. Camphill Academy prepares adults for careers in curative education and social therapy in its foundation studies, professional certification courses, and BA completion options.