About Us

Our Journey

Waterhouse Guild began small—the seedling of an idea.

When my daughter turned 5, I knew we had to start imagining school and all that entails. Thing is, this was my baby, how could I possibly turn her over to the classroom?

After much counsel and deliberation, we decided our local public school was the best option for our dear child. And it was in many ways. Because our home is book-and-pencil rich, Hannah had been exploring the realm of reading and writing for some time, so Kindergarten was a delight.

She enjoyed her friends to no end. But by the first grade, I noticed she was beginning to show signs of disinterest when it came to the work she was being presented. My sweet inquisitive child? How was this possible?

It was Hannah who planted the idea of Waterhouse Guild in my heart.

Once, at the end of day pick-up, waiting in the long line of cars snaking next to the elementary building where my Hannah would skip out of the classroom with the other little ones, I was trying to imagine how school might be different. Then, suddenly, Hannah was telling me a story at break speed as she opened the car door.

Smooching her as I buckled her in, “Hello to you too!”

“Mommy, didn’t you hear?” Samantha got SICK and threw up all over!

“Oh my!”

“It’s okay Mommy. Stan paralyzed it.”

“He what?” I thought to myself.

And then I smiled.

Stan, the school janitor, had come into the classroom with his equipment and sterilized the floor.

What I realized right then and there is that the unfortunate thing for some children—and my bright precocious daughter fell into this category—is that the bell-curve nature of traditional classroom learning cannot always best serve individuality, cannot blossom individual genius.

What I was discovering is that traditional education, in its effort to serve an enormous diversity of children, has by default created a sterile, one-size-must-fit-all offering. This is not to say that traditional approaches to school don’t try to serve individuality. But how can they? It is a pretty massive endeavor.

This may not be a perfect analogy, but in thinking of the one-size-fits-all approach as something sterile, this got me to thinking that sterile environments are not natural. We are created, after all, to live with microbes. This is what makes our immunity strong.

Hannah, in that long-ago moment, taught me that when you sterilize something, there is the distinct possibility that you paralyze it.

The very next year, along with my friend Sara, and about four other families, I transformed our 600-square-foot-house by day to Waterhouse Guild, a place where 10 little children, Kindergarten through 4th grade could delight in the art of learning.

For the past 25 years, I’ve been busy bringing shape to this idea—Waterhouse Guild—whose sole mission is to water the individual seed of genius in every child in a setting that is at once academically rigorous and cozy like home. And the journey has been far from sterile, quite the contrary. Imagine a place where curiosity opens the child’s eyes to possibility and you will be in our midst. Oh, the stories I can tell!

– Kimberly Bredberg