We balance the inner and outer development of children through deeply connecting children, parents and teachers to self, others and the planet.  


  • Discovering the World
  • Knowing Oneself
  • Engaging in Community
  • Connecting  with Nature

Our History:


Running River School was founded in 2001 by Nancy Monson and a group of committed parents and teachers. After teaching in both public and private schools, and being the director of Homestar Child Development Center (an infant through preschool daycare center), Nancy brought her experience,  research and passion to the creation of a new model of education. The outdoor program she started at Homestar included gardening and hiking. She saw children thrive in nature; she witnessed their curiosity, their sense of wonder and awe, reflected back in play and in constant questions. She also saw and felt the light fading in their eyes when they visited her after moving on to kindergarten. When parents came to her in 2000 to ask her to start a school so that their children could continue to love learning, she gladly agreed. She formed a group that spent a year planning the opening of Running River. Her goal: to balance the inner and outer development of children; to address every aspect of what it means to become a healthy, thriving, caring human being.

The Running River Learning Paradigm is a careful fusion of the finest qualities of the most well researched and highly regarded alternative schooling systems in the Western World, making it a uniquely progressive and optimal learning system of holistic education - a life affirming and democratic response to the challenges of the 21st century.

Our roots are based on a large body of accumulated wisdom and experience by alternative educators that state that the fundamental purpose of education is to nourish the inherent possibilities of human development and be consciously directed towards the evolution and uplifting of humanity and not the continuation of the status quo. In the words of Sir Ken Robinson, "The aim of education is to enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens.” 

In 2005 the school moved from S. Boulder to its current location in Lafayette: the beautiful 3.5 acre site of the New Church of Boulder Valley. Running River has a playground built by parents, a large playing field, a chicken coop built by the students (with chickens raised by students), a garden, a compost area, a labyrinth, and a beloved giant tree.

Running River is working towards buying a large piece of land, joining with Homestar to extend their model of education from pre-birth through the teen years.  Our vision includes wild spaces for exploration and play, a sports field, farm animals, gardens, theater, carpentry and art shops and a parent education center.