A History of Educating Tomorrow's Leaders

For over 100 years, The Wyndcroft School has engaged students who love learning and created a supportive environment for families that value education.

Throughout its rich history, Wyndcroft has prepared new generations of children to compete actively within and to contribute to the world in which they will be taking part. Our evolving history and tradition echoes through the years. The legacy of our founders is seen in each successive generation of students--from the Jazz Age to the Nuclear Age--whose voices still resonate in Wyndcroft's evolving tradition and vision for its future.

Fresh air was always considered a restorative preparation for more lessons or study hall. Even in the early decades there were outdoor see-saws, jungle gyms, slides,
and swings, as well as open space for the blowing off of youthful steam.

Today, Wyndcroft has several play areas including our fine new green space and a special schoolyard for our littlest students. In inclement weather our beautiful gym offers shelter and space.

Throughout its history, Wyndcroft’s Commencement has marked both a farewell and the start of new adventures
on the road to maturity. Today, one of Wyndcroft’s favorite commencement traditions is the speeches that are given by each graduate as they reflect on their time as a student.

Thanks to their Wyndcroft education, graduates take with them critical leadership skills, emerging confident, poised, and prepared to succeed at the best secondary schools and beyond.

Learn more about secondary school placement

As early as the 1920’s, students commuted to Wyndcroft
from all points of the compass, just as they do today.

Above, a primeval bus meets students arriving or leaving on trains at the original Reading Company station in downtown Pottstown. Students and faculty travelled together by train and bus to commute to school.

Today, students arrive via bus and car from locations within Berks, Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery counties.

Learn more about the Areas We Serve

The inset picture dates to about 1966. The broad lawn between the 1922 main building at Rosedale and Wilson
and its 1949 addition and the two surviving wooden buildings, including our 1919 building that was moved
from our original campus on the grounds of The Hill School, has already been covered by the 1961
auditorium/gymnasium and its dependencies.

The color photo shows our present campus including Dau House (business offices) and The Marshall House (preschool).

Learn more about our campus

Throughout its history, students at Wyndcroft have had the opportunity to take field trips to poignant places around our region.

From trips within Pottstown to more far off places, Wyndcroft ensures that our education is enhanced by hands-on experiences.

Today, students enjoy overnight experiential learning each year beginning in 4th grade.

One of the highlights of the 8th grade year is the annual trip to Boston.

 

Our first Field Day was held in 1923.

In mid-century, students wore blue or yellow crepe paper ribbons on their belt to denote what team they were on.

Today, students are assigned a team color for the entirety of their time at Wyndcroft and wear their blue or gold team shirt.

 

Dramatic productions got a strong start in 1919 when Angeline Oberholtzer was appointed to teach art, music, and dancing.

In time, she became director of all dramatic productions, ably assisted over the years by faculty colleagues. Even the littlest students participated in Circus days and other such events.

Music teachers led song sessions and rehearsed students to present choral performances.

Today Wyndcroft’s performance tradition continues stronger than ever, with every Wyndcroft student getting a chance to be on stage multiple times during the school year.

Learn more about the Arts at Wyndcroft

The return of larger enrollments after the Great Depression brought greater opportunities for team sports and renewed interscholastic competition.

The completion of Wyndcroft’s  first-ever gymnasium in 1961, now repurposed as our technology classrooms and library, made games and practices possible even in bad weather. Our new gymnasium, added in 2014, offers plenty of indoor space for physical education classes and well as home basketball games. Outdoor sports are currently played at The Hill School.

Learn more about Athletics at Wyndcroft

An Overview of Wyndcroft's History

The year nineteen-eighteen reflected a growing concern within the educational community to provide not only for academic excellence, but also to provide for the healthful well-being of a child. In the midst of nationwide epidemics of measles, mumps, flu and tuberculosis, a few parents in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, members of the prestigious Hill School faculty, chose to provide a superior education for their younger children by founding a progressive "open-air" school. So began Wyndcroft's first incarnation in the sunlit porches and an open garage of a residence on the Hill School campus under the name of "The Pottstown Open Air School."

Within four years the school had changed its name to "The Wyndcroft School" and gained such popularity within the community that the parents purchased a "delightfully situated" rural property on which to expand. Here they constructed "scientifically designed buildings built for the comfort and convenience of the children," in which to hold their school. At this new Rosedale Drive address, (the present site of Wyndcroft), The Wyndcroft School flourished and by 1925 consisted of 50 pupils and 5 teachers. The buildings soon expanded to include "five outdoor bungalows, a school building with a large assembly room, office, classroom, [and] well-equipped kitchen and dining-room where the children have their noon meal."

For 23 years, from 1925 to 1948, Mrs. Mabel Day Steele focused her considerable talent and energy on the development of the small school from a curriculum based on fresh air and physical activity to one that emphasized sound academic training. Her goal? To prepare students for the best secondary schools and colleges through highly individualized instruction in small classes and a flexible curriculum. Plenty of physical activity, the stimulus of team sports, and the creativity of plays and pageants written by the students offered a diverse schedule for blossoming minds and bodies. The tradition of concluding the academic year with a May Fete including a May pole dance and other festivities flourished under her watch.

In the first year of Mr. Carlisle Snively's tenure, (Headmaster from 1948 to 1980), he enhanced Wyndcroft's reputation by bringing it into the fold of the Pennsylvania Association of Private Academic Schools and by expanding the facilities with a new building to house offices and 4 additional classrooms. A year later, athletic fields were designed and landscaped. In 1959, he oversaw the building of an addition including the first indoor area for athletics, and in 1969 he provided the upper school with 8 new classrooms. One of these rooms was a state-of-the-art laboratory, which he used as a springboard to introduce an innovative science program for kindergarten through upper school grades centered upon hands-on experimentation by individual students.

The modernization of the Wyndcroft facilities was not Mr. Snively's only contribution to Wyndcroft. He also ushered in the modern spirit of education based on freedom of inquiry and freedom of faith. In a non-sectarian environment, he sought to guide the mental, moral and religious growth of pupils. Through small classes and individual attention he encouraged students to learn through both independence and discipline, by freedom and responsibility, and by teaching each child to discover a balance between regard for self and respect for the rights of others and the common welfare.

These two Heads of School, Mrs. Mabel Day Steele and Mr. Carlisle Snively, through their many years of dedicated service, have exercised great influence over the shape and character of The Wyndcroft School. Each succeeding Head of School, taking her (or his) place at Wyndcroft, builds on the hard work and visions of those who have come before. Each helps to prepare new generations of children to compete actively within and to contribute to the world in which they will be taking part. The evolving history and tradition of the Wyndcroft School echoes through the generations. Their legacy is seen in each successive generation of students--from the Jazz Age to the Nuclear Age--whose voices still resonate in Wyndcroft's evolving tradition and vision for its future.

Wyndcroft Now

The world has changed over the years since the first class met on the porch of a home on the Hill School campus. Life at Wyndcroft today reflects those changes, of course. Our physical campus and our curricular materials bear no relation to those of the early twentieth century. But in essence, we like to think the heart of Wyndcroft has not changed at all. Excellent academics, non sibi, and happy children still abound in Wyndcroft life. Join us here for a glimpse of Wyndcroft today, and see for yourself how, in an up-to-date setting with thoroughly modern children, Wyndcroft continues to reflect the same essential values imbued by our founders.