As all good Waldorf stories start out…….”Where did it happen? When did it happen? Where and when did it not happen?” Once upon a time, many years ago now, Julie Yarnall got her driver’s license and would travel as much as she could from Los Angeles, from whence she hails to the Northern lands of CA. There was just something about the beauty and way of life in Northern CA that called to her soul. On one of her visits to a little town called Petaluma, she had the chance to visit a small little school called Heart and Hands and they fell in love. Was it the towering Redwood trees that stood as guardians of the space or the magical nooks and crannies that are all about? Was it the introduction to something called Waldorf that she had never even heard of before? She doesn’t know to this day exactly what it was but there was a sense of such awe and wonder and a relationship was seeded. Many years later when Julie moved from Los Angeles to Petaluma to teach Kindergarten at Live Oak Charter School, the seed began to sprout. Dreams of owning her own school began to knock at her heart. Julie knew that she could never open a preschool of her very own as long as Heart and Hands was open as she never wanted to be in competition with Donyu, the previous owner, and then life took an interesting twist. One day a little bird whispered in Julie’s ear that Heart and Hands was closing and she knew that this could never been the case. At the time Julie was teaching Handwork and had eighth graders that had gone to Heart and Hands as pre-schoolers. She knew how long it had been there and how many families had been served. Julie contacted Donyu and the two met up in the Knitterly, the local yarn shop and dreams started formulating and taking more shape. A new vision and dream was taking form and sadly the magical yarn shop that once was is no more.
Julie purchased the business from the previous owner and took over ownership in September of 2015 and Donyu Catino has moved to Oregon. The foundation for Heart and Hands was laid and opened 27 years ago and there is so much rich history there and Heart and Hand’s lives on through the current vision of Julie Halferty-Yarnall. We were quite happy being housed on Mountainview but Donyu felt the need to sell her home and so Heart and Hands was forced to find a new home. A giant chapter closed in the history of Heart and Hands. So many children and families were served on that land…..so many memories. If a particular place could gather all of the sounds of children, what a wonderful symphony would come from that place. We received a 60 day notice to relocate and though it was terrifying and heart breaking to go through, life couldn’t be better now. We now reside on an acre and a half farm parcel. We have so many animals for the children to care for and the children have ample room to run, holler, roam, and grow. It is amazing how the universe can truly provide the desires of our hearts especially when presented in ways that we never saw coming! A new chapter was formed……this was all such a life lesson to Julie. Trusting with all of your might in the universe is a very real thing and we were truly taken care of. So much gratitude! Julie was so sad to leave the magical Buck Eye and Redwood Trees but we traded them in for one of the most majestic Oak Trees in the land.
Julie has a larger dream that entails bringing her preschool children and the elderly together somehow. She feels strongly that the two spectrums truly need one another. Perhaps this new land is one step closer to the bigger dream! She is still looking for that big old farm somewhere! In the meantime though, she has learned what it truly means to be in community and she feels that this is a much needed endeavor. Parents, as well as children need a place where they can come and simply, “be.” This is the essence of Heart and Hands.
Julie taught preschool for many years before going back to college to earn her BA and CA teaching credential. After graduating from college, she taught public school in Inglewood, CA for 3 years and then decided that teaching in that form was not for her. She was searching for a new career path and that was when she discovered Waldorf Education and her life was forever changed. That was 19 years ago now. Since that time Julie has earned 2 Master’s degrees, one in Early Childhood Education, and the other in Waldorf Education. She is Waldorf certified to teach the grades, Handwork, Early Childhood Education, and she is Lifeways certified. She taught grades 1-3 at Ocean Charter School in Los Angeles, and Kindergarten and Handwork, grades 1-8 at Live Oak Charter School in Petaluma. Julie also dreams of a Doctrate in Education someday……