Lower school begins at 8am with dismissal beginning at 3pm. After school options are available until 6:00 pm and early morning care begins at 7:30 am.
EXPRESSIONS OF QUAKERISM
A core belief of Quakerism is that “there is that of God in everyone.” Teachers value the individuality and voice of each child and create classroom environments where six testimonies are explored in ways appropriate to the age of the students: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship.
All lower school students gather weekly in Meeting for Worship, the center of Quaker expression. This time of quiet reflection is largely defined by each individual and informed by each person’s own religious tradition and identity. Sometimes a student or teacher may feel inspired to stand and speak, sharing a thought that is formed during worship. An example of a young child’s message might be, “I love my school because you get to have so many friends,” or, “I’m really sad that my dog is sick.” Meeting for Worship can look differently depending on the age of the children in a classroom, and the format in which it is set. For example, students meet for worship as a whole lower school division, with another class or within their own classroom.
Teachers also carry the tenets of Quakerism into our conflict resolution program as children are supported in working toward independence in solving problems with peers.
PRESCHOOL AND PRE-KINDERGARTEN LOGISTICAL OVERVIEW
The Preschool Day
School begins at 8:00am, with dismissal options at noon and at 3:00pm. Early morning care is available at no extra charge, beginning at 7:30am. Families may enroll in the After-School Program, with a choice of 4:45 or 6:00pm pick-up, either by contract (for the same days each week) or as needed on a drop-in basis. Childcare is available during designated school vacations and on designated noon dismissal days.
Two Teachers in Each Classroom
In each preschool and pre-kindergarten classroom, there are two full-time teachers - a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. There is also another early years assistant available to help out in classrooms throughout the school day as needed.
Preschool and pre-k students have the opportunity to take part in classes with specialists each week. Preschoolers join music and movement class twice a week and have a dedicated art time with our early years art teacher once each week. In pre-k, every student has classes each week in art, music, physical education, and Spanish; students are also introduced to STEM Lab activities starting in pre-kindergarten. Our librarians work with preschool and pre-kindergarten teachers to arrange visits to the classroom or for students to visit the library to check out books consistently.
Progress Reports and Conferences
Preschool and pre-k parent-teacher conferences are scheduled three times a year: mid-October, late January, and mid-April. Written reports are provided to parents in January and June. Communication between teachers and parents is always encouraged through personal conversation at drop off or pick up, or by email.
KINDERGARTEN THROUGH FIFTH GRADE LOGISTICAL OVERVIEW
The School Day
Lower school begins at 8:00 am each morning and ends at 3:00. While no “special” classes begin in kindergarten before 9:00 am, “special” classes (see below) may start at 8:20 am in grades one through five. Early morning care is available, at no extra charge, beginning at 7:30 am. Families may enroll in the After-School Program, with a choice of 4:45 or 6:00 pm pick-up, either by contract (for the same days each week) or as needed on a drop-in basis. Childcare is also available during designated school vacations and on designated noon dismissal days.
Teacher/Student Ratio in Classrooms
Kindergarten classrooms each have lead teachers with full day associate teachers. In grades one through four, associate teachers are assigned as needed, according to class size and the developmental needs of the students in those grades. This approach allows for greater flexibility in small group work as well as for simultaneous individual and group instruction. This model gives Friends a low student-teacher ratio, ensuring attention to each child.
Much of the lower school curriculum is integrated around themes, and teachers work in teams to coordinate projects across disciplines. For example, a first grader studying ants as part of an insect unit in the homebase classroom might also make a papier maché ant in art class and do internet research on ants with the support of the library media specialist.
Fifth graders continue to have a homebase and integrated curriculum, but in this last year of lower school, they have additional responsibilities and privileges, including participation in the fifth grade musical theater production. Fifth graders are grouped in both home base and color groups, which allows for increased interactions with their peers over the course of the day. Other distinctive features of fifth grade include an overnight community building trip that provides an experience away from home and campus.
Classes beyond the core subjects are known at lower school as “specials.” From kindergarten through fifth grade, every student has classes each week in art, music, physical education, science, Spanish, and technology. Students work with technology includes digital and information literacy, research, and coding. Librarians also work with home base teachers and specialists to integrate skills learned in multiple content areas.
Throughout lower school, reading is expected on a regular basis at home. For pre-readers and emerging readers, that might be in the form of listening to stories read to them by a parent or older sibling. The expectation for independent reading grows as the student matures. For our oldest students, the expectation is for independent reading of at least 120 minutes each week; students are encouraged to complete that reading in a way that works best for them. They might get engrossed in their book and read 120 minutes straight over the weekend or they might want to pace their reading throughout the week. Until they reach fifth grade, assigned homework is in the area of math and/or language arts, and occasionally in social studies. Just as the expectations for reading progress over time, so do the expectations for other homework. In first and second grade, for example, children have a variety of math and language arts hands-on activities to choose from at home that are extensions of their learning at school. In third and fourth grade, more specific work is assigned on a regular basis. By the time they reach fifth grade, their homework assignments are longer and often not due for several days in order to support the development of good time management skills.
Choir and band are offered to fourth and fifth-grade students and no audition is required. Band sectionals occur once a week before the school day begins, and the full band practices once a week during the school day. Choir practice may be scheduled before, after or during school, depending on interest and availability. Other after-school activities are also available through the After-School Program or in response to student interest.
Progress Reports and Conferences
Kindergarten through fifth grade conferences are scheduled three times a year: in mid-October, late January, and mid-April. Written reports are provided to parents in January and June. Communication between teachers and parents is always encouraged through personal conversation at drop off or pick up, or by email.