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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

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The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

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Our Program

Guided by Quaker principles, our multidisciplinary curriculum is taught through a combination of structured activity and free exploration, which fosters children’s natural curiosity while providing them with the foundation needed for success in Kindergarten—and beyond.


Classes delve into topical units of group interest, and critical thinking is woven into every activity as children make observations, discuss them, problem-solve, and begin to understand how similarities and differences enhance the classroom community. Fostering a strong sense of self among our youngest learners reinforces positive self-esteem and respect for one another.

We place equal emphasis on a child’s ability to express his or her feelings and ideas in appropriate ways, as well as nurture their capacity to listen and take turns. We model the peaceful resolution of differences, and the importance of being a responsible and engaged member of the group.

The Early Childhood curriculum addresses the developmental skills that lead to Kindergarten readiness. This includes helping children sit and listen, focus, make thoughtful choices, follow multi-step directions, and self-regulate. We strive to work together, communicate often, and share our insights with parents and caregivers.

Areas of Focus

Emergent Literacy Concepts: Reader’s Workshop, storytime, creative dramatics, rhyming, and independent reading build a foundation for early literacy.

Emergent Math Concepts: Math Workshop, puzzles, sand, water, blocks, sorting, and cooking activities help to develop early math concepts.

Scientific Exploration: Children’s inherent curiosity is fostered through observations of nature and planned experiments, such as sinking and floating or freezing and melting, or engineering activities, such as blocks, weights, and pulleys.

Artistic Exploration: Creative expression is encouraged daily in the Art Center, where children can be found painting, drawing, and crafting with found objects, playdough, and other materials.

Class Groupings

Children who enter our Early Childhood Program are in the beginning stages of discovering independence and developing friendships. They have a growing awareness of the world around them, and are learning how to formulate and share ideas.

The teachers address both group and individual needs while fostering and reinforcing emergent literacy and math skills. Curriculum varies year-to-year based on group dynamics, but the Quaker testimonies, particularly Community, are featured prominently in classroom studies. An integrated approach leads to cross-curricular exploration in literacy, numeracy, the arts, book writing, and dramatic play.

Great care goes into the formation of age-appropriate groups. Preschool students must be two years, seven months by September 1. Students entering the Pre-kindergarten year are typically four years old by September 1.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Music: Children learn about instrumental melodies, song, rhythm, tempo, dance, and expression through singing, movement, and playing instruments.

Library*: Each week, children have story time in the Friends Free Library, which includes a read aloud and time for free reading. At the end of each visit, every child selects a book to check out for the classroom library.

Art: Studio time is both structured and open-ended. An artist works with the children each week, exploring and discovering different materials and using them as a means of expression. Focusing on the basic elements of art provides children with the skills and language to create, explore, and discuss art forms well beyond their Early Childhood years. During art, the children typically engage in multi-session projects, such as portraiture, ceramics, and silk screening.

Movement: Taught by a pediatric physical therapist, these weekly sessions are tailored to the physical development of each class. The children are exposed to a variety of physical activities, such as yoga, parachute play, and obstacle courses. They experience the joy of moving and strengthen fundamental motor skills, gaining greater awareness and control of their bodies. Movement helps develop a positive attitude and appreciation for a lifetime of participation in regular physical activity.

Quakerism and Meeting for Worship

We are a Friends school, under the care of Germantown Monthly Meeting. Together, love and respect for each individual provide the premise for all we do. Children in the Early Childhood Program attend Meeting for Worship once a month. The classes come together to share a story or poem, then sit quietly and reflect on the message of the story for a few minutes. Children may share their thoughts with the group if they are so moved. We close each Meeting by shaking hands. Additionally, ECP students attend GFS’s annual All-School Meeting for Worship.

Partnerships*

Children in the Early Childhood Program interact with students in all three divisions at GFS. They partner with Lower School classes for one-on-one weekly activities, and have the opportunity to play and engage with Middle School students in seventh and eighth grades. Additionally, ECP children may work individually or as a class with Upper School students through Big Sibs, a Directed Independent Study program.

*These programs will be adapted for our Center City location.

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