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At GFS, we believe that the hours after school are a critical component of a child’s day. We offer a wide range of fun and enriching after-school activities designed not only to engage and excite children, but also to reinforce the essential values taught throughout the day.


Available to students in Preschool and PreK

Our after-school program for students in Early Childhood is available on both Main Campus and in Center City. It includes circle time and enrichment activities, such as science, art, creative movement, and of course, play! The program is led by GFS floater teachers, so the experience for children is an extension of the school day, and is both comfortable and familiar.


Our after-school program called ASPire captures the fundamentals of our philosophy, namely providing opportunities for children to imagine their futures, reach beyond their comfort zones, and explore new experiences. Each afternoon, students choose from an array of activities, including (but not limited to): arts and crafts, lego’s and games, homework help, and playground time.

AFTER-SCHOOL CLUBS (Preschool-Grade 5)

Our clubs program offers students the opportunity to explore a wide range of activities they might not otherwise encounter during the school day. We also hope that our clubs afford students the chance to spend time with students from other grades and friend groups, and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of engaging club leaders. Some of the clubs offered include Karate, Ceramics, Science Explorers, Cooking for Kids, Chess, Magic, and more.


These music ensembles provide students with the opportunity to extend their musical knowledge in a group setting alongside friends and classmates. ORCHESTRA is open to any Lower School student who has taken private lessons for at least one year. CHORUS and WORLD PERCUSSION are open to all fourth and fifth graders, and no experience is required. Forty-five minute rehearsals occur once a week after school. Sessions run through the fall and spring, with a break in the winter. All three ensembles perform twice a year, at the end of each term.


ASPire offers special daylong programs when GFS is closed for teacher conferences, in-service days, and certain holidays. Special program days are also offered during one week of spring break vacation. Programs take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants (who must pre-register through Active Network) will also enjoy field trips and other special activities. 

GFS has two school nurses who provide in-person assistance to students on Main Campus as well as telehealth assistance to those at the Center City campus.

Outdoor time is an important part of our program. Students on both campuses spend at least an hour outside each day.  On Main Campus we have access to an Early Childhood play yard, and students at our Center City campus use the nearby city parks.  Both campuses have access to an indoor space during inclement weather.

Lunch and snacks are brought from home in the Early Childhood and Lower School programs. GFS food services become available in middle and upper school.

Students enrolled in the Early Childhood division do not need to submit a new application for the GFS Lower School.  The developmental growth rates of each child are difficult to predict when children come to us at very young ages, so each student’s potential for success in GFS’ Kindergarten is assessed and communicated through our progress reviews and parent-teacher conferences. We will inform parents if there are any questions about a student’s promotion to the next year and an offer of re-enrollment at GFS.

Like most area independent schools, GFS uses a September 1 date to organize the chronological ages of each classroom cohort.  As a result, children with birthdays in June, July, and August will be either the youngest in their “grade” or the oldest. The admissions process at GFS will help to reveal (and, once enrolled, the school will advise parents on) which “grade” placement will suit each individual child. Some children will progress through our Early Childhood program in two years, and some will progress through our Early Childhood program in three years.  This is dependent upon many factors, including- but not limited to- chronological age.

Each division has different start and end times. For Early Childhood, drop off is between 7:45-8:00 am with an official start time of 8:00 am. The school day ends at 3:10 pm.  Aftercare is available until either 5:00 or 6:00 pm.

All Early Childhood students have time to rest their bodies and brains in the afternoon. Those that are non-nappers will get up and move out of the classroom to engage in free play until the end of rest time.

Students need to be at least 3 years old by September 1 of the school year they are applying for in order to enter Preschool. Students who are not yet old enough to meet this age eligibility requirement will need to wait until the following school year to be eligible for enrollment. For PreK, students must be 4 years old by September 1 of the school year they are applying for. 

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.

Registering for and attending GFS admissions visits conveys a shared expectation of complying with all school health and safety policies—designed with the health and wellbeing of all in mind—and recognition that these policies may change. Please note that GFS requires the COVID-19 vaccine for all of our students, faculty, and staff. 

  • If your child is unwell in any way on the day before or day of your appointment, please contact us so may assist with rescheduling your appointment. This includes symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, congestion, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. 
  • Masking is optional on campus. Masking is optional in accordance with current PDPH guidance.

"First round review" means that our Admissions Committee will first review all applications that are completed by January 7, 2022. These applications will receive an admission decision (admit, waitpool, or regret) by February 1, 2022, and a financial aid package (as applicable), shortly thereafter.  

Applications completed after January 7, 2022 will move into "rolling admissions" means that applications will be reviewed by our Admissions Committee on an ongoing basis and will receive an admission and financial aid decision once available (typically bi-weekly). It is important to note that the availability of spots and financial aid both decrease during rolling admissions, and it is possible that the best possible outcome during this time could be a waitpool decision. 

GFS is proud to award $5.3 million dollars of need-based financial aid. Financial aid is available for families with students who are applying to Kindergarten through grade 12. The deadline for submitting financial aid applications, as well as supporting documents, is January 4, 2021.

  • Start your FAST application and begin gathering information outlined in the Downloadable Worksheet.
  • Complete all steps in the Financial Aid application process, including uploading copies of your 2019 tax and 2020 income documentation by January 4, 2021 to be eligible for first round financial aid review for the 2021-22 School Year.

Please review our detailed Financial Aid instructions.

In addition to scheduling and completing your Virtual Parent Interview, complete all division- or grade specific application items by January 4, 2021 to be eligible for first round review for the 2021-22 School Year. These items are outlined in detail within the Veracross Admissions Portal. As you move through the application, we will help you complete the different checklist items within the process.

Early Childhood:

  • Play Observation Video
  • For PreK applicants only:
    • Virtual Readiness Assessment
    • Confidential Teacher Recommendation


  • In-Person Readiness Assessment* & Observation Video
  • Confidential Teacher Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts or School Records

Lower School, Grades 1-5

  • In-Person Admissions Testing* & Observation Video
  • Confidential Teacher Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts or School Records

Middle and Upper School

  • Confidential Teacher Recommendations
  • Admissions Testing (ISEE or SSAT)
  • Official Transcripts or School Records
  • Graded Writing Sample

*Remote/Virtual Options Available

Virtual Parent Interviews are a chance for us to get to know your family, learn about your child and answer any questions you have about GFS. They typically last about an hour and are conducted via Zoom. If you aren’t familiar with video chat, don’t worry — we’re here to help! Please schedule your Virtual Parent Interview as soon as you have submitted your application as our interview slots tend to fill up quickly

The first step in the application process is to create an online inquiry. Once submitted, you will receive an email with a link to set up access to the Veracross Admissions Portal. Simply click the link and set your password.

During the pandemic, we held a number of virtual events, which had given our prospective families the opportunity to hear from GFS leadership, staff, faculty, and students. 

Currently, most of our Admissions events take place in person on our Main or Center City campuses. Occasionally, we will host virtual webinars and discussions for our prospective families to learn more about GFS right from home!

View our upcoming Admissions Events and begin your application by starting an inquiry.

We look forward to connecting and introducing you to the rich array of learning opportunities that a GFS education has to offer!

In 2020, recognizing the important benefits of on-campus instruction, during the pandemic, age-appropriate plans were created for every division. We designed our plans so that we could respond adaptively to current COVID-19 case conditions in Philadelphia and other critical data. Our decision-making was guided by the CDC, city, and state guidelines, and in consultation with our Medical Advisory Board.

In 2020 and 2021, in addition to modified on-campus instruction, we were pleased to offer Colloquia, our thoughtful hybrid learning program for Early Childhood learners through twelfth grade. Colloquia was designed to reflect the depth and breadth of the everyday GFS experience and bring students together in community online.

In 2022, students returned to campus for full-time, in-person instruction.

Ready to begin your application process?

Start here!

Create a profile in Veracross, our admissions software provider. We look forward to getting to know you and your family and introducing you to GFS.