The Lower School experience at Haddonfield Friends is both transitional and preparatory. Students engage in a more rigorous curriculum designed to inspire exploration and discovery through queries, observation, and hands-on, experiential activities. As early as kindergarten HFS students learn to think independently and construct their own knowledge, whether they are examining the metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly, learning to relate to the world around them via time, space, numbers, art, music and literature, solving problems, or reaching out to others in the community. The children begin to understand that every area of study is related to every other, that knowledge—and people—are immutably connected. Independent, critical thinking, social development and relationships all take center stage for even our youngest.
In grades 1 - 3, students continue to develop academic and social skills. During these years, they begin more formal academic instruction with concentrated study of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Teachers present the children with meaningful contexts in which to learn the skills they need, and in the process, continually demonstrate those academic connections that reinforce critical thinking skills and independent learning. Query, exploration, discovery and hands-on learning continue to dominate the academic atmosphere. While technology is integrated across the grades, students in grades 2 – 4 engage in a more formalized study with the school’s librarian/media specialist. Consistent with our ECC program, students across the grades enjoy field trips and special programs that augment their learning.
In grade 4, students actively prepare for the rigors of Middle School by assuming greater responsibility for their own behavior and learning. They continue to hone their academic skills and work more independently. Differentiated instruction is integral to the school’s academic approach to learning, and teachers readily accommodate rapid learners. The students work extensively on study skills, strategies for note-taking and test-taking, and formal presentations. They also assume leadership roles with the younger children, serving as “buddies” to them in Meeting for Worship and special projects. Their collective experiences provide tremendous self-confidence, and as we all know, confidence uplifts!
Curriculum: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Special Subjects (Music, P.E., Spanish, Art)