First through Fourth Grades
Developing Intellectual Confidence, Academic Independence
West Chester Friends School provides a strong foundation for children in important acaemic skills while also offering them the flexibility they need to be inspired. These opportunities to select and focus on an area of particular interest develop independence and a sense of self within the classroom.
Special Areas of Study
Students at every grade level extend the exploration and discovery of their talents and abilities with the help of skilled specialists. Children come to The Treetop Library, for example, to hear stories selected from the exemplary collection, learn the skills needed to conduct research, and enjoy lessons infused with the librarian’s expertise in art history. Spanish is offered in preschool and continues through fifth grade. Through age-appropriate study, games and songs, students learn the language, as well as the cultures and traditions, of Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Art, Music and Theater both support and are supported by the classroom curriculum, as students of all ages sing, play instruments and perform in concerts and plays. Physical Education promotes good health and “fitness for life,” learning new skills and having active fun together. SCIENCE is an integral part of the WCFS curriculum beginning in Play School, and culminating in the fifth graders’ daily studies in the Science Lab. Technology skills are introduced to support the overall curriculum, and allows students to present what they know and learn. Guidance faculty meet with individual classes each week to discuss with students issues both universal to young children and particular to the group. Quakerism is taught using storytelling to prompt discussion around Friends values and decision-making.
Learning to read and write are the primary tasks of first and second graders. Teachers know each child’s strengths and challenges in language arts, and work throughout the year to respond to particular interests and needs. Young writers create from their own experience, focusing on narrative form. In mathematics, children work in a hands-on environment, frequently using manipulatives to move from concrete to more abstract concepts as they become confident problem solvers.
The development of excellent work habits and effective study skills is a central task of students in third and fourth grades as they move toward middle school and beyond. As students continue their intellectual development, academic expectations progressively increase, from homework that begins in earnest in third grade, through the monthly book reports of fourth grade. Students are guided by their teachers to become confident, independent learners.
As students move through their elementary years at West Chester Friends School, classroom teachers and specialists encourage students to be active participants in their education, and to understand their own unique learning styles. With teacher support, students work toward strengthening the intellectual confidence and academic independence they will need to be successful in middle school, and throughout their life of learning.