We are learners together
Refining, exploring and expanding
West Chester Friends School is a vibrant learning community where students, their families, faculty, staff and administrators are continuously refining, exploring and expanding our knowledge.
Students and their families, faculty and staff enjoy a palpable sense of community on campus, and place emphasis on the value of reaching out to the greater community, as well. Partnerships with West Chester University, the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts, Echo Hill Outdoor School, the Chester County Historical Society, the Kennett Symphony, Ches-Len Preserve and other arts, civic and cultural organizations in the community, buddy programs between the oldest and youngest students, and intergenerational programs with the Hickman, a Quaker retirement community located just next door, are distinguishing features of this learning community.
Faculty, staff and administrators participate in a variety of professional development opportunities throughout the year. In 2018, WCFS hosted Friends School Early Childhood educators from around the country for a conference on The Outdoor Classroom. Others topics explored are both broad and deep, including training in Singapore Math, Responsive Classroom, emergent reading, weaving and other specific art techniques, yoga in the classroom, and, most recently, sustainability in the classroom and on campus
Parents, too, are invited to broaden their knowledge. Teacher John Scardina, the school psychologist, hosts monthly Parent Talk evenings where a lively discussion takes place around a topic of interest, including building resilience in our children, parenting for non-violence, building a positive, growth mindset in your family, and many more. Several times a year, Teacher Amy Domenick brings a “healthy kids” framework to her Afternoons with Amy, a presentation and discussion group that meets after school. Her talks have focused on topics such as managing screen time, family fitness that’s fun, building strong mother-daughter relationships and mindfulness for families.
Twice a year, WCFS presents ParentCamp, an “unconference” where parents gather together on a Saturday morning to choose up to three from among several learning workshops. It’s called an unconference because the event relies upon the expertise and perspective of the entire room, not just the main presenter, like the typical “stand and deliver” conference. Every adult within the session brings an important and unique perspective to contribute, sharing strategies and ideas to benefit student learning, teaching and parenting.
There are “discussion leaders” in each session–teachers, community leaders and experts in a particular topic, who set the tone for collaborative dialogue. ParentCamp is free, and sessions are geared toward elementary school parents. Subjects have included Summer Slide to Summer Thrive, Celebrating Family Diversity, internet safety for every age, Creating A Reading and Writing Home, meditation, when you and your partner have different parenting “styles,” CPR, getting the most from parent-teacher conferences, and lots more. All are welcome.