At Newtown Friends, students are both thinkers and doers. In-school projects, collaborations, experiments, presentations, independent work and deep dives into content areas are all part of a curriculum designed to spark engagement, encourage critical thinking and problem solving, and prepare the student for greater challenge.
Attention is paid to both the core principles of each subject area as well as the connections between disciplines. Students engage in interdisciplinary work regularly, applying what they have learned in new and creative ways. Whether it is writing and directing a movie about a historical figure, building a rocket ship while studying space, or creating a Greek festival for the community to enjoy, students are stretched to incorporate what they have studied and make it personally meaningful.
Creating a safe and welcoming community and developing one’s individual voice is an important part of our social/emotional curriculum. NFS uses Responsive Classroom throughout the school community. Teachers model positive words and productive routines, and redirect misbehavior clearly and proactively. Every student, teacher, and staff member formulates Hopes and Dreams for the year. Each classroom creates class rules and representatives from each grade come together in a Constitutional Convention to write the simple rules that guide us in creating a positive and joyful learning environment. Although the student-written words change every year, the principles are similar from year to year: treat everyone with respect, participate to the best of your ability and have fun while learning. Visitors to our school often comment that these principles are evident upon entry.
Teachers are encouraged to be creative in developing curriculum. Innovation is encouraged within an overall framework that references the best practices and standards of various academic disciplines. Parents are kept informed of ongoing curriculum through a variety of methods including monthly updates. Grade-level lead teachers are responsible for language arts, social studies and mathematics instruction; children work with specialist teachers on a weekly basis in science, art, music, library, Spanish, Latin (starting in fifth), and physical education. A low student-to-teacher ratio ensures that children’s learning styles, personal interests, and academic strengths and weaknesses are known.
Each month, parents receive an email from the school providing curriculum updates for their child's class. Click here
to review the updates for the current school year.