Interior Masthead

Lower School (PK-4)

At Friends Select School, we believe that children learn by doing. By questioning, observing, experimenting, synthesizing, and reflecting, children create understanding that is fully their own. Our teachers demonstrate deep respect for this process, honoring the entry point of each learner, building upon what the child knows to construct new knowledge. We create and situate learning opportunities and lessons that further the child’s learning, provide individual guidance and feedback, and facilitate the learner’s own reflection on what was learned.

Educators in the Lower School at Friends Select design curriculum, create lessons, and plan experiences that develop the intellectual and spiritual capacities of children, fostering in them an awareness of their responsibility to others and a willingness to create positive change in the world. With an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and capabilities of children in the developmental stage they are in, Friends Select’s lower school educators design curriculum and learning opportunities that are based in current research and a collective knowledge of what children need and can do at different developmental stages. While designing developmentally appropriate units and lessons, teachers also tailor instruction to respect and accommodate individual learning styles and intelligences. In this way, FSS is able to meet the diverse needs of students by building upon their strengths as learners, scaffolding the learning of those who are working to master a skill or concept, and extending the learning of children who need additional challenge.

Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone and that children possess an inner wisdom that must be listened to and honored. Educators at Friends Select School embrace that belief and hold children in high regard, honoring their experience, knowledge, opinions and ideas. This is the foundation upon which lessons, thematic units, and courses are designed.

Areas of Study

Literacy: Reading and Writing

Within our comprehensive literacy program, we draw upon research-based practices based in current research on how best to teach young readers and writers. Read more.


We use the University of Chicago's Everyday Math program that focuses on numbers and operations, patterns and chance, and geometry and spatial sense. Read more.

Social Studies

Even young children have an awareness of the world around them. So we begin with the understandings and interests of children and feature lots of hands-on activities. Our lower school students have studied urban gardens, murals in Philadelphia, and inventors and inventions. Read more.

World Language

Families choose either Spanish or Mandarin for the duration of their child's time in lower school. Early and sustained exposure to a world language supports further foreign-language learning and fosters an ongoing awareness of and appreciation for other cultures. This element of our academic program aligns and supports Friends Select School's growing International Studies Program. Read more.


Students, from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade, are taught by our lower school science specialist in a laboratory setting. Topics covered include measurement, geology, animal and plant diversity, and engineering. Read more.


In the Lower School, the STEAM Program is focused on incorporating more robotics and programming into classrooms, so that from an early age students have the sense that they are active agents when it comes to technology, rather than passive consumers. Read more.

Library and Information Technology

The Elizabeth Wallace lower school library is a resource center that supports classroom curriculum. Beginning in pre-kindergarten, students visit the library weekly to familiarize themselves with its value, structure and use. Our lower school librarian coordinates with classroom teachers to gather resources to support student projects and interests. Students and families may borrow resources at any time during the school year. We integrate technology into the curriculum using Smartboards, iPads, Chromebooks and Macbook laptops. The lower school librarian teaches students how to conduct searches online safely, and how to think critically about their online research. Read more.


Students explore the principles of line, shape, form, color, texture, contrast, patterns, symmetry, rhythm and space. Each year, students engage in in-depth study of a famous artist's life, perspective, and cultural influence. Classes visit nearby Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to support students' studies and experiences. Read more.


The Lower School Music curriculum engages students in a creative exploration of rhythm, pitch, dynamics and deep listening skills. Read more.

Physical Education

Physical Education plays an important role in the development of every child. Beginning in prekindergarten, our program at Friends Select School is designed to develop the physical, cognitive, and affective domains of our students. With a focus on cooperation, the ultimate goal of the curriculum is to produce physically educated individuals that have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become lifelong participants in physical activity. Read more.