To be successful in a rapidly changing world children must be creative and confident.
They must be flexible and critical thinkers. They must be schooled in the arts of communication and interpersonal interaction. To feel successful, they must love their curiosity and be happy at school. This is what a Friends School Haverford education provides.
A group of students approach their teacher excitedly. They have discovered what looks like a blob of dried glue about the size of a golf ball attached to the stem of a tomato plant in the garden. What is it? Instead of simply telling the students what it is, the teacher helps the students plan an investigation.
“It looks wet but it is dry,” says one child. The students think it might be a cocoon but it isn’t round or regular in its shape. Our student experts on monarch butterflies in the kindergarten confirm for the student investigators that this is nothing like any chrysalis they have ever seen. The students measure their find. They photograph it. They look for it in field guides. They are joyous when they find a second one affixed to a tall dry plant stalk near the edge of the playground. With the teacher’s permission, the students bring one of the two blobs inside for further study. They keep the blob in a mesh container. They examine it with a hand lens. They make drawings and write descriptions. They chart the number of days since they found it. They note the temperature inside the classroom and outside on the playground daily.
One day, the inside blob hatches! Many, many, many praying mantis babies emerge. Students are fascinated. In the school library they are now able to locate pictures, descriptions, lists of information, and even videos showing praying mantis nymphs emerging from a nest or an egg. What do you call it? “You call it an egg case,” says a student who now wants to be an entomologist when she grows up.
By the end of this study the teacher has talked with her students about the scientific method. In their drive to solve the mystery of the blob, they listened attentively as the teacher introduced them to the thought-filled creativity involved in formulating hypotheses and the perils of failing to keep all but one variable constant in an experiment.
“Hands on, minds on,” is the essence of our curricula. An intellectually vigorous community, your child and his or her interests are profoundly known. Your child’s school day is a series of moments like the one described– engaging, tailored to her or his age, important individually, naturally connected across disciplines to other topics in her or his learning, and a vital component of the much larger framework for understanding the world that we want for our children.
Please explore our program via the links on this page. To learn more, we encourage you to come visit during an open house, or call to schedule a private tour: 610-642-2334.