Programs Overview

At the foundation of our school is the Quaker belief that there is "that of God" in every person. We seek to nurture and celebrate this Light in every one of our students as he/she is offered opportunities for hands-on discovery and the exploration of our natural environment. At Gwynedd Friends School, each student develops a sense of identity and respect for others as he/she works to become a contributing member of our community of learners.

Curriculum Design

Teachers work closely with the Gwynedd Friends School’s Leadership Team to tailor lesson plans that suit the style of their classrooms and use differentiated instruction in a way that foremost benefits each student. Throughout the year, activities will be planned to encourage growth in the following domains: language development; small (fine) & large (gross) motor development; social development; emotional development; and cognitive development.

Quaker Life

At Gwynedd Friends School, we believe it is important to teach children that our actions impact others around us. Being mindful of how we live our lives helps us to become responsible citizens. Quakers believe that there are essential testimonies which guide our actions. One way to understand these testimonies is to use the following acronym: S.P.I.C.E.S.

  • Simplicity- We celebrate the acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Peace - We create an environment of working together.
  • Integrity - We deal honestly with others.
  • Community - We care for others in the community.
  • Equality- We respect different people and different ideas.
  • Stewardship - We protect and care for the earth.

Though our teachers weave the testimonies into their classroom environment throughout the year, we believe it is beneficial to explore each in depth. From November through April, our school will highlight one testimony at a time. Each teacher will plan developmentally appropriate activities for her students and keep parents up to date on how the testimonies are presented to their child.

Once per week, the Threes, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten children participate in Meeting for Worship. This special time allows for our friends to come together in Gwynedd Meeting’s historical Meetinghouse for 15 minutes to listen to a meaningful, child-friendly story and “pull down the silence”.

Language and Literacy

By the time children reach the end of Pre-Kindergarten, they will have worked on the following skill areas: Phonological Awareness (relationship between sounds and written symbols), Alphabet Knowledge, Concepts About Print, Comprehension, Oral Language, and Writing. These skills are learned through challenging and exciting hands-on activities and in a sequential order that builds upon acquired knowledge. Added support will be provided for all English Language Learners as well as those children who need extra attention with lessons. Language and Literacy learning will occur in large group, small group, and one-on-one settings. Our Pre-Kindergarten classes use the Handwriting Without Tears Get Set for School Language and Literacy Program, while our Kindergarten class follows the Wilson Fundations Language program.

Writing Readiness

Children will begin to engage in pre-handwriting readiness activities in the Threes and build upon that foundation throughout Pre-Kindergarten. We follow the Handwriting Without Tears Get Set for School Readiness and Writing curriculum, which helps advance children through each level of pre-writing readiness. Children will begin formal handwriting only after their foundation is strong, where teacher instruction and modeling will then become essential. The Kindergarten children follow the Wilson Fundations program for reinforcement of uppercase formation and an introduction to lowercase writing. 

Math and Numbers

Through spontaneous play and engaging, hands-on activities children develop early math skills in the following areas by the end of Pre-Kindergarten: Numbers & Operation, Geometry, Patterns & Algebra, Measurement & Time, and Data Representation & Probability. The Pre-K children will use the Handwriting Without Tears Get Set for School Math & Numbers curriculum. Our Kindergarten utilizes the Mathematics Their Way and Singapore Math curriculum.

Dramatic Play & Small World Play

Through cooperative and imaginative play, children learn how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. Pretend play helps children understand the power of language as they begin to make connections between spoken and written (books) language. Teachers promote imaginary play throughout daily Center Time activities and also during weekly lessons, fostering a sense of imagination and wonder. 

Scientific Investigations and Nature Explorations

Children are natural explorers and curious about the world around them. They will be offered opportunities to question their environment, propose and test hypotheses, and form their own conclusions. The bucolic grounds of Gwynedd Friends School are the perfect environment for our nature studies. We also schedule special programming with the Perkiomen Watershed for our Threes, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children.

Art Enrichment

By providing organized and free choice art activities, children will have the opportunity to hone their creativity and fine motor skills in a warm and inviting environment. Lessons will inspire imagination, abstract thinking, problem solving, and foster a love of the arts. Creativity and individuality are celebrated! Excitement about art and the motivation to create it comes from within the child and his/her teacher will nurture this drive. It is appropriate and encouraged that teachers scaffold artwork by extending familiar activities or suggesting new techniques. Offering background ideas and suggestions to the children allows for a balance of child-directed and teacher-directed projects. As educators, we believe it is important to focus not just on the product, but the process of creating a piece of artwork.

Music and Movement

We will encourage the children to experiment, explore, and express themselves through rhythm and movement exercises, helping develop their innate sense of connectedness. Music experience can build creativity, help children grow cognitively and emotionally, and aid in the development of kinesthetic awareness. We will compare musical concepts such as loud/soft and fast/slow, and learn to sing songs and musical notes. The children will make music and move to it, learning to tie their feelings to the rhythms. They will react and interact with the sounds of music across many genres including jazz, classical, cross-cultural, folk, and lullabies.