Lower School Building

Friends’ Central purchased the Lower School building and the surrounding 18-acre campus in 1987, and it opened in 1990. The original building, Pennhurst, was built by Hugh Burgess and replaced a home called Penn Cottage, formerly occupied by Peter Penn-Gaskell, a great grandson of William Penn. The Lower School building is home to classrooms for students in Nursery through grade 5, as well as the Library, the Nurse's office, administrative offices, Admission offices, and the cafeteria.  

Lower School Classrooms

Each year, the Lower School classrooms are transformed to reflect the Lower School's fall theme. Teachers integrate students' reading, writing, and social studies, as well as foreign language learning and the arts, around a central theme. Each classroom is decorated differently to inspire creativity and connect our students to the theme they are investigating.  

Visitor Parking

The best way to experience Friends' Central is in person. Come visit! These spaces, reserved for Admission visitors, are located adjacent to the Lower School Office entrance.

Lower Playground

The Lower Playground, also called Joey's Playground in memory of Joey Pozzuolo '98, is the primary play area for students in Kindergarten through grade 5.

Upper Playground

The Upper Playground has a brand new play structure and features a fenced-in tarmac area for bikes, trikes, and scooters.

Nursery Playground

The Nursery Playground is reserved exclusively for our Nursery Students and will be newly renovated for the Fall of 2015!


The Lower School Gym was renovated in 2013, and a new all-purpose floor was installed. The gym is used for gym class and as a place to gather for vocal and music recitals, plays, and assemblies. It is also utilized during inclement weather for recess.

Art and Music Building

Our Art and Music Building features two art studios, a music room, and two instrumental practice studios, allowing our youngest learners to tap into their creativity through painting, sculpting, singing, and performing.

Light Lab Carriage House

An exciting new facility for the Lower Campus, the Light Lab, opening in fall 2016, will provide four transformational studios for hands-on learning in a range of areas – natural sciences, fabrication, media/computing, and a design studio. The Light Lab will bring together our creative faculty with cutting edge design, increased space, and a plethora of tools and resources – giving every Friends’ Central student the very best opportunities to tap into his/her Inner Light, to innovate and create.


The newest Lower School garden, built by students, parents, faculty, and staff was formally dedicated on Earth Day 2014. In April of 2015, the garden was expanded and now includes a pumpkin patch, a fruit orchard, and a composting system! 

The garden allows Lower School students to learn by doing everyday! Even the youngest students can dig, plant, water, and harvest, and the fruits of this labor are tangible and delicious! Older students use the garden to study the slope of the earth and learn about everything from soil preparation to plants’ roles in ecology. In the future, the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden will be incorporated into meals served in the cafeteria!

Drop-off Circle

Lower School students are dropped off each morning and picked up each afternoon here. Parents can choose to walk their Lower Schoolers into the building along the yellow walkway around the drop-off circle or drive around the circle where faculty assist children in and out of cars.

Main Parking Lot

Parents and guests use this as their primary place to park when they come on campus for meetings, events, or performances.


The pool is utilized by our summer campers as a great place to learn swimming basics, swimming safety, and to cool off during the summer months. The pool is occasionally used for special Lower School projects.  

Friendship Bell

Each year, Lower School students and faculty mark the beginning of the school year by ringing the Friendship Bell. This annual tradition began in 1990 when Marcia Slade, a beloved Lower School art teacher for 35 years, and her husband, David, gave the Bell as a gift to the Lower School in honor of the opening of the Lower School campus. Since then, the students have gathered on the first Friday of school to ring in the new academic year. Each year, a student whose birthday is on or close to that Friday is chosen to ring the bell, and one fifth grader is chosen to read its inscription: "Ring for the Joy of Learning; Ring for the Love of Friendship." The Bell rings on only one other occasion during the school year, when at the end of their time at the Lower School, fifth graders move onto sixth grade and the City Avenue campus.


A scenic treasure on campus, the pond provides another space for hands-on learning outside! The suspension bridge was built by grade 4 students and is happily used by all. The pond overlooks the bird blind, which is used by science classes in many of the Lower School grades.

Additional Playing Fields

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