The Friends’ Central Lower School is strongly committed to thematic education, a holistic approach that unifies diverse subject matter around a central theme, creating a depth of interest and understanding often absent in traditional approaches to curriculum. A new Lower School fall theme is chosen every year and is followed by grade-level themes in the spring semester. The topics selected encourage students to recognize and appreciate the racial, religious, and ethnic diversity of the world in a multicultural approach to education. Hands-on projects like letter writing, newsletters, art projects, model building, and role-playing opportunities set the Friends' Central fall project apart from others.
Learning that is integrated across different disciplines helps students develop deeper comprehension and broader perspectives on facts and concepts. This integration of disciplines illuminates relationships and ways in which disparate aspects of the world are connected – the past and present, geography and culture, the arts, literature, and history. All areas of learning and the stories of all people are connected by common threads.
Lower School teachers work together and in groups to create curricula that excite and inspire the children. Through each course of study, the curriculum is presented in a way that demonstrates the connectedness of information. Teachers integrate students' reading, writing, and social studies, as well as foreign language learning and the arts, around a central theme. This comprehensive study of a topic teaches children that advances in one area can affect many others. For example, historical events from a time period often affect the art, music and literature of the time.
As the Lower School transitions from fall to spring, teachers move from the school-wide themes to grade specific themes. Each teacher and each classroom may approach these themes somewhat differently, but the commitment to thematic education remains. The School prides itself on this thematic approach to education.
The World of Water
The Mediterranean World
The Middle Ages