A Pre-K to Grade 12 Independent Quaker Day School Serving the Greater Durham-Chapel Hill Area


Family Grouping

In the Early Schools, children work and play together in mixed-age “family” groups. Such grouping, whether organized by teachers or naturally occurring in play, offers several advantages, including:

It is easier for a child to make the transition from home to school.

The school environment more closely resembles the structure of a family. It is the most stable and least stressful of structures because of the continuity of teachers and children from year to year.

Three-year olds benefit from the older members of the group.

Those who have already mastered the routines and rituals of the school environment and take great enjoyment in teaching the younger students. Thus, a three-year-old in a family-grouped class has many “teachers” to help her make the home-to-school adjustment.

It supports the uneven, highly charged growth pattern of four-year olds.

Four-year-olds can easily, without shame, regress to the level of a three-year-old on one day and bound ahead to the more complex level of five-year-old the next day.

It allows five-and six-year-olds to be among the most able and socially responsible members of the school.

Helping younger children to master skills that the older child has at least partially mastered is good reinforcement of his own learning.

Teachers function better because of the stimulation and variety offered.

They enjoy the satisfactions of following each child's growth during a three-year period. Finally, the range of abilities which the children exhibit reminds the teacher that a child cannot be treated as merely typical of an age but must be considered as a unique individual with her own timetable of development.

Taking children out together into the community is such an important part of our curriculum, and a way that we hope to serve the community—this allows children to be seen and heard! By sharing the strong potential of our children as learners and community members, we open people's eyes to the rights of all children. Sara Orphanides, Early School Teacher