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

Lower School

Through a rich and varied experience in and beyond the classroom, our Lower School nurtures the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth of children ages 6-10. Informed by Quaker values, the curriculum draws on multiple developmental theories, and learning is also shaped by the individual interests of our students and teachers.

The result: a meaningful and dynamic enterprise.

Located on the main campus of Carolina Friends School, rooms in the Lower School are open, colorful, and designed for maximum flexibility, providing space for both independent study and group learning as well as for play. The large playground invites a variety of creative play activities, while the School's creek and wooded, rural setting offer an ideal environment for exploration and nature study. The 5,000-volume Lower School library includes fiction and nonfiction books as well as a variety of multi-media resources, and students receive basic instruction in the use of the library and research methods during weekly classes. In addition, each classroom has access to laptops and iPads, ideal for research and writing as well as learning to write computer code.

As part of a Quaker School, our unit begins the day with a period of shared silence, Settling-In, and gather once a week for Meeting for Worship. This is a time in which the entire Lower School gathers for silent reflection on a query and sharing of messages from the heart.

We also offer an optional Extended Day Program. There, students have a safe space to do homework, enjoy a nutritious snack, and be inventors, artists, friends, teammates, quiet thinkers, explorers, and much more, through as late as 5:45 pm.

The approximately 124 students of the Lower school are divided into four ungraded classes (River, Sky, Forest, and Mountain) which provide a sense of group identity and a center for day to day activities. Classes are divided into smaller groups to work on academic skills as well as artistic and athletic endeavors. Children enter either the River or Sky class at age six, and usually after two years are placed in either Forest or Mountain class until they are ready to go to Middle School.

We believe that as our students experiment and explore, answering questions of real relevance, they develop skills of inquiry and reasoning, problem solving, and communication that serve them well for years to come.

Winter Interest Groups: A Photoessay

Interest Groups in the Lower School provide the opportunity for enrichment through student choice of fun, engaging experiences. Four times a year, teachers, students, and parents share interesting skills and activities in multi-age groups. The Website Wizards, students in one of the Lower School's Winter Interest Groups, captured the excitement, including the annual Fourth Year tradition of gingerbread house making.

Read more about Winter Interest Groups: A Photoessay

Ago! Ame!

Throughout the day, teachers and students repeat these words that we learned from our dear friend Chuck Davis, founder of the African-American Dance Ensemble. "Ago" is a call to attention and "ame" is a response indicating openness and that one is listening.

This Year's Learning Theme

Each year, the Lower School selects a theme to connect curriculum in each classroom. This year's theme is "Imagine."

Children will use the arts and writing to express themselves and look at curricular content through a lens of vision, hope, and solutions.

Lisa Carboni

Lisa Carboni

Lower School Head Teacher