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


The philosophy of the Lower School is rooted both in the principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and in sound principles of child development, which view each child as a whole person.

Social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth are all equally important in the child's total development. We focus on the unique worth of the individual, recognizing that each child grows in different dimensions and at different rates. We also recognize that children learn best by doing, by being engaged in activity; learning is enhanced as children engage their senses and interact with their environment.

In the Lower School, we seek to...

  • Build on the primacy and integrity of relationships.
  • Address the "whole child," with attention to developmentally appropriate cognitive, creative, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs and opportunity.
  • Recognize and nurture a variety of modes of learning within a rich academic context.
  • Encourage active engagement in a process of exploration that develops skills, values, and confidence.
  • Emphasize connections between disciplines, fields of study, and units.
  • Empower students gradually to make choices related to their own learning, to experiment, and to develop more fully the habits and skills necessary for lifelong learning.
  • Reflect, even highlight, the diversity of our society and our global community.
  • Incorporate service into the daily experience of students.
  • Afford opportunities for quiet reflection, individually and collectively, and for responsible stewardship.
  • Integrate the deliberate interaction with the natural environment which our setting provides into the academic program.
  • Include assessment and feedback mechanisms that are specific, detailed, varied, individualized, and authentic explications of our expectations for our students.
  • Create a program that is dynamic and continually reviewed, a direct reflection of our dynamic student body and ever-evolving experience with them.

Students reading together on chairs and on the floor

Inspired by Quaker values

The tenets expressed in Carolina Friends School's mission and philosophy are at the heart of our Quaker pedagogy in the Lower School.