As a small, independent Early Childhood-Grade 8 school in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Friends Academy offers a place where children can learn, think, explore, grow, and succeed.
Inside every child is a deep desire to learn. Friends Academy inspires and nurtures this desire in every student, teacher, and staff member every day.
Learning at Friends Academy is a shared experience — whether it’s preschoolers developing a class project to fight hunger or seventh graders engaged in a mock summit on global climate change. Students are empowered to create their own goals and compile a portfolio to show their progress to their families. When they encounter challenges, they think critically about how to improve academically and succeed.
Our teachers understand the strengths of each student, and dedicate themselves to developing cross-curricular projects and implementing innovative teaching strategies that excite young minds. We believe that each child learns differently — and success comes through individualized learning experiences.
We understand the importance of preparing students for long-term academic success. From our Reggio Emilia-inspired Early Childhood Program to our active, project-based Lower School to the leaders of our school in Middle School, we design hands-on learning experiences to develop curious, lifelong learners that have a solid academic foundation for the future. We also support students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences through our fully integrated Sally Borden Program.
“Having small groups of students, plus our commitment to inquiry-based learning, enables us to challenge students. Even in second grade, children choose a project and we give them the skills and tools to do independent research.”
Friends Academy students have the confidence to challenge themselves individually because they know that together, they are strong.
We are one community and we see talents, strengths, and friends in everyone. We know all students can contribute something extraordinary to a class discussion, an All-School Meeting, or our athletic teams. Students at Friends find acceptance because energy is encouraged, diversity is valued, and kindness toward others is expected. As a community, we bring out the best in one another and nurture passions so they can grow into academic breakthroughs, career fields, and life dedications.
We also know we must reach out and care for one another beyond our 250-student community and 65-acre North Dartmouth campus. We help students understand their role in the local and global community and how to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Service, activism, and charity are woven throughout our day and into our curriculum:
- Each year, students, faculty, staff, and volunteers harvest more than 5,000 pounds of produce from the Friends Academy garden. All produce is donated to local food banks and pantries.
- Middle School students participate in a regular service period of their choice. Some stay on campus to help with the garden, recycling, or mentoring younger students, while others go off campus with teachers to volunteer with local nonprofits.
- Students are the driving force in organizing collections for various causes: brainstorming ideas, putting those ideas into action, and connecting those concepts back to their curriculum. For instance, students band together each Thanksgiving to collect food for the United Way of Greater New Bedford Hunger Heroes Project.
The result of an education with Friends? Extraordinary individuals. Human beings who respect others. Leaders who know every voice matters.
“People talk about having ‘grit’ and how it’s an indicator of success — but to foster it, you need a warm, collaborative environment where you’re allowed to make mistakes. This school creates an environment where you can develop stick-to-it-iveness.”
SPACE TO GROW
Wide open fields to play in, rain or shine. Wide open stages and mics to perform. Wide open arms for a trusted friend. All around us is space for our students to explore, experience learning, and discover their own potential.
Our 65-acre campus gives students the space to flourish, whether they are reading under the beech tree, digging deep in the garden, or attaining new heights on the ropes course. Students sit outdoors to learn with their classes, study frog and salamander growth in the vernal pool, and strengthen connections with friends during recess, PE, and after-school athletics.
Indoors, signs of self-expression fill the halls and classrooms of Friends Academy. Student artwork hangs proudly in the hallways, heartfelt speeches resound from the podium in the Commons, and passionate melodies ring out from our piano lab.
And our exceptional teachers provide creative space for students to pursue their own ideas and interests. Friends Academy encourages student-led learning, allowing students at every age to delve into topics that intrigue them most — from the Farmhouse up through Middle School. One-on-one support from teachers motivates students to seek out and explore the connections that are most meaningful to them.
“There are so many creative people here who make a difference in the lives of our children.”
PREPARATION FOR THE FUTURE
As an Early Childhood through Grade 8 school, Friends Academy provides a supportive and confidence-building environment that solidly prepares students for high school.
Studies show that Early Childhood through Grade 8 schools offer several advantages:
- Students achieve better academically. Students in Early Childhood-Grade 8 schools obtain higher achievement levels than in separate middle schools.
- Younger students have inspiring role models. Our youngest and oldest students come together for events, activities, and service activities throughout the year.
- Our middle schoolers aren’t in the middle. As the leaders of the school, middle school students know our younger students are looking up to them — and they rise to the occasion.
- There are fewer discipline problems. Children in Early Childhood-Grade 8 schools have fewer behavioral problems, higher self-esteem, and better attendance.
With the depth of a Friends Academy education in their hands, our graduates move on to secondary schools and, ultimately, colleges as responsible citizens, academic scholars, and creative souls. They are known for writing well, loving learning, fostering compassion, speaking confidently, innovating freely, solving problems, and giving back.
“My son earned his doctorate in biochemistry and is a scientist — and it all started in the Friends Academy science classroom with a teacher who encouraged and challenged him.”