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Boulder, CO
Students enrolled: 172
Before care: No

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5465 Pennsylvania Ave
Boulder, CO 80303

School website
(303) 499-1999
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Map of Friends' School address.
January 23, 2015
Friends' School has been absolutely wonderful for our whole family. We started out with our oldest in the preschool, and we had planned to send all our kids to public school. But the preschool experience was so excellent that we just had to continue. When our youngest starts preschool next year, we will have all three of our kids in Friends' School! Friends' School is very strong academically, but that's just a small part of the story, and not what makes it so special. The teachers and the staff are amazing. They are all obviously passionate about children and teaching, and care deeply about doing what is best for the children. They keep up on the latest research for childhood education, and they thoughtfully apply the best of what they find. Another thing that sets Friends' School apart is the consideration of the whole child ("Head, Heart, and Hand"). Our children came in to Friends' School having some difficulty with social situations. The teachers make sure that the students learn to be compassionate and inclusive, and also have helped encourage our kids to be more proactive in forming new friendships. It helps that they have at least 2 teachers per classroom!

- submitted by a parent
December 05, 2014
Enrolling our 2 children at Friends' School has been the best decision that we have made as parents. We are reminded on a daily basis about this decision because our children are happy and thriving socially, emotionally, and academically. Friends' School is unique because both the preschool and elementary teaching staff integrates experiential learning, creativity, and social-emotional lessons into daily planning. We have noticed that our daughter in the elementary building has become a passionate, curious, and deep thinking learner. We believe this is because the staff at Friends' School has created a safe, friendly, and non-judgmental learning environment where children are encouraged to think outside of the box. Not only are they learning how to be mindful individuals, our whole family has benefitted from the philosophy at Friends'. We have attended multiple parent education workshops that have enriched our lives with our children outside of the school setting. We feel very fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community. Thank you Friends'!

- submitted by a parent
July 24, 2014
I cannot say enough positive things about Friends'. My daughter has only gone to preschool there and is going into Pre-K this year. We previously went to another school before Friends' and had an awful experience. My daughter hated the other school, but when we started Friends' school, she loved it so much, if she had a sick day, she would cry and cry because she didn't want to miss one day of school. The teachers are incredible and truly take every issue into consideration and really care about your child. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this school.

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2014
I have been a teacher for the past 18 years, and feel incredibly blessed to have spent the last 9 years at the Friends' School. The first part of my career was in public schools, and although I loved that time, once I landed at Friends' I knew I was home. My fellow teacher are the most dedicated, intelligent, kind individuals I have every been blessed to work with. Every staff member has a growth mindset and is continually striving to make their own teaching stronger. That in turn helps their students succeed, and models for students and parents that we are all learners. My own two daughters attended this school, and both gained so many gifts beyond just academics. Friends' is really a very special place for parents, teachers, and students.

- submitted by a teacher
April 22, 2014
Friends' School is a gem of a school where all the teachers work closely as a team, and all the students are known as individuals and feel part of the Friends' family. My daughter attended preschool through 5th grade, and now in high school still asks about the teachers and students there. The social-emotional foundation of the school was one of the main reasons we chose Friends' over other schools. The academic approach of hands-on learning, opportunities for multi-age experiences, and the fact that they take their teaching so seriously as to be a teacher licensing program as well are three reasons this school stands out in the community. The folks who teach at Friends' are committed to continually learning more and integrating what they learn about child development, brain science, effective teaching strategies, and growing resilient, inquisitive, compassionate people. See for yourself! Call them up and get a tour to see this place first hand!

- submitted by a teacher
October 31, 2013
I love this school! I transferred my daughter to Friends after watching her innate love of learning slowly morph into behavior issues in a class of 26 Kindergartners all vying for the teacher s attention. From the very first day at Friends School, she was calm, engaged and happy and couldn t wait to go to school everyday. The feeling of safety, inclusion and community was palpable when you walked in the building. Every one of the teachers had a deep knowledge of my child as a learner and a social being and their wisdom and insight helped me to become a better parent. They were able to identify her musical intelligence and used music to help her in subjects that she was struggling with. The social emotional component of the school s curriculum is the real gem of Friends School. My daughter received an excellent academic foundation at Friends but what I m most grateful for is the extent that she learned, and still practices, self reliance, optimism, grit, gratitude, resiliency, courage, curiosity and above all kindness. She is currently a senior in college and still attributes her ability to achieve whatever she sets her mind to to her experience at Friends School.

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2013
Friends' is a wonderful place for children to start their school experience because of the very small child to teacher ratio of 8:1 in the preschool and the way the school looks at all aspects of the child including social/emotional growth, developmental age and abilities and encourages children to grow from where they are. My children have attended this school for the past five years, and my husband and I love the way each teacher gets to know and help grow our children based on their individual abilities. Each semester and at the end of the year we get a minimum of a two page write up about our child in terms of physical, cognitive and emotional abilities and next steps to take. The teachers are always learning new methods and applying the appropriate ones in line with the school philosophy. If I had it to do all over again, I'd choose this school for my children again!

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2013
This school has been the basis of my entire education and range of interests. I am now a junior in high school, and I have to start thinking about what I will want to do in college. Because of Friends' School, I have many interests that I want to pursue. For one, the art program at Friends' is what spurred my love of drawing, painting, and creating, and I am considering going to art school. Another one of my passions is the environment and nature, and I still think that the science lessons and field trips we took at Friends' started this passion. I was a student volunteer at the preschool for part of last year, and the teachers, students, and staff are still as caring, kind, and fun as I can remember. I am so lucky that I was able to go to Friends' School, and I still miss it today.

- submitted by a community member
November 29, 2012
As parents at Friends School (now in our eight year), we can only rave about our family s experience here. We have two children currently in the elementary school. We have found the teachers, staff and the new head of school to be at the top of their game. Our children, who have two very different learning styles, are excited and eager to head off to school each morning. They have developed a true joy of learning. The teachers and new head have a true passion for childhood education. And the environment and community are outstanding. We are so grateful to have found Friends and cannot say enough positive about our time here.

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2012
Friends' School is an outstanding school and educational community. My child attended Friends' for eight years and my family felt like part of this special community from the start. We experienced consistently strong, professional leadership across two different heads of school-- each with an ability to guide the exceptional teachers and maintain the warm and supportive community environment that we treasure. Our child was known and valued for who she is and, thanks to Friends', has developed a very positive sense of herself and what she can do-- every child at Friends' benefits from the teachers' abilities to connect with the individual learner so that they are happy, engaged and thriving. Friends' has a unique combination of great academics, individual attention, focus on the whole child and an amazing community of children, teachers, staff and parents. These years have been an incredibly valuable foundation for our child-- thank you Friends' School!

- submitted by a parent
November 14, 2012
I gave Friends' a great review years ago and wanted to come back to add my perspective on the school's new leadership. I have been nothing but impressed with the new head of school. Among staff, I see a greater sense of camaraderie and fun. For students, I think the new leadership has been positive as well. For example, the new head has applied his passion for and considerable experience in children's theater to helping teachers and students reach new levels of creativity, enthusiasm, and professionalism in class plays and even the Halloween costume parade. My kids have very different personality traits and learner characteristics, and both continue to thrive at Friends'. One has received specific speech and occupational therapies on site at various times during elementary school, and that experience has been excellent. I also volunteer in the classrooms regularly and am impressed by the teachers' ability to respond to the needs of children who are wildly varying in personalities and learning styles and challenges. Equally importantly, I think the school does an incredible job of teaching kids to respect and value each individual regardless of learning differences.

- submitted by a parent
November 14, 2012
Friends' School is a truly, unique place. I have three children who attend the school and I only wish it went on past 5th grade as it is a hard act to follow. Friends' is innovative in the way that it understands social/emotional curriculum. Children that are in a nurturing environment and feel a sense of belonging and being known, learn better. They are happier and feel safe and appreciated. The students here thrive from the opportunity to experience life (experiential learning) while developing knowledge of themselves and intellectual curiosity and passion. Character development is talked about explicitly and include traits such as empathy, respect, gratitude, personal responsibility and integrity. My children are excited by school and they know they are part of a community. Parents are welcome to be involved here but it is not necessary. There is the full spectrum of very involved to not at all. The new head of school is doing a great job. He is different as he should be. He is a doer, a listener, very diplomatic and has good experience to draw from. Friends' School is a very special place.

- submitted by a parent
November 14, 2012
I would like to respond to the parent who spoke about elitism and new leadership at the school. We have had kids at the school for the last six years and have experienced both heads of school. Whereas there is no doubt that the current Head's style is different than the previous one's (Polly Donald led the school for 17 years), they have been both amazing in creating an environment where kids learn, are respected for their individual learning styles and are encouraged to experiment and find their own way as life-long learners. It is true that many of parents are involved in the community, but quite frankly, that is what makes the school very special. We also happen to have a large number of working parents and families who benefit from the school's generous financial aid program which has been oscillating around 30% of students receiving F.A. awards. In sum, I agree that every family needs to do their research and find a best fit for their child, but we found Friends' a warm, welcoming community where our kids have thrived.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2012
I've looked around a lot of schools, and Friends really stands out as a totally unique and wonderful place. I have two kids there, both of whom are thriving and experiencing joy, love and learning on a daily basis. The teachers are amazing -they truly care, are very accessible and communicative, and respond thoughtfully to the slightest concern. They are also completely dedicated to bringing the best out of the children in their care, not just academically but also socially and emotionally. It is a small school with a very friendly, warm, safe and welcoming atmosphere. The classes are small enough (less than 20 kids with 2 main teachers plus a host of specialty teachers) that each child gets a lot of individual attention, and there are the resources to teach to the individual's level. Each child is made to feel special, unique and deeply appreciated for who they are. My children are not alone in looking forward to school every day, and in leaving the classroom with a huge smile on their faces and full of excitement and stories about their adventures. Do yourself and your children a favor and take a look at this unique and amazing school - it may be the best thing you ever did.

- submitted by a parent
September 08, 2012
After previously giving this school a glowing review in 2010, our opinion has unfortunately changed. We experienced some less than ideal situations after the school recently underwent a change in leadership. While no school can fit every child and every family, we felt compelled to update our review to more accurately reflect our experience. This school is not immune to issues facing most private independent schools, but the level of elitism and parent over-involvement has gone to extremes and has been left unchecked during the leadership transition. The type of learning style that the school seems able and willing to serve seems to be narrowing to a great degree. Adjustments aside, this school is based on wonderful ideas and we hope that the school will rebound. In the meantime, please carefully consider whether this school is a good match for your child and your family. We advise you to ask questions, attend a community meeting, talk to other parents, and trust your instincts.

- submitted by a parent
February 07, 2012
After being surrounded in my adult life with people with strong academic backgrounds and miserable social lives, I wanted more for my children than just sitting in over-crowded classrooms, listening to lectures and doing worksheets. Since preschool, the children have learned social and emotional skills along with their academic skills. The Area of Expertise (AOE) presentation that the elementary children make each year is a great example of the way that the children learn as a group, yet get to shine in their own particular way. By the time they are in fifth grade, they have developed the confidence in themselves to get up in front of several hundred people and describe their learning experience.

- submitted by a parent
May 03, 2010
Friends' School is a wonderful place to be a parent, teacher, and especially a student. Everyone feels part of the community and each member's strengths contribute to a whole that is truly more than the sum of its parts. The children are kind, the parents are warm and welcoming and the teachers are open and empathetic. It is in this atmosphere that learning in all three areas -- head, hand and heart -- takes place.

- submitted by a parent
April 24, 2010
My daughter is truly getting an education of head, hand & heart at Friends' School. They have done such a great job creating a feeling of community within the classes, the school , the parent community and the community of Boulder. As I watch the Boulder Valley students get their art, music and PE cut, I feel fortunate that Friends' School finds this an integral part to education. The small class size means that nobody slips through the cracks. As a parent, I feel supported through the many parent education nights that are offered. If I could change one thing about Friends' School, it would be that they went all the way through 12th grade!!

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2010
Friends' has exceeded our expectations in every area in the two years we have been part of its community and we eagerly look forward to the elementary years. The teachers are compassionate, caring and highly qualified. The school's motto (Educating the Whole Child - Head, Hand, Heart) is evident in all involved with the school. They truly nuture each child's self-esteem and facilitate each child's learning conflict resolution. The class sizes are ideal for both child and teacher - allowing for individualized attention and support. The portfolio assessment model is used which is so empowering to the child, parent and teacher. I could go on and on about the school but wholeheartedly encourage anyone considering it to just check it out - you will be glad you did!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
Their mission is to educate the head, hands and heart. Each child is treated as an individual and every teacher is AMAZING!

- submitted by a parent
April 23, 2009
You won't find more committed teachers than those at Friends' School. They are smart, funny, caring, and creative. They value children as individuals and help them reach their potential. Most importantly, perhaps, they teach kids a language to use when resolving conflicts that promotes self-respect and confidence as well as empathy. My children love to go to school at Friends' because of these teachers; they love to read, to learn, to play, to solve problems, and to challenge themselves. Further, the greater community at Friends' couldn't be more supportive. There is always another parent to laugh with or help you solve a problem. Most kids want to stay on the playground for hours after school, and all the parents seem to enjoy hanging out as much as the kids. Finally, Friend's benefits from superb leadership from Polly Donald. She is a top-notch educator in all respects.

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2009
Both of my kids attend Friends'. Before Friends' neither of my kids were excited about going to school and now i literally find them in the car waiting for me to drive them there. I appreciate the focus on helping kids develop socially and emotionally. Helping them develop important social/emotional skills early on in life will serve them forever. At Friends' they have also developed a real love of learning and I find them turning games into learning opportunities. The small class sizes allow for incredible focus on each child and I love to 2-year looping system. The teachers really get to know each child. Before choosing Friends' I asked several people who I deeply respected (all Ivy league grads) who sent their kids there and they all spoke so highly and each of their children were so different. I truly think it works for all different types of kids!

- submitted by a parent
April 16, 2009
My son has been in Friends' for 4 years now and my daughter for 1. I have been heavily involved in the classroom as a volunteer as well as on numerous parent-driven school volunteer projects. With this experience, I feel I have been able to get a very broad perspective on how Friends' School supports both the child and the parent community. Frankly I'm not sure 5 stars are enough to rank this exceptional institution. With the small class size, rich teaching philosophy which addresses the 'whole' child and the extraordinary quality of teachers, Friends' School provides an ideal learning environment. Children receive tons of individual attention and input, they learn to embrace not only intellectual pursuits but pursuits of community service/charity and to value social interactions with honesty, respect and their individual voice. My children and I have blossomed at Friends' School. --Lisa Albright

- submitted by a parent
April 13, 2009
My son has been a pre-schooler at Friends' School for the past two years and will be entering Kindergarten next year. Since he's an only child, we were particularly drawn to the focus on social and emotional development. The teachers and staff are wonderful, the environment and facilities are beautiful and warm, and there is a strong sense of community at Friends' School. Overall, I've been very happy with my experience as a parent, and most importantly with my son's experience as a student at Friends'.

- submitted by a parent
April 07, 2009
As I looked at elementary schools for my child, I really wanted to make sure he didn't get 'lost in the crowd.' I also wanted to find teachers that would recognize that kids have their individual learning styles and be able to incorporate that into the classroom so that the teachers reach each child in a personal way. Well, Friends' School has exceeded my expectations on both fronts. I now have two boys at the school and I can honestly say that they both love learning. That is really all you can ask for as a parent! I appreciate the small classrooms, lack of state-mandated testing, social development and rock-star teaching at Friends' School. I feel very fortunate that my kids are able to get a great start to the many years that they will spend in school. Not only have they become confident learners, but also confident, well-rounded individuals.

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2009
As a parent, and a former public school elementary teacher, I cannot recommend this school highly enough: the teachers are inspirational, and Polly runs the school with a firm hand and a warm heart. We are extremely happy with the education our children receive at Friends' School (we've been here for five years). Our children look forward to school, and they love learning.

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2009
We have two children at Friends' School, and we are thrilled. The teachers are fantastic-kind, caring, engaged, invested in the future of our children. They are supported by the faculty, staff and parents. The teacher-student ratio is excellent as well. The facility is beautiful, and the children just love going to school. And finally, the faculty is top notch. Many parents at both public and private schools don't realize how very important it is to have a solid faulty running a school.

- submitted by a parent
February 23, 2009
We've been at Friends for two years and couldn't be happier with our experience. The teachers truly honor and recognize each child's individuality, encourage their strengths and support them through their challenges.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 22, 2008
I love this school! My son is in Kindergarten and his teacher is truly amazing. Great student- teacher ratio, engaging special classes (science, spanish, etc), and a very supportive parent group and administration.

- submitted by a parent

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Friends' School
5465 Pennsylvania Ave, Boulder, CO  80303
(303) 499-1999
Last modified Friends' School is a Private school that serves grades PK-5
Friends' School Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 29 reviews. Top