We sent our children through Friends' School from preschool through 5th grade. It provided them with everything they needed, both social-emotional and academic, to move on to middle school. They are who they are and handle most situations with grace and confidence because of what they learned at Friends'. Before anyone else was making it a part of their program, Friends' was teaching the whole child, with as much emphasis placed on kids' emotional growth as preparing them academically. My oldest child was told by their middle school teachers "You can always spot a Friends' School student by how prepared they are and how they treat those around them." We are so grateful to have had the chance to experience this type of education early. Small class size, experiential learning, individual instruction, excellent teachers, thinking outside the box, are all important measures of a good school for us and Friends' has met every one of them. Each teacher truly knows our children as an individual and has taught them to their specific, very different needs. Friends' is an amazing community not only for students but also for their parents. The joy my children have experienced and the education I have received as a parent are what make me thankful every day to be here.
I couldn’t disagree more with the two previous negative reviews about Friends’ School in Boulder. My kids have attended public, charter and independent schools in Boulder and no school creates positive culture and manages social dynamics better than Friends’ School. My son is very sensitive, not sporty at all, very quirky … and he is thriving at this school! I couldn’t ask for a warmer, more supportive community of parents, teachers and kids. Is it perfect? No. No school is perfect, and all schools have to navigate conflict and challenges. When conflicts do inevitably arise, the school takes the necessary time to work through problems thoroughly and compassionately. I should also mention that my family is not wealthy — we receive a discount based on income for the tiered tuition system. We have never felt slighted or treated differently from other families. As for the experience of the teachers, one of my son’s favorite teachers has been at Friends’ for 27 years and all of his lead teachers have master’s degrees. These teachers really do differentiate and appreciate individuality. The portfolio-style conferences will bring a tear to your eye when see how much time and effort goes into knowing and celebrating your child. If you are looking for a school, I would encourage you to visit the school to see the healthy culture firsthand and talk to the many happy Friends’ School parents.
It is one of my biggest parenting regrets that I sent my children to Friends' School in Boulder, Colorado. The facilities are beautiful and Ann at the front desk is amazing, yet the rest of the experience was just awful.
Many of the teachers are very inexperienced and not up to the challenge that many difficult children bring to the classroom. The children remain together for the entire time at the school. This might sound nice and safe, but if you get a mix of children that is difficult, then your child has no way out and there is no social fluidity. The children that seem to do the best are very alpha or able to create a very thick skin. If you have a gentle, sensitive child, this school is not the place for you. If your child is quirky and you want them to learn to honor that part of them, this is not the place for your child. If your child excels at soccer, likes to conform to what other children are doing, than this might be a good fit for you.
If your child struggles in class, they will tell you need a tutor. Most classes are set up to teach to all levels in one session. This means that if there are three levels being taught to, then for two of the levels, the children are either working on their own, or on an ipad. In my child's class this time felt like a Lord of the Flies moment.
There are many social cliques in this school. The dynamics with the kids in each class can be very difficult to break in to. Recess was often the worst time of day for my child and also for other children that I heard from.
I think this school can be a good fit for a certain type of child and if you are lucky enough to get a good class make up and dynamic. If you are not lucky, then the experience can be very scarring for young children.
I am thrilled that my children are no longer at school here. The social dynamic is truly unhealthy. The one class per grade level does not allow for social fluidity. I had hoped to find a sweet small community for my children, and this was the complete opposite. The school favors the big spenders and does not deal with children who have significant behavioral problems and a proven track record of bullying.
I definitely do not think the instruction is worth the price tag either. There is significant teacher turnover and many teachers are hired without extensive classroom experience. The classroom management in some of the classes is very disappointing. Don't be fooled by the enthusiastic woman welcoming you at the entrance. She's awesome but it doesn't reflect the true culture at the school. I would definitely look elsewhere.
My husband and I could not be more pleased with our daughter's experience at Friends' School. She matriculated last year as a preschooler and has returned this year as a "Pre-K" student. We plan to return next year for Kindergarten.
Our daughter has blossomed tremendously during the past year and a half and I attribute a lot of that growth to Friends'. The entire community works hard give each child the tools that he/she needs to grow in mind, body, and heart. Academic instruction is creative, hands-on and personalized to each child's needs. Preschoolers spend roughly half of their 3-hour day outdoors in the AMAZING schoolyard, and elementary students get multiple short recess breaks in addition to the traditional lunch/recess combo. This added "play time"--even for older elementary students--has been well-researched and shown to enhance student's ability to focus and better process information during direct instruction.
Character growth is a huge part of the school's culture and a main attribute that drew our family in, and the social/emotional curriculum at this school is second-to-none. Teacher spend a great deal of time helping children navigate tricky situations with friends and challenging group dynamics. By learning these skills early on, children will be able to concentrate on school as they grow rather than on peer difficulties.
The degree to which teachers--and even staff--get to know each child at the school is astounding. Our daughter used to avoid a lot of physical play. Her teachers introduced to her the concept of "body challenges" and the idea that when something is hard, that's actually great, because it means you have a chance to "grow your brain" or "grow your body" by practicing. In addition, our child doesn't like to fail. The teachers have emphasized resiliency and talk about "bouncing like a ball" when you don't achieve your goal the first time. The change in our daughter has been wonderful to behold. She now enjoys "body challenges" and "growing her body" by trying new, hard things on the playground with her friends.
I truly could not say enough great things about this warm, tight knit an caring community. The families, staff, and especially the faculty are the best. Definitely worth taking a look if the concept of "educating the whole child" is of value to you and your family. This place nails it.
Our kid is in his second year at the Friends' School Preschool Program and he is loving it. We feel so lucky to be part of the Friends' School community where we are all learning how to educate the whole child; head, hand, and heart! They offer many educational series for parents as well as extra curricular programs for students. The summer camp programs are phenomenal, we've done the backyard camp twice and we've made some great friends here too.
My kid had a hard time making the transition into Preschool and the teachers made this experience easy for him with their loving and compassionate care. They also identified a speech dysfluency early in our first school year which their pathologist has supportively assisted us with. Now his speech is right where it's supposed to be! Thank you Friends' School.
Two of the Preschool teachers are recipients of the Boulder County Best Teachers in early education award 2 years in a row! The ratio of teacher to student is amazing, for all grades. Friends' is nurturing self awareness and creative thinking while integrating standards of learning in an environment full of respect. If only every child's learning could be like this!
Both our children are lucky enough to have gone to Friends' School, to experience their incredible play-based learning environment and develop their social emotional skills within the most warm and welcoming community. Their teachers are amazing in their depth of knowledge and experience, and their compassion in working with each child. I only wish it went through high school!
Our oldest child started preschool at Friends' this year and is having an exceptional introduction to the school experience. Each day, one of the first questions we are asked is: "Do I get to go to school today?" The teachers are welcoming, enthusiastic, educated and so much fun! The classroom environment offers wonderful learning opportunities and, most importantly, social/emotional confidence is at the core of the program.
My 3 children have gone to Friends school preschool over the years. This school holds a special and dear place in my families hearts. I can't think of better teachers and community to start off my childrens academic careers. My kids have come away with lifelong friends, a good basis of knowledge and social and emotional guidance which will help them throughout life- I only wish everyone's kids could have this experience!