My oldest son has been at CFS for 5 years and my youngest for 2 and in that time the school has gone through some big changes. The new Head of school is wonderful and attentive and cares very deeply for his school and the children. The administration is wonderful, Sarah the admissions director is kind and welcoming. CFS is an independent school where the Quaker testimonies are a integral part of the curriculum. Teaching to a child as a whole person, not just a student in-taking facts. The teacher to student ratio is very small, each class size averages 13. The teachers know the children and are attentive to each child's needs. Homework begins in third grade and is thoughtful and thorough. The culture is very special at our school. I cant say enough great things about our community and school. It is a joy for us to be a part of Cambridge Friends School.
After considering several private schools closer to home, we chose CFS for our daughter because because of the intellectual environment, diversity of the population, and the school's reputation among educators. She picked it for the big library, playing fields, student garden, and climbing wall. We couldn't be happier. This school has the small class sizes and personal attention you expect from an established private school. But there is so much more: email updates (with pictures) on our daughter's activities, a close network of parents, an unusually rich after-school program, an unrivaled social justice curriculum that starts in PK... It's no wonder people come from all over the region to go to this school.
For my daughter, now in her 6th year, CFS has been a great experience both academically and socially. The combination of clear guidelines and well-structured projects with plenty of room for students to follow individual interests has been a great match for her. She is interested not only in what she is doing, but what her classmates are doing as well. I have been impressed with how teachers have developed assignments so strong students push themselves further while remaining right in there with the whole group, socially connected. Academic subjects are solid (science is a standout). Assessment has worked very well for us--reports combine teacher assessments of students performance (above grade level, at grade level, etc.) with a narrative giving examples. More importantly, she has gotten consistent coaching in self-assessment. Her critique of her own work is dead on. CFS has given her the learning foundation I had hoped for.
I could not have hoped for anything better for my son. The art and music programs are well-thought out, and there is a great feeling of peace in the halls. I wish I had gone to CFS myself. It teaches tolerance and justice while fostering a very individualized approach to learning, and though my son is still very young, these values will be very useful come the middle school years.
My daughter started this year and I am so impressed so far. She has had a terrible experience in the Cambridge Public Schools and I am surprised how much higher the quality is here.
Cambridge Friends School offers a rigorous, progressive curriculum, infused with Quaker values of social justice and inclusiveness. Children learn to make decisions collaboratively, through yearlong class projects and multi-grade assemblies and presentations. Science is a particular strength, including a popular engineering module in which 3rd graders design and build their own boats; 4th graders design and build cars, and 5th graders design and build amusement park rides. Parents are highly involved, and communities of interest emerge organically. Cambridge Friends School offers a full array of music and sports extracurriculars, along with an advanced drama program in the middle school that ranges from Shakespeare to music videos. Graduates of the 8th grade are accepted into next schools that include the most sought after in the area, including Concord Academy and Commonwealth. As one admissions director remarked, 'CFS graduates are the intellectual and moral centers of their class.'
i have two sons at CFS and am very involved in the school community. this site lists it as 'religious', however, although CFS is grounded in Quaker philosophy, i consider the education to be 100% secular. the only creed taught is one of social justice, tolerance, civic duty and responsibility to leave the world a better place than we each find it. we're jewish, and these values, coupled with academic excellence, dovetail perfectly with the values we teach at home.
My 7th gradeson, intellectually gifted, has been at this school since Kindergarten. He has found his classes engaging and stimulating. If anything, the Middle School has been even better than the Lower School, which was also wonderful. The school integrates art, music, and social awareness into traditional academics. Students respect each other; there is no tolerance for bullying or harrassment, gay-baiting, racism, etc. I have been struck by the group cohesion of the 7th grade--no one is excluded, they all go to each other's parties, and while my son is aware that some kids don't read as well as he does, or have time management issues, it's clear that he respects other students for their range of talents and skills. The school attempts to educate parents; there have been excellent programs for parents on racism, sexism, homophobia, education, and so forth. A strong support network for adoptive and mixed-race families.
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