Our challenging, nationally aligned curriculum goes beyond academics to promote development of the whole child.

National frameworks and curricula

Daily instruction in mathematics and language is aligned to the Common Core national framework. Science instruction is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

  • We use Singapore Math for mathematics instruction.
  • Students learn to read through Words Their Way and the Reading A-Z reading curricula.
  • We use the Lucy Calkins writing approach.


We weave creativity, physical activity, social skills, and character development into daily instruction.

  • Music, visual arts, science, and Spanish are taught by expert special-subject teachers.
  • Formal gym instruction, yoga, and daily recess help students develop their minds, bodies, social skills, and sense of fair play.
  • Second Step, a national socio-emotional curriculum teaches children about their own emotions, how to manage them, and how to live together.
  • Our Whole Lives offers a nonjudgmental health and human sexuality curriculum.

Project-based and interest-led

Students have the chance to pursue ideas deeply and investigate topics that are important to them.

  • Whole-class inquiry projects allow the students to pursue a topic of interest together over a longer period of time. In the process they learn from the world and each other.
  • During D.E.A.R. (Drop everything and read), students choose their own books to develop a lifetime love of reading.
  • Students pursue independent Genius Hour research projects in grades 3-5 and longer-term independent study projects in grades 6-8.
  • Students in grades 3-5 create independent, creative Scratch programming projects.
  • Once they have become proficient readers, students explore literature in reading “clubs” together. Clubs are formed not only by reading level, but also by students’ interests and other needs and skills.

Curriculum guidelines

Other sections in Program & Curriculum


Classroom and School Culture

Engaged Learning

Annual Instructional Theme

A Day at Chicago Friends School

Before and After School

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