Annual Instructional Theme

Annual Instructional Theme

Every year, Chicago Friends School chooses an annual instructional theme. This theme provides a common thread for instruction throughout the year, opportunities to collaborate across classrooms, and inspiration for field trips and service projects.

2019–2020: Seeds and Roots

Important themes will be:

  • Ecologyrelationship between environment and plan and animal life.
  • Biologylife cycles of plants, animals and people.
  • Cultural seeds and rootsInfluences on societies as they develop and grow.
  • World religions and their relationships with individual and society
  • Individual seeds and rootsWhat causes us to grow into the people we are.

Field trips for the 2019-2020 school year are not fully planned yet, but will include an overnight farm stay and trips to local conservatories and botanic centers, as well as plays in which we explore personal influences, and to local houses of worship to explore religion for our older students.

A selection of other annual themes is below:

2017–2018: Circles

Important ideas in the Circles theme include:

  • Circles of belonging — communities
  • Circles of responsibility, power, and authority — government and civics
  • Circles in space – planets and orbits
  • Nightly circles — day and night, moon phases
  • The cycle of the year — seasons in nature
  • Biogeochemical cycles — water cycle, carbon cycle

Field trips related to the Circles theme is:

  • The Adler Planetarium
  • The alderman’s local office and City Hall
  • Loyola Beach and Nature Preserve
  • The Museum of Broadcast Communications
  • Montrose Harbor Bird Sanctuary
  • The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Our year long service project during the circles year, was to make, stock and install “circulating” little libraries in different neighborhoods in Chicago.

2015–2016: Chicago

Important ideas in the Chicago theme included:

  • Chicago history from pre-European settlement until today
  • Immigration and the Great Migration
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Architecture
  • Jazz and the blues
  • Neighborhood economics
  • City government

Field trips related to the Chicago theme included:

  • Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
  • Swedish American Museum
  • The DuSable Museum of African American History
  • The Green Mill jazz club
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation
  • The Pullman Historic District

Our school-wide service project this year happened while we were studying immigration. Students learned about the different reasons for immigration, and then, working with Heartland Alliance, made refugee welcome kits.

Other sections in Program & Curriculum


Classroom and School Culture


Engaged Learning

A Day at Chicago Friends School

Before and After School

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