Our Community

Whether walking through our hallways and peeking into a classroom, watching children jump from the tree stumps at The Nest, or sitting in silence on the benches of the Meeting House during Meeting for Worship, it is clear to see that FFS is a happy and safe place to learn.

Our faculty knows each student deeply and understands their individual strengths and needs — not just as a student in the class, but as an individual with interests and passions. Teachers at FFS have a unique way of welcoming students’ personalities and backgrounds into the classroom, creating an environment of mutual respect and close community.

Outdoor Education

Our outdoor experiential education program provides hands-on field studies and opportunities to explore the natural world for students at all levels, integrating mindfulness and reflective practices, a healthy lifestyle, scientific inquiry, and environmental stewardship.

Retreats, hikes, all-school outdoor expeditions, and farm trips provide opportunities to explore together as a community, recharge, and fall in love with nature. On campus, some of the best learning happens through play with water, dirt, and natural materials, and through climbing, crawling, running, jumping, and participating in physical activities at The Nest.

The Nest is our award-winning, half-acre green space on campus, equipped with three rain and pollinator gardens, mud kitchens, spaces for dirt digging and building, and a waterworks. Students are able to build their gross motor skills by climbing on locally-sourced tree trunks, rocks and boulders, a climber, and by playing on an open field, all while having fun and learning to work together.

Chickens!

Students at Frankford Friends School raise and care for our beloved chickens as a means to practice stewardship, collaboration, and responsibility, and to learn about genetic characteristics, sustainability, and life cycles of birds. They collect and track the number of eggs laid daily, feed the chickens grain and water (and occasionally a home grown treat from the garden), keep their space clean and comfortable, and let them out of their coop for daily exercise. Fresh eggs are used in class baking activities and everyone in the FFS community has a turn to take some home as well.

Middle School Retreats

Middle School students and teachers spend three days and two nights at a team-building retreat each fall, strengthening connections with old friends, establishing new relationships, and together, building a strong Middle School community.

Students embrace the fun in challenges such as navigating a low ropes course, canoeing, contributing to team-building games, and playing sports. They also hike, practice yoga and mindfulness, sing and tell stories by the campfire, and attend outdoor Meetings for Worship.

Extended day Program

Extended Day & Otter Camp

Our Extended Day Program is a great way for students in grades Pre-K to 8 to be cared for after school in a safe, nurturing environment. On days when school is closed for parent conferences or teacher in-service days, students can come to school for a day filled with fun at Otter Camp.

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Community Engagement

Volunteerism and community engagement bring our students in contact with local leaders who actively work to make a difference in their communities. Our students observe and learn about the true meaning of community stewardship and develop a genuine interest in being agents of change in the world around them.

Our service learning leaders at FFS are interested in building long-term projects with organizations and we welcome your ideas for partnership. If you are connected to an organization who would be a fit for our community engagement initiatives, please contact Adrienne Avery at aavery@frankfordfriends.org.

Frankford Library

The Frankford Library sits just three blocks from the edge of the FFS campus, and serves as a vital link to our classrooms in our effort to prepare students for an increasingly information-driven world.

A haven for both reading and research, our students use the library to seek out books for their own joyful reading and to conduct research on a variety of topics. Through this meaningful and regular ritual, we shape a generation of lifelong readers who find joy in making use of the resources that are available to all at the public library.

Meeting for Worship

Quaker values are the heart of everything we do at Frankford Friends School. In keeping with Quaker practice, our community meets weekly to worship together with their fellow teachers and students.

Quakers have long known the benefits of reflection and sitting in silence in order to access what George Fox called “the still, small voice.” In addition to its spiritual benefits, the mindful and reflective nature of Meeting for Worship improves attention, helps regulate our emotions, and reduces stress in students and classrooms. Making space for these mindful moments allows students and teachers to take a break from the bustle of the classroom and to bring attention to the present moment.

Meeting begins in silence, so that we may settle, practice reflection and make room for the Inner Light to guide us. Learning to be centered in silence provides an opportunity to shift our focus from doing and thinking, to being. During worship, a community member may feel moved to speak, to raise an idea, or share an inspiration. Following a spoken message, all return to silence to reflect on that message and to greet it with compassion and non-judgmental awareness. The meeting ends when the elders initiate a handshake. Our fifth and eighth graders serve as the elders of our lower school and middle school meetings.

Parents and community members are welcome to join us for worship. Please contact Laurie Flynn at frontdesk@frankfordfriends.org

Traditions

Our Mascot

Our students chose the river otter to represent their school since river otters possess many of the wonderful characteristics that also describe our students. Otters are excellent communicators and have amazing intelligence and skill. They love to explore and they use play as a way to strengthen social bonds. We love their commitment to community and how they find joy in living and learning.

Quaker Week/Community Days for Impact

Each year, FFS students and teachers join together in multi-age groups to celebrate community. Everyone participates in team-building activities, community games, and service to the neighborhood. There is also time to worship together, share a meal, and support each other as we reflect on the Quaker values and beliefs that are so important to us.

Grandfriends Day

More than 100 grandfriends arrive on the Frankford Friends School campus each fall, to see where their grandchildren learn, explore, play, and reflect. Students introduce their grandfriends to their teachers, show them their classrooms, sit with them during Meeting for Worship, and work together on projects across the curriculum.

OtterFest!


Each fall, the Family Association sponsors a community gathering on campus to celebrate the start of the school year. Families and teachers gather together for food trucks, games, conversation and fun.

River Otter Field Day

Every spring we celebrate the end of the school year at River Otter Field Day where all students play outdoor games at various stations throughout our campus in mixed-age groups. It's a day of celebration and togetherness as a whole school. The day culminates with a competitive dodgeball game featuring eighth graders vs. faculty.

Final Meeting for Worship in Celebration of Our Eighth Graders

Families, friends, students and staff celebrate our eighth graders at a final Meeting for Worship. During this time we reflect on each student’s time at FFS and wish them luck as they join the ranks of Frankford Friends alumni.

More than 100 grandfriends arrive on the Frankford Friends School campus each fall, to see where their grandchildren learn, explore, play, and reflect. Students introduce their grandfriends to their teachers, show them their classrooms, sit with them during Meeting for Worship, and work together on projects across the curriculum.

Extended Day Program

Frankford Friends School offers after-school care to our students from 2:55 pm to 6:00 pm.

The Extended Day staff supervises indoor and outdoor play and games, while reinforcing the same Quaker values that guide the children during their school day. Our Extended Day Program is a great way for students in grades Pre-K to 8 to be cared for after school in a safe, nurturing environment. Under the guidance of our experienced and caring staff members, students have fun learning, growing, and building lasting friendships with kids of all ages from our school community.

After a healthy snack, students have plenty of time to play outside before spending time in both teacher- and student-led centers such as arts and crafts, games, construction activities, science, and dramatic play. Students have use of the outdoor spaces and buildings in the NEST. Specialty Clubs may occasionally be offered and families will receive information on these clubs as they arise. The day ends with quiet activities such as story time with teachers.

Register for Extended Day

Otter Camp


Students can come to school for a day filled with fun while school is closed for parent conferences or teacher in-service days. Activities include science experiments, arts and crafts, stories, engineering projects, indoor and outdoor sports and games, cooking, drama activities, and trips to the park and library. Snacks are provided, but each child should bring their own lunch.

Otter Camp takes place from 8:00am to 3:00pm on full days and 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm on half days. The Extended Day Program follows until 6:00 pm for students who have pre-registered.

Lunch

One of our favorite social times of the day is when we gather for lunch in one of our many outdoor spaces on campus. Everyone has a chance to nourish their bodies as they chat and laugh together while sharing a meal. Students either bring a packed lunch from home or have the option of ordering a catered student lunch which is delivered daily to campus by Little Jimmie’s Lunchbox, a local Black-owned business.

Transportation

Car and Public Transportation

Students at Frankford Friends School arrive and depart from school in a variety of ways. Many students are dropped off and picked up by their caregivers or in a car pool. The School also offers public school buses provided by the Philadelphia School District to all students in grades 1-6 who live over 1.5 miles from FFS as well as a private van service (the FFS Ottermobiles) from selected zip codes, available to students in PreK-8. All Middle School students that live over 1.5 miles from FFS can access free SEPTA passes for travel to school on Philadelphia trains and buses.

To learn more about our transportation options, please contact the FFS front office or email Kellie Gilroy, at kgilroy@frankfordfriends.org.

Ottermobiles (private van service)

Frankford Friends is pleased to offer van service transportation to students in grades PreK-8. Registration for a seat on one of our Ottermobiles is accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Our vans currently serve families who live in Center City, South Philadelphia, Northern Liberties and Fishtown. There is a $2000 fee for students to ride on the Ottermobile for the 2022-23 school year.

To learn more about the FFS Ottermobile service, or to be placed on the waiting list, please contact the FFS front office or email Kellie Gilroy, at kgilroy@frankfordfriends.org.