Goshen Friends School, an independent Quaker school located at 814 N. Chester Road in West Chester, has announced that beginning with the 2017-18 school year, its curriculum will focus solely on early education with Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten classes.
 
"Research shows that high-quality Preschool and Kindergarten help students grow physically, emotionally, and socially by encouraging interactions with both peers and adults, sparking curiosity, and preparing children for future educational success," notes Mimi Ackers, incoming Head of School. "Ever since our first classroom for Kindergarteners opened in 1959, Goshen Friends' teachers have been dedicated to empowering young learners by giving them opportunities to explore and grow in challenging yet supportive ways, and we are looking forward to returning to our roots as educators of the youngest students."
 
Goshen Friends' offerings will include By My Side, a class for 2-year-olds and their caregivers; six separate age-based Preschool classes; a Pre-Kindergarten class; and half-day and full-day Kindergarten. Full-day options will be available for all Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten students through the school's Extended Care program, which offers Lunch Bunch and Afternoon Enrichment until 3 p.m.
 
Beginning this fall, classes will be as follows:
 
By My Side (for 2-year-olds and their grown-ups), a gentle introduction to Preschool with the comfort of a parent of caregiver close by. Experienced Preschool teachers lead the program and encourage growth in motor skills, imagination, and cooperative play.
 
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten (for children ranging in age from 2.7 to 5), including 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-day options. Programs, based on the philosophy that children learn through dynamic play, are designed to help children grow academically, creatively, spiritually, and socially through a multidisciplinary curriculum that builds early math and language arts skills while inspiring curiosity.
 
Kindergarten (half-day and full-day), featuring small class size, individualized attention, and differentiated instruction to nurture the whole child, encourage confidence and love of learning, and expose children to a multidisciplinary curriculum that includes outdoor education, music, and Spanish in addition to language arts, math, science, and social studies.
 
Classes will move to a newer facility on campus, which will give students access to larger, self-contained classrooms with private bathrooms in rooms for young 3s; proximity to the school's newly renovated multi-purpose room for music and movement classes, indoor recess, and community gatherings; dedicated space for specials classes in art and Spanish; and classroom technology setups for in-depth lessons in art, cultural studies, and other areas. Additionally, Goshen Friends School's 10-acre campus features two separate playgrounds, raised beds for gardening, and plenty of room for outdoor education/nature classes and exploring.
 
In addition to refocusing its curriculum on early education, Goshen Friends School has announced that Ackers will be assuming the position of Head of School on July 1. Ackers, the current Director of Admissions, began as a preschool teacher at Goshen Friends in 2011 and has served as the Director of Admissions since 2015. During this time she has increased the visibility of the school in the larger community through various events, including Meet Us on Monday open houses, the fall Harvest Festival and the recent Preschool Fun Fair.
 
Ackers is replacing Michelle (Mimi) Blackwell, who is stepping down from her position as Head of School after 3  years of leadership. During her tenure, Blackwell oversaw the renewal of the school's accreditation by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools; facilitated the school's membership in the Friends Education Equity Collaborative; supported Goshen Friends' participation in the Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative; added programs to the curriculum, including outdoor education; and shepherded a campus-wide construction progress through completion. Her care, concern, and delight in having a relationship with each student have been hallmarks of her tenure as Head of School.
 
Those who are interested in learning more about Goshen Friends School's 2017-18 classes for Preschoolers, Pre-Kindergarteners, and Kindergarteners are encouraged to contact Mimi Ackers via email at mimi.ackers@goshenfriends.org or phone at (610) 696-8183.

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