Tag Archives: Private Schools in Maryland

A Unique Educational Experience at Sandy Spring Friends School

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by the staff at Sandy Spring Friends School in Sandy Spring, MD.]

Are you searching for the perfect school for your child? If you are seeking a unique educational experience that provides small classes and personalized learning; an inquiry-based approach to academics where our hands-on (project-based) curriculum takes place inside the classroom and across our beautiful 140-acre campus; and a character-based education that fosters critical thinking and empowers students to make the world a better place, then you should check out Sandy Spring Friends School.

A Personalized Approach
Founded in 1961, Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS) enrolls just over 600 students from age 3 to 12th grade, a “just-right” size that allows students to be part of a diverse community of learners (including a robust international student population in the Upper School), while also allowing for an intimate classroom setting. With class sizes maxing out at 16 students, our first-rate teachers can offer personalized attention and cultivate each student’s talents and interests.

Teachers at SSFS know their students well and along with guiding them toward success in the classroom, they can help direct students and families towards in-house support they need to help them thrive. From a Student Resource Team to our Learning Resource Collaborative, support staff help students achieve academic success as well as improve their skills in self-awareness, self-advocacy, and independence.

Hands-On and Experiential Learning
At SSFS, the curriculum is informed by the latest scientific research on how the brain works and learns best. With continual professional development on mind-brain education, our teachers learn to effectively apply these best practices into their classrooms. When the mind-brain approach to teaching is combined with the benefits of learning in nature, you experience the magic that is Sandy Spring Friends School.

The 140-acre campus provides many unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Wide-open spaces and a natural playground are used daily for exploration and play. Additionally, the campus includes a farm, a pond, an old-growth forest, a stream that feeds into the Anacostia Watershed, six miles of cross-country trails, and an aerial adventure park adjacent to the School.

The Lower School program takes advantage of these assets through a variety of learning activities. Students tap maple trees and re-enact the Oregon Trail experience in the fall, and make regular visits to the pond throughout the spring to see for themselves how tadpoles develop into frogs. A Farming Program engages students in inquiry-based learning as they reflect on their explorations, record their experiences, and formulate their own conclusions.

Classes in all divisions use the campus environs not only to expand students’ scientific thinking but also to further develop their understanding of stewardship and continual care of the earth. Seventh graders spend time studying sustainable agriculture methods on our campus’s organic farm. Upper School students use the farm and school land for scientific field study in Biology, Geology, and AP Environmental Science courses. Upper School students even utilize the farm for athletic conditioning (not many other DC-area school athletic departments can boast a “Farming for Fitness” class!).

A Values-Based Education
Strong academic, arts, and athletics programs are vital components of a college preparatory school—and indeed, SSFS seniors are accepted at selective colleges and universities across the country and around the world. However, for Sandy Spring Friends School, our education extends beyond what our students know and focuses on who our students become.  

The School’s values are rooted in Quakerism, which has a long history of commitment to social justice, equality, integrity, and peaceful resolution of conflict. SSFS focuses on instilling the Quaker SPICES— Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship— into each child, from preschool (age 3) all the way to senior year.   SSFS offers distinctive programming that integrates the SPICES throughout the school year:

  • Each division participates weekly in Meeting For Worship, a meditative practice which offers time for quiet reflection for students.
  • Students participate in social-emotional education that teaches students from an early age how to navigate conflict peacefully and respectfully.
  • Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools have a student body government, where students using consensus to select leadership.
  • A Senior-Buddy Program pairs up 12th graders with Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st-grade students. The groups get together several times throughout the year for lunches and playdates, forming special bonds of friendship between the oldest and youngest students on campus.
  • A “Community Day” in the fall and an “Our People, Our Planet Day” in the spring bring the entire preschool–12th-grade community together for environmental stewardship projects, reflection, team-building games, and opportunities to learn more about the various cultures represented by the School’s diverse student body.


  • Come and See Us In Action!

    Fall Open House | Sunday, October 20, 2019, 1-3:30pm
    Preschool-12th grade families are invited to come and meet our community of scholars, performers, thinkers, and doers. During our Open House, you will have the opportunity to tour our amazing 140 acre campus, meet our dynamic faculty, students, and parents, and visit our classrooms and facilities. Can’t make it to the open house? Schedule a private tour by emailing us at [email protected]

    Snapshot Days | November 12 & November 19, 2019 • 9-10am
    Preschool and Kindergarten families are invited to join us for a Snapshot Day on our beautiful campus! Snapshot Days allow a first-hand peek into our Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms for you and your child. Your little learner will spend one hour exploring our classrooms while you have an opportunity to speak briefly with teachers, administrators, and other parents; ask questions; and see our program in action. You may also sign up for an optional campus tour.


    This post is sponsored by Sandy Spring Friends School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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    Filed under 2019, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Guest Post, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, School Event, Schools, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays

    Guest Post: What Does a Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum Look Like?


    [Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD.]

    My 4 year old amazes me — what she knows and is capable of doing. I am also amazed at how often she is insistent about something and is 100% wrong, a great reminder of how young she is in her development as a human being.

    We’ve seen the push and pull around when to introduce academics to children. While the trend was younger and younger, there has been significant research showing that play-based education is best for social/emotional development, building executive functions, and developing the imagination. One recent study warns about the likelihood of an early ADHD diagnosis when the child is probably just developmentally unprepared for the curriculum.

    A similar debate swirls around the use of technology in schools. Some fear that without the most advanced technology at a young age, their child might lag behind. However, not knowing what the future will bring, it is essential that we give our children the inner tools to master whatever is to come. Notable Silicon Valley leaders send their children to Waldorf schools where technology is restricted until later grades.

    The Waldorf teaching philosophy is almost 100 years old and is grounded in the careful observation of each child, providing pedagogical tools for teaching the child according to their developmental stage. Waldorf educates the whole child – head, heart, and hands.

    The Washington Waldorf School has served DC Metro area families for almost 50 years, providing:

      – Early Childhood education grounded in imaginative play and outdoor time – including an outdoor Kindergarten option.
      – A rich Lower School (1-8) curriculum with deep roots in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
      – The introduction of technology in the classroom in 6th grade with a focus on creating responsible digital citizens.
      – A High School where graduates matriculate at distinguished colleges and go on to a wide range of professions.
    Visit a WWS open house in January to see our approach in action!


    This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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    Filed under 2019, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, School Event, Schools, Sponsored Post, Teens, Tweens

    A Service to Help You Find the Right Preschool or Private School Fit



    As parents, we all want what is best for our kids, but sometimes what we want is not always best for them. This is part of what informs the work of Trevor Waddington, President and CEO of DC School Hub, a comprehensive online resource for families researching preschools and private schools.

    For 14 years, Trevor has been a successful director of admission, both in Pennsylvania and, for the last 10 years, in Maryland. He is now taking his deep understanding of the profession and using it to help DMV families find the best education fit for their children.

    “I’ve sat on the other side of the table, and now I’m looking forward to helping families find what will set their child up for ultimate success,” said Waddington.

    Four years ago, he launched DCschoolHUB.com as a one-stop website for parents seeking child care, preschool, and private school in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. He painstakingly researched and entered all of the data about the schools onto the site. During that time, he learned more and more about the various programs.

    “I’ve always been interested in why people choose certain schools. For some it’s what they knew growing up, and for others, it’s what they wish they had. But where families choose to send their children is not always an optimal fit for their learning style and personality.”

    So, Trevor set out to create an algorithm based on data from every school in the DMV to use along with the Expert School Match Survey provided on his education consulting website, PrivateSchoolConcierge.org. The school match survey, when taken by families, provides Waddington with prescriptive analytic data that scientifically matches a child to a set of schools. Some of the filters include geography, tuition budget, academic strengths, and long-term goals.

    “While it provides me with percentage matching data, that’s only a piece of it. I then look at each school and determine with good old fashioned “admission intuition” which schools will be best for said child.” The results for each family include four to six schools ranked in order of best match along with a narrative about why each is an optimal match.

    If you are looking for a preschool or private school in the DMV and would like help finding the right school for your child or assistance navigating the admission process, The Private School Concierge, Trevor Waddington, can help!

    You can also learn more and meet Trevor at DC School Hub’s Private School and Preschool Fair this Sunday, October 21!

    And a bonus: Right now, they have a “Crack the Vault” contest running with a grand prize of $25,000 that would go toward school tuition. Parents just need to do just one of three things to enter — sign up for the newsletter, like and recommend us on social media, or review their current child care or school. Second place prizes include a full admission season of services from PrivateSchoolConcierge.org.

    This post is sponsored by DCschoolHub.com, however, I only promote services, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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    Filed under All ages, Class, Daycare, DC, Educational, Maryland, Preschoolers, Professional Service, Schools, Sponsored Post, Virginia