About Us

Haddonfield Friends School

Do you want your child to fall in love with learning?

Haddonfield Friends School fosters independence, confidence, critical thinking abilities and creativity in a warm and welcoming environment. Our hands-on, ‘whole child’ approach supports each student’s unique qualities and individual learning style for a learning experience that’s compelling, effective and fun!

What Makes Us Special?

⭐ Safe, nurturing environment
⭐ Caring, dedicated, and high-quality teachers
⭐ Flexible, inquiry-based learning experiences
⭐ Focus on community service and engagement
⭐ Two teachers for early childhood through first-grade classrooms
⭐ Daily outdoor exploration of nature and play in every grade
⭐ Theatre program that produces musicals and original plays
⭐ Emphasis on project-based, community, and service learning
⭐ Integrated humanities program with a focus on writing and speaking
⭐ Well-rounded arts curriculum, including instrumental music instruction
⭐ Cross-grade mentorship through our “buddy” program

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The Head of School’s Message

Head of School

Matthew Sharp

Welcome to Haddonfield Friends School! Thank you for visiting our website. Consider this a glimpse into our enriching learning community here at HFS, where every voice is heard.

I hope this website provides a helpful, authentic introduction to our unique learning community. From hands-on STEM education to monarch butterfly parades, experiential learning opportunities in our historic town/region to original theater works and performances, middle school buddies who mentor our preschoolers to student-led community service projects that come to life all around the globe, I am excited to share the wonderful work happening at our school each and every day. After exploring these pages, I also hope you will take away the same sense of warmth, commitment to community, trust in our exceptional, caring faculty and academic growth that our students and parents consistently cite as the hallmarks of the educational journey here at Haddonfield Friends School.

I am honored and humbled to advance the mission of HFS, as we prepare joyful and inquisitive young minds to carry the light of confidence, critical thinking, creativity, and stewardship in a diverse community of learners. And, I am confident and excited to build upon the legacy of my accomplished predecessors and collaborate with dedicated, passionate, and skilled colleagues, as we all truly have your children’s best interests at heart.

Please contact us regarding availability for your child, and to schedule your personal tour of our school. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide additional information about our educational programs.

Kind regards,

Matthew Sharp
Head of School

Our Mission & What Makes HFS Unique

Haddonfield Friends School Prepares Joyful And Inquisitive Young Minds To Carry The Light Of Confidence, Critical Thinking, Creativity, And Stewardship In A Diverse Community Of Learners.

We believe there is “that of God” in everyone. By recognizing this Inner Light, we strive to inspire students to approach learning opportunities with excitement, and a healthy optimism about the world and self. Our peaceful, joyful community (of extended family, as some would say) encourages our students to discover, nurture, and exercise the gifts they have been given, and to do so among learners who also seek understanding, compassion, and strive to lead lives of integrity.

We believe that the best education is one that nurtures children’s innate and insatiable curiosity. We encourage students to ask challenging questions, to wonder, to deviate from a prescribed syllabus for the sake of depth and mastery. We want our children to enjoy the journey of lifelong learning – it is not a sprint to college, it is a marathon that is… life.

Our students and graduates are consistently celebrated for their inner confidence – whether presenting at the Coriell Institute Science Fair or speaking to teachers, parents, and peers, our students are comfortable articulating their ideas and opinions effectively and exercising simple but powerful practices of a hand shake, eye contact, listening, and silent reflection. Intimate class sizes, depth of student engagement, and ample co-curricular opportunities contribute to an environment that cultivates confidence, from Early Childhood up through Lower and Middle Schools. Upon matriculating to high school, HFS students hit the ground running, eager to make an impact both in and out of the classroom.

Critical Thinking
Our rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum is designed with the goal of graduating critical thinkers who can peacefully solve our world’s ever-changing challenges. We hope our students are more than grades on a report card. We want them to have a robust point of view and voice, informed by deep research and refined through debate. We also want our students to be aware – of themselves, of their peers, of their world – and use this awareness when problem solving for the 21st century life.

Creativity is putting one’s imagination to work,* and we believe our learning community provides the space and opportunity for students to cultivate and express creativity. We are fortunate to have Spanish, Music, Health/PE, and Art Centers, taught by passionate educators and practitioners in their fields. And, our multidisciplinary, experiential approach to learning (both within and outside of the classroom) empowers our students with different ways to internalize lessons and concepts. Our broad range of after school enrichment activities also fosters creativity within our students, exposing them to new forms and methods of expression.

We endeavor to inspire HFS students to share their gifts and talents with their communities. We seek opportunities to serve others and tend to the environment in the context of community/global outreach and daily practice. Through our service-based learning trips, we teach our students to be good stewards of relationships, resources, and the planet.

Diverse Community Of Learners
A community is only as vibrant and successful as the members within it. At HFS, we welcome and embrace diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. It is the celebration of these varied points of view and recognition of “that of God” in everyone that enriches our learning experiences, enables us to collaborate respectfully, and ultimately, prepare our students for their futures.

Our Parents, Students, Teachers, And Alumni Consistently Cite Our Safe, Nurturing Environment; Teachers; Approach To Learning And Focus On Community Service/Engagement As What Makes HFS Unique.

Safe, Nurturing Environment
We believe a nurturing learning environment of mutual respect, safety, and cooperative learning is the critical foundation, for it consequently empowers students to contribute freely and meaningfully to the classroom, dive into learning, value oneself, and respect different points of view. Our students are comfortable expressing and testing their thinking and feel supported by teachers, classmates, and older HFS students on their journey of learning and growth.

Some examples of what this looks like at HFS:

    • The Quaker S.P.I.C.E.S. are built into everything we do at HFS. Our curriculum is presented with an eye toward the overriding values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community equality, and stewardship; these values are built into discussions, and referenced and considered in each situation presented in the learning environment. Kindness is taught proactively and cooperation, peaceful mediation, and conflict resolution techniques are part of our day in every class and recess, PE, and other activities.
    • Student-to-Teacher Ratio of 7:1 and our small class sizes creates an environment where we can focus on engaging learning approaches, debate, and explore student opinions and solutions.
    • Students are invited into every learning experience, from the local spelling bee to the Coriell Science Fair (where every student participates) to clubs, US-based and International class trips, theater and Model UN experiences. There are few, if any, prerequisites or conditions, beyond age appropriateness of the experience. Students who show interest, cooperation, and willingness to try are invited to participate.

Each and every student is known by the crossing guard to Head of School, teachers to Main Office staff. Through both formal initiatives (like our cross-grade mentoring program and Middle School team-building trip to Camp Dark Waters) and informal gatherings (an impromptu soccer game between Lower and Middle Schoolers), we also nurture student relationships across divisions and support students as they discover their unique contributions and value in our learning community.

Caring, Dedicated and High-Quality Teachers

Our teachers are committed to delivering a learning experience that meets HFS students where they are — in mind, body, and spirit. Together, our teachers bring over 225 years of career experience and training from leading independent schools across the world — from New England to New Jersey, Europe to Asia, Main Line to Philadelphia. HFS families consistently cite how well teachers, administration, and staff understand their students’ learning styles, strengths, opportunities, and interests, and how equally well our teachers translate this important information into engaging, innovative, and individualized instruction. Some examples of what this looks like at HFS:

  • Teachers actively seek to understand learning styles, interests, and motivators and strive to meet, engage, and challenge each student where s/he is. For example, in the Early Childhood Center, teachers reach out to parents before the start of the school year to ask for observations about their child’s personality, learning style, social-emotional development, and interests (academic or otherwise) and factor this into their lesson planning and classroom management.
  • Math Specialist available for support and enrichment
  • Teacher training/professional development
  • Student support

Flexible, Inquiry-Based Learning Experiences

A major benefit of our dedicated teachers and intimate class sizes is the ability to organically deliver flexible and inquiry-based learning experiences. Our students go beyond knowing the facts; they are active learners who refine their thinking through questions and discussion, investigation and project-based learning. This approach rings true throughout all grades at HFS, from our Early Childhood Center up through Lower and Middle Schools. Some examples of what this looks like at HFS:

  • Middle Schoolers debate current events and take field trips to area museums and environmental centers to complement their classroom lessons on bird migration and social justice issues. They utilize our location in the heart of downtown Haddonfield to expand on lessons – for example, students visited Inkwood Books, a local bookstore, to learn about how small businesses operate, and what challenges and opportunities they face. The 7th grade visits the Haddonfield Public Library weekly for research and reading during a portion of their Humanities class.
  • Lower School students raise their own Monarch butterflies to understand the science and beauty of the butterfly life cycle. This may then inspire students to learn more about Mexico (where hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies end their migration route every year), where they may then be inspired to learn about history, social justice issues, and design a community service project to help Mexican families in need.
  • Our youngest learners in the Early Childhood Center dive into theme-based multidisciplinary lessons on apples, germs, and fire prevention. For example, teachers may present a theme of the week (apples). They use this theme to learn different skills/subjects – science (cut the apple open to see its different parts), art (use the apple to dip into different color paints and stamp away!), math (count how many different color apples are on the page), pre-reading/writing, and then read several books about apples.
  • Students and parents appreciate the flexibility of the curriculum, where teachers start with a syllabus based on grade-level curriculum, but diverge from it to expand on various topics, develop more nuanced points, and to utilize deeper thought and critical thinking. Students can also steer the classroom discussion and content to suit their interests and learning styles and increase its relatability.

Focus on Community Service and Engagement

Whether designing and running a coat drive for children of immigrants, volunteering with several Camden County-based NGOs, taking a walk to a local ice cream shop in Downtown Haddonfield to deepen understanding of chemistry, or attending school on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to participate in community projects, our students are constantly engaging with, learning from and contributing productively to their communities. Inspired by our Quaker values, HFS strives to create numerous opportunities for students to internalize the importance of stewardship, community service, and engagement.

Our History

More than two centuries ago in 1786, several members of the Religious Society of Friends inaugurated the school in order to offer academic instruction in a setting that would honor Quaker values. Haddonfield Free School, as they named it, served the children of both Friends and non-Friends, and, in so doing, was the only “public” school in the borough for about 25 years.

In 1786, a one-room brick building on Haddon Avenue, adjacent to the Meeting burial ground, housed the school. Over the years this building has been greatly expanded to accommodate the growing enrollment. Additional classroom space has also been provided at the Meeting House, located on Friends Avenue directly behind the school.

For more than 230 years, Haddonfield Friends School continues to fill a community need as it “prepares joyful and inquisitive young minds to carry the light of authentic leadership, creative problem solving, and innovation in a diverse community of learners.”

In the spirit of the Society of Friends, the faculty and staff of Haddonfield Friends School view each child as a unique individual within the group and guide each toward achieving his or her potential, intellectually, and socio-emotionally. A strong community exists at Haddonfield Friends School. Students from all grades, youngest to oldest, engage with one another in various planned activities, and faculty and students together create an atmosphere of cooperation and respect in which all feel a sense of responsibility, worth, and safety.


Experience why our children are HAPPY to learn!