Central Study is the changing interdisciplinary theme that unites the PFS curriculum each year. This theme lies at the heart of our academic program, and is introduced in age-appropriate ways to every student in PreK through 8th grade. Chosen by the faculty each year, the theme aims to present the world to students through a particular lens, so that geography, history, science, literature, art, math, music classes and more become an integrated picture of human experience.
Sixth through eighth graders' Central Study instruction is rich, varied, and highly experiential. Teachers gather print and video resource materials, plan field trips and related activities, and develop coordinated units of study that support the theme’s broad concepts while developing essential skills in geography, map-reading and mapmaking, reading and listening for information, notetaking from readings, discussions, oral presentations, and films, gathering and evaluating sources, conducting research, critical thinking, and expository and creative writing. Projects are designed to provide students with multiple entry points into the material under study, and simulations and dramatic replay encourage them to inhabit for a time the lives and experiences of others. Within the context of each year’s theme, students receive instruction in important research skills that begin in the primary grades and increase in complexity over the years. Among many others, past themes include: Journeys, H2O, Food for Thought, Cultural Chemistry, Work & Play, and Voices.