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The Murphy-Jones Family, Friends School Haverford

Rose and Charlie are different kids, but this Wynnewood family found the perfect place for both of them in one school.

Melissa Murphy and Ben Samelson-Jones are products of public schools, and weren’t really expecting to send their kids, Rose and Charlie, to an independent school.


“But you kind of have to get to know your kids as they emerge as little people,” Melissa said. “You can have the best-laid plans, but they don’t always turn out as you expected.”


They cast a wide net. From their first visit to Friends School Haverford — which runs from nursery school through eighth grade — something felt a little different, she said.


“They have this social curriculum and they talk about a culture of kindness,” Melissa said. “They really emphasize not only the academics, but also the social and emotional side of the kids.”


Rose has some learning differences, Melissa said, and the family briefly worried that she and Charlie wouldn’t end up at the same school. But Friends School Haverford has been ideal for both children, she said.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful,” she said. “It’s far exceeded our expectations.”

Melissa and her husband also appreciate that the school has been intentional and serious about creating a diverse community for these young learners. The students are not only racially and religiously diverse, she said, but socioeconomically and neurologically diverse, too, and from a wide range of family structures, she said.


Here’s another example of what sets Friends School Haverford apart: When he was in preschool, Charlie was really into garbage, Melissa said. His teacher picked up on his focus and ended up teaching his whole class about recycling, garbage disposal, and our impact on the environment.


Rose, a 6-year-old first-grader, and Charlie, who’s 4 and in pre-kindergarten, can’t wait to get to school, she said. And because of the school’s Quaker-based social curriculum, they’re learning to be kind to one another, too.


“My kids come home, and they say ‘We have to take care of ourselves, we have to take care of each other, and we have to take care of the world,” Melissa said.

 “It’s so simple, but really profound. If those are the guiding principles of your life and you can take that out into the world, that’s a gift.”


Want to know more?
Visit Friends School Haverford online or join us at an open house this fall.

November 1 and December 5, 9 — 11 am


Photographs by Casey Kallen. 

Friends School Haverford is a private, Quaker elementary school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which educates students in Grades Nursery School through Eighth Grade.


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