The themes of Fifth Grade are challenge, fun, and relationships. Each student grows to know himself or herself as a learner, with varied routes for such learning embedded in the curriculum. Fifth Grade adventures are both in and out of the class, taking their learning on the road with field trips and an exchange program that enrich class themes and in class with discoveries in social studies, math, and language arts. Students are asked to make connections between in class and out of class learning, to reflect on how each piece of learning connects to a greater picture, and to see how they can play a role in shaping or changing the trends that they note. Fifth Grade studies in geography, civil rights and government, food, water, and sustainability, refugees, migrants, and economics, Aztecs and Mexico lead students to greater critical thinking. Students do not just learn facts; they find systems and meaning.  A class goal is for Fifth Graders to become students of the world and lifelong learners, people who ask questions and wonder and seek to explore possibilities. With literature and listening books, formal research projects, creative writing, reflective journals, and letter-writing, students have great opportunities to challenge themselves in their thinking and academics. Students are asked to be problem solvers on a daily basis. Students are guided and supported to be thinkers and communicators, open-minded and principled, and reflective and caring.

Area of Study


The three components of the Fifth Grade math curriculum””computation, concepts and confidence””spring from the Math In Focus curriculum and its consistent lesson structure that builds understanding with concrete-pictorial-abstract learningLearn more.

Language Arts

While they are their own entities, Language Arts and Social Studies are interwoven and often integrated in the Fifth Grade curriculum, as class literature is connected directly to the Social Studies themes. Learn more.

Social Studies

Fifth Grade reminds children that exploration of the world is an adventure. Through discussion, in-class and long-term research projects, field trips, and readings, students learn about the world with a geographical focus on North America, and how we need to care for the earth and its peoples. Learn more.


The rich Fifth Grade curriculum takes place in the context of relationships strengthened over time. Learn more.

Compost Stewardship: a Fifth Grade Central Experience

Fifth Grade students are responsible for all aspects of the school-wide composting program. Students prepare and deliver lessons in composting for each class at PMFS, manage each class’ compost, and maintain the compost bin at the school. Students not only evaluate and adapt ecological concepts of decomposers, they concurrently live the Quaker testimony of stewardship of their environment.

Mexican Exchange Program

Pennsylvania (two weeks hosting) & Cuernavaca (two weeks) – Fifth Graders participate in intercultural exchange program with students from Colegio Williams de Cuernavaca; the program is now in its 51st year. Students from each school take turns traveling, living with a host family, and being immersed in the daily life of another culture for two weeks. While forging lifelong connections, this unique fifth grade program successfully challenges children to permanently view themselves and the world differently. As guests, students notice similarities, view and celebrate differences, and differentiate trends from isolated happenings. Students grow as hosts too, as they identify and develop life skills such as empathy and putting someone else’s needs first. PMFS prepares students for this exchange throughout their years at school, from Spanish classes that steadily increase a child’s communicative abilities, to art classes that celebrate Mexican culture, to an intentional series of overnights. Find out more about the Mexican Exchange Program