Why OFS?

Founded in 1999 to serve students who learn differently, Orchard Friends School provides a safe, nurturing community and a multi-sensory instructional program, an ideal environment in which to learn.  Because we believe that it is as important to educate each of our students, we strive to foster connections between our school and our community.  Here’s what makes us different:


Because language is at our core
Language is integrated throughout the day; our Speech Pathologist works within the classrooms and in conjunction with the teachers. Teachers are trained in programs which are designed to enhance language development.

Bring out the best in each child
OFS strives to instill in each member of the community the practice of respecting and caring for each other.  Teachers and staff celebrate the students’ accomplishments, and students take pride in each others’ successes.

Conflict resolution
At Orchard Friends students are taught to resolve problems with their mouths, not their fists. Teachers mediate to help students work out their disagreements. They see the importance of taking the time to help students problem solve social situations. Orchard Friends utilizes a “Rose & Thorn” method as a litmus test for each child’s day. Furthermore, our entire staff helps students identify how their words and actions affect others and encourages those students to participate in non-violent activities.

Learning differences, not disabilities
Our teachers and specialists consider all avenues of learning (sensory, teaching style, hands-on activities, etc.) to help each child identify how he/she learns best.  Orchard Friends students are taught how to become advocates for themselves.

Peer relationships
Through cooperative games at recess, clubs, intimate lunch tables, and hands-on activities, students are provided with countless opportunities to develop positive peer relationships.

Everyone contributes
Many of our students initially prefer to blend in rather than participate. We teach the value of speaking up, trying new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to achieve a goal.

Community learning
Parents are just as important to children’s progress as the teachers and specialists working with them. Orchard Friends uses The Apple newsletter, presentations, the Log Book, e-mail, and other tools to educate and inform our students’ parents. We  have sponsored high-profile presentations (Jed Baker, Rick Lavoie, Mel Levine, Edward “Ned” Hallowell, Shonda Schilling) at no cost to participants.

Immersion in activities
Field trips, hands-on projects, and special assemblies help students to examine topics from multiple perspectives.

Learn more about Our Mission and Philosophy