A  coed Friends school, pre-K to 12, on 47 acres in East Falls, Philadelphia


Social Studies

We seek to make our nation and world — both past and present — more familiar, and to develop active global citizens who want to make a difference.

We strive to develop each student’s ability to think critically, form and defend individual opinions, and express personal thoughts clearly, concisely and powerfully through the written word.

“Graduates from our Middle School have examined, explored and critically thought about how human history has impacted the way our world works creating a base understanding that will allow for more learning and revelation to occur.” Josh Oberfield, Social Studies teacher

Key Characteristics

Students are exposed to the methods, vocabulary, and skills related to the fields of history, geography and civics. In each course, students make connections and explore how the past impacts the present, how culture influences perspective, how ideas lead to change, and how systems and place impact the way people live, work, resolve problems and grow as a society. Through interactive lessons, projects, trips and speakers, students are immersed in critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, all of which are prioritized over the memorization of facts. Overall, we seek to develop each student’s ability to think critically, articulate opinions, and express thoughts clearly, concisely, and powerfully. 

The curriculum guides students on a journey of learning about history that gives them a better understanding of the past and also orients their perspective on the present and future. Having students "do history" through critical thinking, inquiry and analysis will be more important than the memorization of facts.

Curricular Highlights

Food Insecurity study. This sixth-grade capstone project is a hallmark of interdisciplinary and project-based learning. Students learn about various related issues (i.e. nutrition, food deserts, SNAP, and the role of nonprofits) and connect with local organizations to create a deeper understanding through real-life learning experiences.

Research skills. Students practice foundational research skills, including locating and evaluating sources and paraphrasing information, as they explore in-depth topics related to world religions, countries, and current issues. 

Real-world exploration. Students use observation skills, make meaningful connections with place and history, and are exposed to various forms of art and architecture as a way of understanding historical events. In seventh grade, students explore various sites in Historic Germantown and a downtown scavenger hunt to connect with places of interest in local neighborhoods. Eighth graders have visited the Constitution Center and Washington, D.C. to support the Civics curriculum by promoting a better understanding of the branches of government and federalism. 


“I was immediately introduced to the innovative, creative and engaging way students are taught Social Studies at Penn Charter. Not only have I learned much about our country's history and about the varying cultures across our world, but I also have learned valuable lessons that have helped me and will continue to guide me as I enter the Upper School.” Darcy Felter, Class of 2022