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Welcome to Chapin Where high academic expectations and strong community values play equal roles in your child’s development. Where the door is always open to a little more time from the teacher. Where the commitment to developing inquisitive and independent thinkers in the comfort of a Pre-K – Grade 8 setting is steadfast. Where children’s character takes root and flourishes. And where, when Chapin students arrive at that final day of eighth grade, they step forward with confidence…ready for the challenges that await, eager for discoveries that are theirs for the making.

“It’s kind of like Chapin is showing me a staircase. They’re not forcing me to step up too fast. And they help me if I fall along the way. But I know I’m going to make it up there.” —Grade 8 student

“From the first couple of days I was at Chapin, I was welcomed by my teachers and peers with open arms and hearts. I soon learned that Chapin was a place where education, friendship, and family all came together.” —Chapin graduate


As spacious and open as the imaginations within, classrooms bubble over with ideas and inquiry, creativity and collaboration Grounded in solid, positive relationships among teachers and students at all grade levels, a Chapin education is richly textured with opportunities to explore, to stretch, to aim high. It is marked at every turn with the promise of emerging interests and passions. Chapin parents who have observed their children’s growth and development from grade to grade know they are more than prepared for the rigors and expectations of the most competitive secondary schools. As supportive partners in their children’s education, they witness extraordinary transformations from youngsters finding their way into independent learners and thinkers who become their own best advocates.

“Genetics has become one of my greatest interests, one I have pursued with extracurricular study; and if it hadn’t been for my seventh grade science teacher who nurtured my budding intrigue, I wouldn’t have sought these opportunities.” —Chapin graduate

“One of the characteristics of highly successful people in any field is a deep and abiding passion for what they do... .When we give children numerous opportunities to take a risk, to try something new, to pursue a passion, we give them a gift with lifetime rewards.” —Headmaster “I remember in sixth grade English class we could go outside and take our books and find a comfortable spot to sit quietly, and read. It felt peaceful. It was amazing to know that I could be with a lot of kids in my grade and that it could be so serene at the same time.” —Grade 8 student

True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own. —Nikos Kazantzakis

“In their earliest years, children

“Chapin has helped me not just

are a part of a small village at-

be another face in the room.

mosphere. While students in the

Chapin has helped me have my

upper grades find themselves a bit

own personality and has taught

farther flung across the campus,

me the importance of being

they remain as connected to their

yourself. Being you.”

Lower School teachers and as

—Chapin graduate

known as when they were little.” —Head of Lower School

every child

Every child is known

The growth and development of younger students forms Chapin’s core. In this small, close-knit community, relationships are built to last. They are forged early among teachers and students, carried up through the grades and across the campus. Encouragement and support extend from teachers to students, and from older children to younger who, in turn, look to their older classmates as role models.

Every child has a voice

Integrating children of every grade with members of the faculty and staff, Chapin’s Family Groups provide a monthly circle in which all ages are heard, all views are respected, and all members can learn from one another throughout the year. When they are engaged in a group game, discussing a virtue of the month, or planning and carrying out a special activity, they work it out together.

Every child writes a different story

Whether through the language of poetry, or of equations, or pastels and paper, Chapin’s students write their own unique stories chapter by chapter, year by year. From their earliest days through graduation, the wide variety of ideas and interests available to explore may just blossom into a passion that later becomes a career. And their stories? To be continued…

The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Like two strands that twist together

Chapin’s twin goals—academic advancement and character development—are fully integrated within the daily words and actions of students and faculty. And fueling both are the Chapin virtues. More than words, more than theory, the virtues are the connective tissue binding together our curriculum and culture, helping every member of our community make positive choices that in turn lead to greater potential in learning.






Always in mind when students need them, Chapin’s five virtues are as timeless as the wisdom revealed in age-old tales. Bearing witness to that timelessness, they transform seamlessly into the building blocks of 21st century “soft skills” like positive attitudes, problem solving, and collaboration that are utterly fundamental to future achievement. The virtues provide a foundation on which students express their emerging recognition that responding to the needs of others—for instance, through our community service initiatives—is as fundamental to their lives as academic success.

Character is doing what is right when nobody is looking. —J.C. Watts

“I see the five virtues lived out on each athletic team, where students exhibit honesty, respect for other players, and sportsmanship. Area schools often comment on the exemplary behavior of our students.” —Athletic Director

“We talk about how we learn from mistakes, and how we learn more from our failures and disappointments than from our easy successes. We encourage students to be open to every possibility and opportunity.” —Headmaster

“Chapin is giving my child more than a great academic education; it’s also preparing her for the real world with the Character Development Program and the self-confidence she now has.” —Chapin parent

“They should be making mistakes, falling down and bruising their knees, those things that are a part of a child growing up.” —Headmaster

Play is the highest form of research.

—Albert Einstein

We still celebrate childhood

Chapin’s academic program challenges students daily. And to provide the necessary physical and mental balance to the students’ diligence in the classroom, recess matters here. Every day our students—including the eighth graders—get their muscles moving, their minds cleared, and their hearts pumping for twenty blissful minutes as they scramble up a beloved, tree-shaded statue, dive for the ball on the beach volleyball court, or play good, old-fashioned games of tag. I’ll huff and I’ll puff…It’s a celebration of fairy tales in the Pre-K class. Dressed up as perhaps a queen, or a king, or even, yes, the big, bad wolf, Chapin’s youngest children aren’t just listening to timeless stories, they ARE the stories! Shoebox dioramas they constructed themselves allow them to set the scene. Would you pass the sandwiches, please? Napkins on their laps and smiles on their faces, the girls proudly wear their red-ribboned hats and the boys their Chapin-red bowties. They talk quietly as tea pours into their cups and finger sandwiches pass to the gentle sounds of a violinist. A kindergarten tea party is a special treat for the children, yet it also grounds them in valuable skills such as politeness, manners, and respect.

Curiosity is a launch pad…

Visiting the annual Curriculum Fair? Prepare to be fascinated. You might learn about the benefits of animal therapy for people with depression, or what event led to the formation of the U.S. Secret Service, or about new technologies to address climate change. Equipped with the confidence that comes from thorough research, Upper School students greet their visitors with poise as they present their chosen subjects.

Doing math by the numbers, or not…

Eighth graders put their heads together to better understand mathematical concepts. Encouraged by their classroom’s collaborative atmosphere, some of them will arrive at the conclusion via numeric calculation while others show how they got there with a narrative route, and still others use a flow chart to illustrate the problem’s steps. By welcoming and airing multiple approaches, the students end up reinforcing concepts through their own respectful conversations.

…and Rube Goldberg himself would cheer

What do you get when you mix the study of physics and engineering with unlimited imaginations and a focus on collaboration? An intensive Upper School team project whose multiple parts crank, whir, and spin with precision. Cooperating to calculate the mechanical efficiency of their designs, translate ideas into working machines, and document the entire process, the team members themselves become the working parts of their own remarkable invention.

“Chapin provides a top-notch education, with dedicated faculty, stimulating curriculum, and support for children and teens to accomplish their goals and dreams in life.” —Chapin parent

“It is important that students take ownership of their learning.

“We realized we were in love

They are active in the process

with Chapin when we came to

through such projects as the

the Open House on Curricu-

Curriculum Fair. Gathering

lum Fair Day. We remember

information with the guidance

walking around and talking

of their teachers, they become

with the sixth, seventh and

masters of the subject they are

eighth grade students about


their projects. We couldn’t

—Head of Upper School

believe how composed they were.They were articulate and they really looked at you. They were proud of what they had done, and that’s what convinced us that Chapin was a different kind of place.” —Chapin parent

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. —Margaret Mead—

“I started here in kindergarten, but my younger sister got to start in Pre-K so she gets to be a ‘lifer.’ I wish my mom knew about Chapin when I was going

“Chapin will help make you into the best person you can be and you’ll feel like a new person by the end of the year.” —Chapin student

into Pre-K. I’ve learned to love learning. Chapin has shown me a lot of good academic habits, and also how to be a good person and to be respected and trusted, to be known to be someone. I’m excited for eighth grade, and even though I know I’ll miss my teachers and the friends I’ve made here, I’m also excited for new experiences that I’ll have in the future.” —Grade 7 student

being known

Getting outside the comfort zone

From high ropes challenges to rugged adventures in the Adirondacks, Chapin’s outdoor education trips challenge students to reach deep within to find strengths they never knew they had. Northwest New Jersey’s Camp Mason becomes a “Chapin away from Chapin” for sixth through eighth graders as each year’s trip offers progressively more challenges that culminate in three days of living in the wilderness. “The trips are educational, but still really, really fun and exhilarating.”

—Chapin student

Some learning experiences are a little…splashy

When a highly anticipated annual white water rafting trip on the Lehigh River fell on a cold, rainy day one year, the seventh graders plunged right in. Chilly temperatures challenged them to keep cold-handed grips on their oars as they steadied their rafts over choppy, rain-pelted waves. And what did they find when they arrived at their destination? That the cooperation and perseverance that helped them finish can take them on any journey they might encounter.

…and sometimes you make a splash on stage

Sixty students strong and many months in the making, Oklahoma! brought together the quiet and the spotlight-ready alike for the magic of theater. Of course, the real magic emerged from the shared commitment to getting it right, down to the last do-si-do. And as the musical’s closing notes gave way to cheers from the audience and beaming faces on stage, pride and joy mingled over a job well done.

“The idea with the outdoor education trips is to open their eyes to what they can do before they go off to high school. Confronted with tough decisions, tough challenges, they come back with an appreciation for not only the advantages they have in their everyday lives, but also for what they realize they are capable of in unfamiliar situations.” —Head of Upper School

“The teachers will guide students toward success and independence. Everyone is challenged here as a student, whether they are in on-level or advanced level classes.

Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1768

A lot of kids discover they are interested in and good at art, music, or drama here at Chapin and go on to pursue the arts in high school and college. It helps to start here.” —Grade 8 student

“You really can get help from your teachers. I was struggling a little in math this year, with trigonometry. I went to my teacher and I talked to him and he helped me figure out what I needed to work on to understand it. Now I understand.” —Grade 8 student

More is expected here A full embrace of the fine and performing arts, world language study, and interscholastic athletics is essential to preparing our students for selective high schools and colleges. All Chapin students are exposed to a well-rounded arts and humanities education. And those who participate in Chapin’s noted interscholastic athletic program are well prepared for the long-standing traditions of many regional and national independent high schools.

Connecting today to tomorrow When strong relationships establish the culture of a place, something special happens. Relationships built on direct and warm communication, and on genuine and thoughtful gestures really do make a difference. A strong connection with at least one teacher is critical to students’ growth into lifelong learning. That rapport helps students to establish their passions as budding mathematicians, physicians, musicians, writers, and teachers themselves.

“We never sit back on our successes. We are constantly looking at things to improve, to evolve as teachers and in our programs. When we talk about kids being lifelong learners, we know that model has to come from the faculty.” —Head of Lower School

“Chapin is helping mold strong, self-confident young adults one step at a time.” —Chapin parent

Students make the most of who they are today and lay the foundation for who they will be tomorrow

Chapin’s Mission

Chapin School is dedicated to the belief that lifelong habits of the mind and heart are formed in the elementary and middle school years. Chapin provides a richly textured education that inspires academic achievement and builds strength of character. Within a diverse, caring, and supportive community, we prepare our students to meet the future with skill, confidence, determination, and generosity of spirit.

Chapin’s Philosophy

At Chapin, we believe that students learn best in a supportive, encouraging and diverse community. Chapin shares a commitment to each child’s academic, emotional, ethical, creative, physical, and social development. In small classes that promote active learning, dedicated faculty create environments where critical thinking, effective communication, creativity, and curiosity flourish. Encountering challenges that lead to success, students develop a positive sense of self. A strong commitment to Chapin’s five virtues (Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Kindness, and Perseverance) fosters an environment for character development that complements our academic programs.

how to apply Parents are encouraged to visit the school prior to applying. n Apply online. n Submit necessary documents. n Student visits the school. n Notification of decision.

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4101 Princeton Pike Princeton, NJ 08540 Phone: 609-986-1702 Fax: 609-924-2364

Pre-K – Grade 8


Chapin School Viewbook  

Spiral bound viewbook with inside back pocket for supplemental insert brochures. Mailed in a clear envelope.

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