Delaware Valley Friends, a small Quaker school in Paoli for students with learning differences, will add a lower-school program in the fall.

The private, college-prep school announced Wednesday that it will add third and fourth grade to help younger students.

With the addition of those grades, Delaware Valley will become the only Friends school in the Philadelphia area for students from elementary through high school who learn differently.

The school, which opened in 1987, currently has 173 students from fifth through 12th grades. It began its fifth-grade program in the fall with eight students.

School officials said research shows that children with learning disabilities, including dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, achieve greater long-term success when they receive help early.

"I have seen firsthand the incredible impact our program has on students and families in the middle and upper school," said Jason Seggern, middle-school director, who will also oversee the new lower-school division. "I am thrilled that we will be able to share our educational expertise with a new set of students and families in the lower school."

Delaware Valley offers small classes and rigorous academics with an arts program, athletics, and community-service projects.

Spokeswoman Lisa Howell said the school expects to add a combined third- and fourth-grade classroom with approximately 10 students in the fall. The class will be staffed by a teacher and an assistant.

Howell said that trustees have not yet set tuition for 2017-18 but that the rate for third and fourth graders will be similar to what other area schools for students with learning differences charge for elementary grades.

This year tuition is $36,950 for middle school and $38,500 for high school.

martha.woodall@phillynews.com 215-854-2789 @marwooda