Why a Quaker School?
Each Friends’ school has its own unique style and personality. However, they all have a common purpose: to provide a rich and rewarding education and to foster the ideals of community, spirituality, responsibility and stewardship. A hallmark of the Quaker school experience is that each child has unique gifts and talents.
Quaker education endeavors to be socially responsible. Friends’ schools curricula emphasize service, social action and experiential learning.
Students learn community, responsibility and stewardship by living it. Friends’ schools have a deep commitment to environmental sustainability and you will find eco-friendly policies being put into practice, not just discussed. The Quaker belief of the Inner Light, or that of God in each of us, creates an atmosphere of tolerance and openness. Students are led by example not only to respect the perspectives and talents of others in the community, but also to learn from them.
Attending a Quaker school, also known as a Friends School, can be extremely rewarding. Friends Schools are renowned for their open-mindedness and understanding, which are characteristics of the Quaker religion. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) embraces the principles of tolerance, equality and spirituality. Friends Schools reflect these philosophies in their classrooms creating a learning environment that is flexible, challenging and understanding.
Do I have to be a Quaker?
No you don’t. Nor do Quaker schools seek to convert others to the Friends religion. Quakers do not proselytize. In fact, they deeply value a diverse religious atmosphere: at most Friends schools Quakers make up only a small portion of the student body. Parents may wonder how Quakerism fits in with their own religious tradition if that tradition is not the Society of Friends. Parents of children who have attended a Friends school believe that the time spent in the Friends’ environment has helped their children to refine their own moral positions and to consider their spiritual roots.
Meeting for Worship
Students gather for Meeting for Worship (what might be called "chapel" elsewhere) and sit in silence. All those present are welcomed to stand and speak if they feel so moved or inspired. There is no minister or sermon. It is through this quiet reflection and communal sharing that people of all faith traditions can worship together.
The Quaker Testimonies: SPICES
The testimonies are the way we live what we believe. Quakers believe that God wants us to live as good people. Quakers try to do this in many ways, and the acronym SPICES is often accepted as a guide in schools.
SIMPLICITY - Quakers believe that if we are always trying to get better things, we can forget to be good people. Sometimes acquiring a lot of fancy things, clothes, and toys can get in the way of doing our work.
PEACE - Quakers believe that war and violence do not solve disagreements. These things only make people suffer. Quakers try to settle all their arguments without using weapons or words to hurt others. Quakers believe that world peace begins with each of us. Children in Quaker schools are taught the skills of non-violent conflict resolution.
INTEGRITY - Integrity means being truthful and trying always to do a good job. It means saying what we mean and meaning what we say.
COMMUNITY - Quakers believe that it is important to be a good neighbor, helpful to people around us. Building community takes many forms, including having fun with each other.
EQUALITY - Quakers believe there is that of God in everyone. Everyone is created equal. This means everyone has the same human rights and should be treated fairly. It also means we should treat people the way we want to be treated.
STEWARDSHIP - To live with simplicity and integrity, we need to do a good job taking care of the things we own and use. This means taking good care of the earth. Quakers believe it is important leave the world a better place.
Quakers have been and remain known as leaders of progressive social movements: education, pacifism, abolitionism, the equality of men and women, humane treatment for prisoners and the mentally ill, and the eradication of poverty.