Quakers are humble. Quakers are thoughtful.
Most students, parents, and teachers at Carolina Friends School are not Quaker. We follow varied religious traditions or none at all, but our identity as a Friends School is central to who we are. Quakers believe in the ability of each individual to become their best self, the power of community, and the importance of acting for the greater good. We are secular, inclusive, and deeply guided by Quaker values
The philosophy of Carolina Friends School is reflected in the following beliefs, which are rooted in the tenets of the Religious Society of Friends:
At Carolina Friends School, we use the following queries, or reflective questions, to empower us to keep the school’s philosophy at the forefront of our community interactions.
- How do I listen, speak, and act in a way that respects others? How do I engage with humility, integrity, vulnerability, and openness to transformation?
- How do I listen, speak, and act in a way that moves the process forward and benefits the community? How do I demonstrate my commitment to the good of the whole?
- How do I listen, speak, and act in a way that shows respect and care for others even when I disagree with what is being said? How do I honor that which connects us, even in difficult situations?
- How do I listen, speak, and act with accountability to CFS’ mission and philosophy? How do I share and receive feedback with grace, and engage in restoration when necessary?
Of course, for many of us, ‘education’ has come to mean a scramble for information, which leads to grades, which lead to a diploma, which leads to a job. There are too many educational institutions where truth is not the point! Perhaps the image of a ‘meeting for learning’ will remind us of forgotten depths in the educational process, just as the silent meeting for worship once stood as a rebuke to ways of worship which put the human before the divine. Parker Palmer, educator, author, activist
What is Quakerism?
The Religious Society of Friends began in mid-seventeenth century England as a Christian group focused on the “Inner Light” of each individual, empowering direct personal spiritual experience without creeds, doctrine, or clergy.
While there are no set beliefs in Quakerism, you will often see a common group of goals, called testimonies: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship (SPICES). These testimonies are threads in the larger organic life of Quaker query and practice: to ask important questions in order to discern what actions are motivated by those questions. This requires reflection, mindfulness, and a balancing of the inner self and outer world.
What is Quaker Education?
The first Quaker school in America was founded in 1682, and today there are about 80 across the country as well as many in the rest of the world, from Australia to Costa Rica. While each school is different, they are guided by common principles. According to the Friends Council on Education:
“Quaker education does not seek to inculcate a particular set of beliefs or doctrines; it seeks to nurture a particular sort of personhood - a person who knows deep down that sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing are not all there are to life; a person who, in an age of rampant materialism, has first-hand experience of the reality and importance of the Spirit in life; a person rooted as much in the unseen as in the seen, as much in the spiritual as in the physical; a person who has a capacity for reverence, and who is as well equipped to experience the Spirit as to do work in the world.”
Discover how our Quaker values inspire us to learn and live with purpose.
We use this Quaker practice of shared silence as a meaningful way to make oneself present in the moment, focus or redirect attention, and create a shared energy and sense of intention with a community.
Quaker Meeting is a gathering of community where Friends sit together in reflective silence and, if they feel led, to share an insight, concern, or experience with the group. In our school, we use a Meeting practice that is open to everyone, regardless of faith or belief practice, as a powerful tool for spiritual growth that is central to the life of our learning community.