In an educational setting this means three things:
Everyone matters. Quaker pedagogy insists that we care for each other as a community, hearing and respecting everyone’s voice, and making sure that school is a safe place for every child.
Silence matters. A practice of reflection and inquiry is essential to living a life of meaning and purpose. In a busy world, these skills are often overlooked. At Moses Brown, we all make time to reflect, to be thoughtful, and to ask probing questions.
Truth matters. For more than two centuries, MB has fostered in students a foundation of personal integrity and respect for others, including the non-violent resolution of conflict and a desire to make a positive difference in the world.
Quakerism was founded in the 1600’s by English people seeking a religious community based on equality rather than hierarchy. Today, Quakerism—also known as the Religious Society of Friends—thrives in small, strong communities that believe in the dignity and worth of every person; this ‘Inner Light’ compels Quakers to value community, non-violence, integrity, and respect for all.
The central practice of Friends is meeting for worship, an extended period of shared silence and reflection. Open to all, Meeting invites participants to reflect inwardly and, if so moved, to share a message with the community. Meeting is part of the school week for every child, from nursery through twelfth grade, and is an essential touchstone for students. Upon returning to Moses Brown, many alumni cite it as one of the most cherished aspects of their MB experience, and long for this ingrained cultural respect for reflection and introspection.
For over 300 years, these beliefs and practices have placed Quakers at the forefront of education with an unwavering commitment to giving and being one’s personal best. Students learn to respect themselves and others, and demonstrate that respect by doing good work and serving other people.
While most students at Quaker schools come from many different religious traditions, or none at all, the values of Quakerism encourage and guide them every day to do and be their best.
In addition to these weekly practices, the central values of Quakerism—simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship—are woven into every subject and every class.
SPICES, An Acronym for Quaker Values
Simplicity: Does the way I spend my time help me make the best possible contributions to my school? How might I live with more simplicity?
Peace: How can I nurture peace within myself, my community, and the world? How can I settle disputes with sensitivity for all involved?
Integrity: How do my interactions with other people reflect my values?
Community: How do I make our community a welcoming, respectful, and caring place?
Equality: How can I speak up and take kind action when I see injustices? How do I build relationships with people whose backgrounds differ from mine?
Stewardship: How do I care for ‘learning, people, and place?’ How do I help others recognize and use their gifts?