Aims of Quaker Education
A Friends school hopes to offer a community that cares deeply about what kind of persons its members, young and old, are becoming, what goals and motives are effective in their lives, what their response is to the high calling of being human.
They hope to be communities of those who have not only techniques and knowledge, but also a vivid relationship to reality, a commitment to social justice, a passion for truth, and the experience of growth into goodness together.
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 has first-hand experience of the reality and importance of the truth in life. A person that can hear all voices but trust their own. A person who is tolerant and can accept the fundamental differences between us while still finding a constructive path with those we disagree with.
Quaker education represents a unique combination of academic excellence and moral development.
Friends education strives to be socially responsible. Peace and war, racism and brotherhood, ignorance and poverty, injustice and law, violence and nonviolence--all these are both subjects for study and issues for commitment for students as they seek to become effective citizens.
International Friends School emphasizes the development of a caring community, peaceful resolution of conflict, and service to others, especially those less fortunate. Friends have a long tradition of putting love into action.
Stewardship means taking care of what we have been offered in this world and safe-guarding it for now, but also for the humanity to follow us. At International Friends, children practice the testimony of Stewardship every day by actively taking care of our garden, our classrooms, and the environment both close and far, far away. We recycle our paper towels into new pulp/paper for the art studio and we make our own skin products out of precious tropical seeds like Shea and Kokum. Whatever we sell is donated to non-profits fighting deforestation in areas of peril.
Are we really generous with what we have to give?
Do we seek opportunities to use our gifts to help others?
How can I help in a collective society when I really just want my own needs met?
- "Unless someone like you, Cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better ;It's not" - Dr. Seuss
- "All things are connected. We did not weave the web of life. We are but a strand in it. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the people of the earth." - Chief Seattle
Integrity means being utterly true to oneself..so that one's inward and outward self strive towards equilibrium.
How do I do the right thing even though no one is watching me?
What do I do when I see someone happen that I know is wrong?
Do we stand firm when an ethical principle is challenged?
- "Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you" - H. Jackson Brown Jr.
- "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters" - Albert Einstein
Friends renounce war and violence and we seek to understand and eliminate the causes for war and violence such as ignorance, racism and poverty. Our youngest of learners become practiced at solving conflict through dialogue. Integrating the perspective of others into this critical conversation and using discernment while making decisions is something we work on everyday.
But what do I do when I get really, really frustrated and mad?
How do I practice forgiveness when someone has said or done things to hurt me?
- "My religion is kindness" - The Dalai Lama
- "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" - Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
- "Peace is not a distant goal that we seek but the means by which we arrive at that goal" - Martin Luther King Jr.
The Quaker Testimony of Equality asks that we give and receive the same care, respect and compassion for one another within our community. It also means that we do not turn a blind eye when issues of inequality are right outside of our doorstep. Observing, discussing and understanding issues of equality and justice are a critical part of our curriculum at IFS, beginning with the youngest of learners.
How do we know what prejudices we might have?
When things aren't the same, how can they be fair?
How can I understand why people do what they do?
- "In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice....the path of faith...the path of hope, and the path of love towards our fellow man" - Franklin D. Roosevelt
- "One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself." - Malcolm X
We believe in collectivist communities where we care deeply about each other. In our community, you can have your own needs met, but you also need to be sure that others in your community are also having their needs met. This is why we have jobs and positions that we hold each day to nurture a culture of contribution. Our after-school program invites children from the local community to attend our play, music, art and language classes with our enrolled after-school students.
What are the needs of our community, especially for the children like us?
How do I contribute something of myself?
- "Alone we can do so little, Together we can do so much" - Helen Keller
- “Perhaps community is a constellation. Each one of us is a light in the emerging collective brightness. A constellation of light has the greater power of illumination than any single light would have on its own. Together we increase brightness.”- John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes