Friends School Haverford as a Quaker School
Friends School Haverford is a Friends (Quaker) school and welcomes students and families of all religious and humanistic traditions. The School was founded by Haverford Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in 1885. From the earliest days, Meeting members, community members who sympathized with Friends educational ideals, and families associated with Haverford College sought to provide a Friends elementary school in the community.
The essential belief of the Religious Society of Friends is that each person has “that of God” within them. Friends call this the “inner light.” This belief naturally leads us to treat one another with respect and appreciation. Our School community is enhanced by the differences that we bring as well as our commonalities. Quakers appreciate the “search for truth” and believe that this orientation is deeply compatible with education. In weekly Meeting for Worship, the community gathers in quiet reflection and shares spoken messages. The community focuses on values that are associated with Quakers and shared by many people.
We strive to be, in the Quaker phrase, a community of “Seekers after Truth.” The values, or testimonies, that comprise our mission are:
Community: As a small school, we know each other well as teachers and students and help each other to meet our daily challenges. Partner classes pair older and younger children to learn from each other. Parents are closely involved in the life of the School, contributing their talents and interests in myriad ways. We value our ties to Haverford Friends Meeting and the surrounding neighborhood.
Integrity: We teach children to be truthful, to be proud of themselves and their work, to respect themselves, and to respect all humankind and the earth.
Equality: We reflect the Quaker belief that the spirit of God is present in every person, and thus, each human being is of worth and potential. We encourage the use of consensus in decision-making. We welcome families of all religions, believing that we may all learn from the experiences and discoveries of traditions other than our own.
Simplicity: We help each member of our School community to focus his or her energies on what the spirit calls each of us to do, free from the clutter of excessive distractions. We encourage simplicity in dress and discourage excess in any area.
Stewardship: We help our community understand the interconnections of all life by caring for our campus and creating habitats for wildlife. We seek to ‘walk lightly’ on the earth.
Peace: We devote time and effort to developing conflict resolution skills in all of our students. Our teachers have developed and refined a successful model for peaceful problem solving adaptable to all classrooms, and children are encouraged to use it from the earliest ages.
Service: We believe in giving our time, talents, and energy to the community. From our youngest preschoolers to our graduating eighth graders, every child in every class participates in projects throughout the year that help others.