A Friends School Education
More than three centuries ago, the Religious Society of Friends--known informally as Quakers--established Friends schools in order to provide an educational environment in which the spirit of each child was recognized and uplifted by a community of learners. Since then, Friends schools have maintained a tradition of quality education, offering nurturing environments in which children encounter rigorous intellectual challenges, acquire requisite academic skills, discover outlets for playfulness and creativity, and develop values necessary to act in the world in socially responsible ways.
Since its founding in 1994, Friends School of Wilmington has been recognized for its experiential academic program, its strong sense of community, and its rootedness in the essential Quaker principles of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship--known within Friends circles as the Quaker SPICES. In the tradition of Quakers, FSW does not seek to proselytize or convert others to follow the Quaker faith. Rather, it is our goal to encourage each student to seek “the Light within” and develop a discipline of reflection. Our focus on universally-held values (SPICES) means that students with a wide variety of religious backgrounds--or none at all--will feel honored and respected here at Friends.
Meeting for Worship
Meeting for Worship is the Quaker tradition of sitting together in silence and in the spirit of expectant waiting. This practice lies at the heart of the FSW experience. Through weekly Meetings for Worship, students learn to use mindfulness as a tool for active reflection. The Head of School, a teacher, or a student will often set the tone for the meeting by reading a story or poem, or by simply posing a question--known in Quaker circles as a “query”--to help the community come together around a common theme. While silence may continue throughout the period of worship, an individual may also feel compelled to speak out of the silence in order to express whatever has come to the mind or heart. FSW’s Meeting for Worship generally closes with community singing.
The Quaker Peace Testimony, rooted in the belief “that of God” exists in everyone, has led the way for decades in teaching conflict resolution to young people. It is understood among Friends that no single individual holds “the truth;” that “either/or” thinking is often limited in scope and imagination; and that through deep listening and respectful discourse, solutions may be discovered or generated that serve the community best. FSW introduces this thought process with our youngest children when tensions between students occur, and as students move through each grade level, they are taught strategies for peer mediation and peaceful resolution. In keeping with the Quaker testimonies of peace, respect, and equality, these practices are utilized by every member of the FSW community, both young and old.
To Learn More...
To gain a deeper understanding of Quakerism in general, and the Wilmington Monthly Meeting in particular, you may want to:
- Attend Meeting for Worship at Wilmington Friends Meeting (WFM) on any Sunday at 10:00AM.
- Attend Meeting for Worship at Friends School on one of the Sundays when FSW invites WFM to worship at the Longleaf Center on campus. These are typically on the third Sundays in October and March.
- Learn more about Quaker organizations like Friends Council on Education, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and American Friends Service Committee, as well as Quaker retreat centers like Pendle Hill.