Quaker Education

Lower School students walking up to the Meetinghouse, taken from a side angle

What is Quaker Education?

Families send their children to Friends because they know Quaker education goes beyond academic excellence; we recognize each child’s unique identity, teach them to see the world as it is, and then give them the tools to remake the world as it should be.

The hallmarks of a Quaker education are:

  • Inquiry, reflection, and action
  • Valuing the challenge of competing ideas
  • Respectful listening and peaceful conflict resolution
  • Valuing and embracing the diversity of cultures and religions
  • Working for the good of society; service learning
  • Acting courageously in alignment with core moral beliefs

We provide students with a unique set of skills to lead, listen, reflect, and see good in others. Our students walk through the world with a sense of responsibility for the communities in which they live.

At the heart of Quaker philosophy is the fundamental belief that a divine Light resides within every individual, fostering a deep respect for the inherent worth of all people. 

Director of Quaker Life Anna Melville '01 surrounded by Lower School students on the stairs outside

Director of Quaker Life, Anna Melville '01, works cross-divisionally to encourage students, faculty, and staff to understand the principles of Quakerism. 

What is Meeting for Worship?

Meeting for Worship is a distinguishing aspect of a Friends education. Students and adults gather each week in the Stony Run Friends Meetinghouse, where they settle into silence, sometimes sharing their thoughts and observations with the group, other times using this time to pause to reflect, refresh, or decompress.

The Quaker Testimonies

The Quaker Testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship, referred to as the SPICES, are the principles by which a Quaker's outer life becomes an expression of their inner light.

  • SIMPLICITY - A focus on what is important rather than material distractions. 

  • PEACE - Kindness; gentleness; non-violent resolution of conflict.

  • INTEGRITY - Honesty; being true to oneself.

  • COMMUNITY - Welcome and inclusion, taking care of one another.

  • EQUALITY - Fairness and valuing each other’s gifts.

  • STEWARDSHIP - Taking care of what we have and a focus on serving others.

"Our task is to raise seekers who will still be seeking in 20 years. We need to not interrupt their process with our answers." - Rebecca Richards


  • First exposure to Meeting for Worship at the Meetinghouse

  • Moments of silence for their bodies and thoughts

  • SPICES reflected in daily Morning Worship

  • Faith and Play stories to introduce the Quaker concepts and SPICES

SHINING LIGHT: Children increase their sensitivity to their heart and mind’s emotions so they can respond to hurt with empathy; students learn to hold others in the Light: holding someone in our thoughts or hearts when they are experiencing a difficult time in their lives

Middle School

  • Weekly Meeting for Worship

  • Advisory-based orientation to MFW and Quaker history and practices for all sixth-grade students

  • Curriculum in development for conflict resolution, decision-making, and activism units in seventh and eighth grades

SHINING LIGHT: Seventh graders clerk their English classes—they partner with the teacher to design and implement the day’s agenda; student leaders are communally selected rather than chosen through voting; plenty of opportunities to do work in the community, including non-profits such as ShareBaby and the Harford House.

Lower School

  • Daily morning worship

  • Weekly Meeting for Worship

  • Conflict resolution tools

  • Curricular focus on diversity, community, inclusion

SHINING LIGHT: First-grade students learn about wants versus needs when they design and create shoebox homes; Fifth graders practice Meeting for Business, during which they work to solve problems and promote belonging

Upper School

  • Traditional and Alternative Meetings for Worship

  • Quaker Student Union

  • Quaker Youth Leadership Conference

  • Friends Committee on National Legislation

  • Service Learning program

SHINING LIGHT: Adaptive Design class uses engineering techniques to design and produce prototypes of objects to promote inclusive participation.

“Have the patience to be silent and listen for truth. Then have the courage to let the best that is in you direct your actions. Recognize that your true identity is nothing more or less than the way in which you conduct your public and private affairs - the way in which, for good or ill, you let your life speak.”

-A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense