Quakers believe that there is that of God in every person and base their faith on four testimonies: Truth, Peace, Equality and Simplicity. Throughout history these strong values have underpinned the Quaker contribution to society in education, business, social and charitable work.
Quakers have always had a strong commitment to education and have founded many schools across the world. Nowadays, in Britain and Ireland there are nine Quaker schools and several other schools adopt Quaker values as their guiding principles.
In education Quakers approach every learner hopefully, believing in the potential of every individual and helping each pupil to recognise and believe in this too. Everyone makes a contribution to the learning process; teachers and pupils learn from each other and we believe that the most effective learning takes place when relationships are based in mutual respect. We encourage honesty, open minds and expect our pupils to question and explore in their quest for truth.
Our pupils learn that they are part of a community and as such have a strong responsibility to that community and to the wider society. We value simplicity, pursuing the things which bring true fulfilment and we encourage spiritual growth. Our discipline is based on mutual trust and support and allows pupils to develop self-discipline and resilience. We seek to resolve conflict through mutual understanding and above all to inculcate the habit of good listening. Our weekly meeting in silence allows us to reflect and listen more deeply.
Meeting for Worship lies at the heart of the core values of Walden School. We gather in silence to seek a deeper understanding of the spirituality of our lives and to feel the power of God’s love drawing us together and leading us to find direction in our lives.
Meeting for Worship makes Quaker education distinct and encourages respect for the individual, the habit of self reflection, vulnerability and openness to each other, the experience of silence, the ability to listen, the transformation of tension and the courage to stand up and speak.
We believe that children learn best in a school environment that fosters their spiritual growth. Through silent worship, we affirm the goodness in each person. The experience builds confidence and self-esteem which helps children learn more successfully in all areas.
There is a short period of silent worship at the beginning and end of our morning assemblies and one of our assemblies each week takes the form of a silent Meeting for Worship.
‘To confirm the deepest thing in our students is the educator’s special privilege. It demands that we see in the failures of adolescence and its many confusions, the possibility of something untangled, clear, directed. It asks us to sustain that faith through a multiplicity of discouraging experiences and indeed to find within those experiences the grounds for hope. It requires us to love freely, readily, unconditionally but truly, without relaxing our standards or compromising ourselves …. Above all we must water the ground of the students’ being with faith in that deepest self – to do so constantly, tirelessly, patiently – and to love enough to know what one should demand from the student in response and when to ask it.’
Barbara Windle, 1988
Quaker Schools around the world
Click here to see a list of the Quaker Schools around the World