What is Quaker Education?

Friends School of Minnesota is a Quaker school. Quakers believe there is within each individual, an inner light, a center from which each of us grows to reach our highest potential. This core belief in equality and the inherent worth of every person leads naturally to a commitment to social justice and non-violent conflict resolution.

How Our Quaker Values Guide Our Education

There is no direct religious instruction at the school; instead, it is a place of lived values.

Our Quaker values are the foundation of our mission and our program. We explore complex questions through the lens of our Quaker values.

“Quaker values influence my everyday life, professionally and personally. My work requires that I work with these values daily, and they have taught me how to stay grounded in creating a better world for those that come after me. Quaker values and Friends School showed me from a young age what a powerful and loving community can feel like, and that has influenced my actions and life today.”

– An FSMN alum

What does peace mean if you don’t have equality? How do we act with integrity when we are asked to do something that doesn’t align with our values? How do we build respectful relationships within a community? In what ways does appreciating difference strengthen our community? How can we continually reflect on our lives and seek out simplicity?

The Power of the Question

We live in a world where easy answers are just a Google search away. Our children must be able to follow their curiosity and their values. The ability to explore complex questions from multiple perspectives, use skilled observation and deep reflection prepares our children to thrive and become active participants in our democracy.

Quaker education and progressive education are both rooted in the power of the question.

When we combine Quaker education and progressive education, it gives our children a spiritual foundation guided by values and an intellectual discipline.

This combination prepares our children for a rich and successful academic life.Two tenets of Quakerism, in particular, connect Quakerism to progressive philosophy:

  • Each human being has a Divine spark through which great spiritual wisdom can be experientially accessed.
  • Truth-seeking is a process of continual revelation within a gathered community. (Irene McHenry, 2004).

These two tenets view learning as more of a process than an outcome, and they recognize the social context of learning. This view of education is aligned perfectly with a progressive approach.

How Silence Builds Community and Nurtures Reflection

We gather weekly at an all-school Meeting for Worship. In the Quaker tradition, our weekly Meeting provides students, staff, and FSMN community members the opportunity for silence, reflection, and sharing. Most Meetings have a query, a question we silently reflect on as a community.

An example of a query:
How do I help myself be brave when I’m trying something new? How do I help others be brave?

The daily classroom routine includes brief periods of silence to allow students to focus and reflect.


A Guide to Quaker Practice
Essential Tenets of Friends School of Minnesota’s Quaker/Progressive Approach

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Our mission is to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

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