S-P-I-C-E-S: The Quaker Testimonies

Connecticut Friends School

Connecticut Friends School is built on these Six Quaker Values. For each testimony, below, we list several activities in italics, followed by the way we apply and weave each activity into our curriculum.


Use financial and natural resources carefully.

We make use of our existing rich offerings such as public libraries, museums, nature centers, and historical sites.

Value the spirit over material objects.

We celebrate acts of kindness and generosity instead of bringing toys or electronics for show and tell.

Keep popular culture in perspective at school to avoid distraction from what is truly important.

We attune students to the wonders of nature and a sense of competence through hands-on crafts such as weaving.

Keep life simple so we are free to live in harmony and alignment with soul’s purpose.

Service learning is a priority.


Build conflict resolution skills.

Foster effective communication and alternatives to violence.

See conflict as a springboard to moral growth.

Use the conflict at hand as part of curriculum, asking each person involved to take responsibility for his or her part in escalating tension.

Seek elegant, simple solutions to problems or disagreements.

Encourage creative problem-solving and assume students have worthy, practical ideas.

Make decisions by consensus or the “sense of the meeting.”

Empower students to share responsibility for the school culture, using the idea of voting sparingly.


Let your life speak: your outer life reflects your inner life.

Nurture each student’s inner moral compass, cultivating inner motivation not driven by externals such as grades.

Treat others with respect and honesty.

Set a tone of high expectations of students’ work and behavior, guiding students in the process of self-assessment.

Acknowledge interconnectedness and essential oneness.

Anchor academics in thematic studies and an integrated curriculum.

Draw out the teacher within.

Mirror students’ gifts and interests, giving them choice in projects and assignments.


Connect with all members of the community.

Plan school activities that enable students to bridge differences and create a close, working group.

Be our authentic selves.

Create a safe, nurturing atmosphere in which children can share all sides of themselves, such as asking questions or making mistakes.

Balance needs of the individual with needs of the group.

Address and bring to the surface this seeming paradox while trying to lift up those in emotional turmoil.

Teach respect for everyone and the idea that everyone has a piece of the truth.

Gather in silent meeting for worship and listen to other people’s thoughts without judgment or comment.

Stretch beyond the school day to support a fellowship of parenting.

Organize events such as overnight trips to Powell House, all-school potlucks, or the intergenerational “grandfriend’s day.”


Respect different people and different ideas.

Encourage families of diverse race, socioeconomic status, family structure, and faith backgrounds to apply.

Honor all faiths.

Do not try to convert students to Quakerism.

Celebrate a rich community made up of many cultures.

Invite members of various nationalities to share their stories in the classroom.

Reflect a broad, inclusive spectrum of the global family.

Ensure that resources, books, and units of study reflect this goal.


Protect and care for the Earth in a sacred trust.

Walk lightly on the Earth, recycle and reuse whenever possible, and reduce the amount of energy we consume.

Promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

Teach students to appreciate their world via scientific inquiry, artistic expression, outdoor education adventures, and a thorough exposure to natural resources.

Teach social justice and the need for equal access to resources.

Begin in the youngest classroom to instill a sense of social responsibility and service work such as coat drives, fundraisers, partnerships with outside organizations, and many more initiatives.

This is a document written and distributed by Mark Dansereau and Kim Tsocanos, co-heads of Connecticut Friends School in Wilton, Conn.

Posted in: Features

13 Responses to S-P-I-C-E-S: The Quaker Testimonies

  1. Terri April 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    City & State
    Decatur, GA
    Hello, I have a friend who is in recovery for drug abuse and has adopted the Quaker Testimonies S-P-I-C-E-S as his source of inspiration for a higher power. I would like to find a small pendant/cartouche ingraved with these letters for him to wear as a constant reminder of his commitment. Since Quakers typically do not wear jewelry do you know where I might find an item such as this?


    • Katherine November 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      You could find a shop on Etsy and request a custom order, if you’re still looking.

  2. Gopal February 14, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    Under Quaker Testimony Equality:

    Honor all faiths: Do not try to convert students to Quakerism.

    Respect different people and different ideas: Encourage families of diverse race, socioeconomic status, family structure, and faith backgrounds to apply

    Is there a contradiction here?

    • Marten March 7, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

      No Gopal, there is no contradiction here. Remember that it is a school that people are being encouraged to apply to, not Quakerism itself. Inviting diverse students does not require that they then be evangelized.


  1. Contemplating Scripture « Sunfire’s Weblog - November 22, 2012

    […] equality, and service are often sited as Quaker values, and are remembered with the acronym “SPICES.” Share this:ShareFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted by […]

  2. Inward Light, Inward Shadow | The Limits of History - July 16, 2013

    […] Quaker conversion or conviction I have read or listened to on the Internet include an affection for Quaker principles or “testimonies.” These are: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. I do not find […]

  3. Integrity…the Second Definition | Laurie Morrison - January 13, 2014

    […] to a piece by Connecticut Friends School on the Friends Journal website, having integrity means letting your inner life match your outer […]

  4. How do you eat your Reese’s? | the.way.i.bee - June 6, 2014

    […] greater connections to my source.  I have found my deepest connections in Quakerism.  I love the SPICES.  As I chew on the concept of God, I feel I need to sprinkle it with Equality.  I do believe, no, […]

  5. 4 Things We Can All Learn From One Of America's Oldest Religious Communities | Hihid News - June 21, 2014

    […] feel compelled to connect to a higher power, the tradition of meeting for worship embodies several core Quaker beliefs that help Friends lead a mindful, connected and fulfilling […]

  6. Chalica & Charity | The Lefthander's Path - November 21, 2014

    […] stuff and relate to other values you find meaningful- the Kwanzaa principles, the Beatitudes, the Quaker Testimonies, polytheist virtues and so forth. It’s important to clarify that while the 7 principles are […]

  7. My Quaker Pilgrimage So Far | Hye Sung Francis - December 18, 2014

    […] it our testimony of peace, or S.P.I.C.E.S. as a whole, that binds us […]

  8. Change of mindset will change the world? | The Good Life: Transitions to Complex Consciousness - January 28, 2015

    […] Here’s a page with one Quaker organization’s take on what these mean: http://www.friendsjournal.org/s-p-i-c-e-s-quaker-testimonies/ […]

  9. Weekly Digest (and musings): February 7 | Post-Colonial Theory and Literature/ Kutztown University - February 7, 2015

    […] the Quaker values that Bayard’s grandmother instilled in the family (specifically the SPICES).  Because Bayard was an out homosexual, he was often seen as on the periphery, even though he […]

Leave a Reply

Comments on Friendsjournal.org may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.