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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.

SIMPLICITY

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.

PEACE

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.

INTEGRITY

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.

COMMUNITY

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.”

EQUALITY

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.

STEWARDSHIP

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.


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22 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?

    Thanks!

    • 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.

  3. miguel de althaus January 9, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    City & State
    lima, peru
    What are the relations of Quakerism to Christianity? Does Quakerism has links with Christian denominations?

  4. Maggie Hess June 26, 2018 at 8:14 pm #

    City & State
    Bristol, TN
    http://​beautyitselfispurpose​.branchable​.com/​p​o​s​t​s​/​H​e​a​r​t​y​_​Q​u​a​k​e​r​_​T​e​s​t​i​m​o​n​i​e​s​_​-​_​_​_​3​4​_​_​S​E​L​F​I​S​H​_​_​3​4​_​_​_​m​n​e​m​o​n​ic/

    I always have felt there is something silly about a mnemonic I hear a lot of Quakers refer to as “the Quaker testimonies.” Simplicity Peace Integrity Community Equality and Sustainability. I like these words and I think generally it is good for people to pursue them in their way. I have noticed that some Friends are quite focused on these words in a way that seems geared at making the world a better place. I am glad for that and for these Friends. But also, I am glad for Quakers who might just go to Meeting for silence or consider themselves Friends “outside the Meetinghouse” in smaller things.

    So I would have written this for Friends Journal, but it is a bit too irreverent. I think what I want to do is to make fun of the SPICES with my own SELFISH mnemonic.

    Selfcare. I don’t know about other Friends, but I am deeply committed to the Quaker testimony of self care. I say that as a borderline joke. But I also am deeply committed to selfcare. I just am. Ephemoral. All friends die and change every day. Laughing.
    Feeding.
    Introspecting. Silent. Hearts.

    This entry is not half hearted, but is more like half minded. Unfinished thoughts. Mostly a joke to begin with. Interested if anyone posts a reply on my blog.

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