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Reflection, Community,
Courage: Lower School
Meeting for Worship

Quaker Education


The central concept that "there is that of God in every person" colors what we do throughout the school. That tenet leads us to value each child for his or her accomplishments, to believe in encouraging students from diverse ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds to attend the school, to discuss peaceful resolution of difficulties whether those difficulties occur on the kindergarten playground, the Upper School playing fields or in the world beyond Penn Charter, and to foster a commitment of service to others.

Banner with Amana (Hindi)If asked about Quakerism at Penn Charter, most students would focus on Meeting for Worship, a time of silent meditation punctuated by thoughts any member of the group wishes to share. For the kindergartner, that meeting may be five minutes of silence. By the close of the year, the meetings have reached 20 minutes. Upper and Middle School students meet for 40 minutes weekly. Most often, students who choose to speak share a reflection about some event of importance in their lives. Adults within the group are often moved by the clarity, simplicity and truth of the words of students. For many students, participation in service projects is an important influence and a vital expression of Quaker social concern for others.

Parents also wonder how Quakerism will fit with their own religious tradition if that tradition is apart from the Society of Friends. Parents of children who have gone through the school comment that the period of silence is a time that has helped their children to refine their own moral positions and to consider their own spiritual roots. Quakers in no way wish to deny the validity of other religious traditions. Rather, it is the school's desire to help a student reflect on the meaning of that tradition in a way that supports the work of the family.

A Friends School: Quakerism at Penn Charter

The publication A Friends School: Quakerism at Penn Charter explores the school's Quaker roots and the ways in which Quaker values shape the Penn Charter experience.

meetinghouse benches closeup

Quotes on Quaker Education

September 2014

It is almost impossible for someone to spend any time in Quaker schools without being affected by Meeting for Worship. In many ways, Meeting for Worship in is the central metaphor for Quaker education. Those moments of experiencing the strength of silence, the power of reflection, and the wisdom of shared ministry stay with all of us who have been in Quaker education. We also take those elements with us in a way that can help define the settings in which we live and work and the goals we have for our work with others.
–Earl J. Ball, Leading in the Light: Celebrating 325 Years of Quaker Education in America


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