Quaker Values at HFS
Haddonfield Friends School strives to give a quality education in a supportive, cooperative community which respects and nourishes the students' emotional, social, and spiritual growth. HFS was started over 225 years ago and has been educating children ever since. Helping children to discover their own particular strengths and to appreciate the strengths of others is a basic goal of the Quaker education. Students work to achieve their personal best in a curriculum that is designed to build skills, develop independence, and foster critical thinking skills. The Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship (“SPICES”) are woven into every aspect of school life.
HFS is a leader in progressive education, integrating challenging academics within a spiritual foundation of community, spirituality, responsibility and stewardship. A hallmark of a Quaker school experience is the basic beliefs that we are all teachers and learners and that each child has unique gifts and talents. Students are called upon to discover their own voices and interests within the framework of rigorous, college-preparatory academics. The foundation of the educational experience is built upon the ideal that students’ quality of character – what kind of people they are becoming – is as important to their lives and to the world as their intellectual growth and exploration.
Meeting for Worship
Gathering in silence, Meeting for Worship plays a special role in the school’s religiously diverse community. Meeting for Worship is the Quaker form of worship, in which the assembled group meets in a silent, communal search for Truth; those who are moved to speak rise to do so out of the silence. Students, grades 2 through 8, and faculty attend Meeting for Worship (MFW) Wednesday mornings at the Haddonfield Meeting House, on the corner of Friends Avenue and Lake Street. Later in the school year, first grade students attend weekly MFW. The first Wednesday of each month, the entire student body, faculty, and staff meet together in an All-School Meeting for Worship. These meetings are sometimes “programmed,” or planned, to celebrate a holiday or mark important occasions or themes in the life of the School. Parents and families are welcome to join us in order to get a better understanding of Quaker life.
The Religious Society of Friends began as a radical challenge to the Church of England in the 17th century. The Quakers' simple realization that there is 'that of God in every person' led them to leave the established church and worship together in silence without ministers and prearranged prayers, to oppose all violence done by humans to one another, to refuse to pay their war taxes, and to challenge state hierarchies by refusing to 'doff their hats' to the authorities. These 'outrageous' practices brought persecution and martyrdom in England and here in America.
Friends today continue to try to live a witness of simplicity and social consciousness working for prison reform and economic justice, for peace both amongst nations and within families. They come together regularly for silent worship. Haddonfield Friends Meeting a lively mix of long-time Friends and new attenders.