Germantown Friends School’s Quaker identity fundamentally influences the Lower School program. The study of Quaker values guides young children of many diverse religious backgrounds to learn to express themselves honestly, to listen well to others, to solve conflicts peacefully, and to be good members of the community. The faculty and staff in the Lower School establish warm relationships with the children in an environment that promotes mutual respect.
The Lower School Quakerism Committee, comprised of dedicated Lower School faculty, has developed an informed curricular program. This Quaker curriculum provides our community with developmentally-appropriate materials that allow the students access to understanding the history of Quakerism. The curriculum also guides students in developing ownership of the six Quaker Testimonies known as the “SPICES”: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship.
Each year, the Lower School focuses on two of these testimonies to guide our work. Study of these testimonies increases students’ understanding of Quaker history and principles, as well as their appreciation of their dual roles as members of both our local and global communities. This year’s testimonies are Integrity and Simplicity.
- GFS Faith and Practice, 2007
- Simplicity: Activities and possessions should not overwhelm us.
Peace: Each life is precious and unique.
Integrity: We are seekers of the truth.
Community: We care for each other.
Equality: We are all equal before God.
Stewardship: We use God’s gifts wisely.
The curriculum for both testimonies, Integrity and Simplicity, exist as a series of lessons and activities that weave together and build on each other. The seven sections listed below are laid out in a logical progression. Within each section are a number of sub-sections, which include lessons and activities designed so that lower school children can begin to understand and apply the testimonies to their own lives and to the life of their classroom communities.
Integrity and Simplicity Testimonies for Grades K through 5
- Spirit Document Activity
- Truth and Perception
- Solitude and Conscience
- Basics of Simplicity
- Clearing out the Clutter
- Trusting Each Other