The Middle School curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who are going through important personal stages of development socially, academically, physically, and intellectually. To this end, the Middle School strives to create an environment that helps students to become enthusiastic about their work at school, while also helping them develop skills that will serve them well in Middle School, Upper School, college, and beyond. During this period of self-discovery, students are presented with a range of opportunities for learning about themselves and about the world in which they live. Middle School is a time to learn and to enjoy the process of learning.
Quakerism is an integral part of life at Moorestown Friends School. It underscores the school’s philosophy and approach towards education. Quakers believe that life has a spiritual dimension and that understanding and developing that dimension is as fundamental to education as mathematics or reading. In the Middle School, the Quaker concern for spiritual education is transmitted in a number of ways: through service activities; through formal classes; through attention to Quakerism’s central values of integrity, harmony, equality, simplicity, and community; and through a deep commitment on the part of the staff to the nurture of the life of the spirit and the student experience in Meeting for Worship.
A Friends school does not aim to create Quakers but rather to help young people become aware of the “inward light,” that spiritual presence in all of us that provides guidance and direction for living in our complicated world. The school believes that the religious tradition of each student is strengthened by the understanding of Quaker history, faith, and practice. One of the strengths of a Quaker education is its focus on empowering students to develop and use their talents and gifts within a caring community.
The practices of Quakerism, especially the Meeting for Worship, give young people powerful tools for spiritual growth. Meeting for Worship is the setting in which that growth is nurtured. The students gather silently to reflect together. Sometimes meeting begins with a story or brief talk on a topic of concern to the community; we encourage students to speak from their hearts if so moved; always we let the silence work on us together. This quiet time together provides us with focus, with space to be reflective, and with a peaceful center to our busy week.
In the classroom, we offer Quakerism as a formal course in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. During Middle School, students can expect to learn meditation techniques, to study several well-known Quakers whose lives make real the testimonies listed above, to develop and participate in service projects, to learn the causes and remedies for injustices in the world, to be challenged to think about their behavior in light of the belief that we are all valued members of a community, to learn strategies for resolving conflict and a Quaker approach to group decision making, and to learn about the religions of the world, especially about those of the students at Moorestown Friends School.
Fifth Grade: Ethics, Mindfulness Activities, Identity, Conflict Management
Sixth Grade: Quaker historical figures; Quaker Testimonies, Social Problem Solving and Religious Practices.
Seventh Grade: Design Thinking for Community; Mindfulness Practices; Everyday Peace-building and Conflict Management.
Eighth Grade: Religion and the 1st Amendment and Interfaith Conversations