In third and fourth grade social studies, we explore Quaker values and how students can try to implement these values in their lives. These include Integrity, Community, Simplicity, Stewardship, Justice, Equality and Peace as well as the idea that “There is that of God in everyone.”

Social Studies Topics

During third and fourth grade social studies class we learn about many topics including:

  • Peacemaking and some of the consequences of warfare
  • The underground-railroad
  • Helping underprivileged people
  • What it feels like to be treated differently because of the color of your skin
  • How we work together within our various communities to support each other
  • How we try to see the God or goodness in each other
  • How we demonstrate these values in our classroom and around our school
Discussing Quaker Values

The students have been quite serious during these discussions and are learning to listen to and respect a wide variety of opinions.

“I think there is a God but sometimes it’s hard to see the goodness in really bad people. I can try though.” – fourth grade student

third and fourth graders discuss
Social studies provides third and fourth graders time to discuss our values. (2010-11)

“Integrity means standing up for what you believe in but it’s hard sometimes.” third grade student

class discussion
Learning to listen to each other is an essential skill.

“Honesty and integrity means that everybody is telling the truth in a [conflict resolution] conference. It would make me very sad and very mad if someone lied and the conference wouldn’t work.” third grade student

Taking a Tour of Our School

We went on a tour of the building and found numerous ways that we live our values.

mission statement in the hall of Friends School of Minnesota
On our tour, students noticed Friends School of Minnesota’s mission statement displayed in the front hall of the school.
Recycling at Friends School of Minnesota
We discussed how our school’s composting and recycling efforts reflect our community values.

We visited FSM staff on our tour, chatting with our development director Sarah and admissions director Susan about their positions at the school. We thought about all the different people in our school community.

plaque honoring Friends School of Minnesota volunteers
We re-discovered the many displays honoring people who are part of our community, such as our amazing volunteers.
Reflecting on Quaker Values

We also spent two class periods writing honest and positive notes to each person in the class to emphasize the goodness in every classmate.

Students began to recognize that the use of silence, Meeting for Worship, the conferences of our Conflict Resolution program and Group Gatherings are ways that we implement the values.

Providing students with this opportunity to explore the foundations of Quaker teachings and testimonies helps them better understand why we are a Friends school and what that means in terms of their education.