Green Mountain Friends School is a community of learners and teachers who inspire and challenge one another in the continuing search for truth. It is a place where young people practice the stillness of connecting with their center while learning essential life skills so that they are inspired to share their gifts with the world.
GMFS guides students ages 5 through 14 years old in an educational approach that is founded in the Quaker Testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Community, Equality, Truth, Stewardship, and Service. Children are encouraged to grow into goodness intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually while participating in engaged, physical activity.
The Program at GMFS embraces the Friends belief in the inherent goodness within each person, seeking to foster strength of character and concern for all beings. We seek to nourish the whole GMFS community with a love of learning that will deepen as we move through our lives. The entire community will promote quiet reflection, dedicated work and connection to meaningful action in the world.
Bringing a Quaker School to Vermont
Green Mountain Friends School (GMFS) began as a vision in the hearts of a group of dedicated parents and educators who experienced or identified with Friends practices in education and want to bring this opportunity in learning and teaching to Vermont. There have been many individuals and Friends Meetings who have wanted to create a place for a Quaker School to grow in Vermont, and now the time has come.
Vision for the future of Green Mountain Friends School
The GMFS vision for the next 25 years is to grow a strong base of inspired teachers and learners, to build meaningful connections in our communities and to provide daily experiences in our school that will enrich the lives of the students, teachers and our community. We envision the school growing to eventually include children ages 5 through 14 years of age. The vision of GMFS will continue to be developed over time in response to the needs of the school community.
Our plan includes developing or working with a farm that will provide opportunities for hands on experience, responsibility and awareness of our relationship to the land. In time we will foster connections with an elders’ community that will share in exchanges of mind and spirit with GMFS. Both the elders and those in the school community will benefit from experiences such as watching theater productions together and gathering to share a meal. We envision GMFS becoming much like a village where people of all ages are brought together to learn cooperation, strengthen their minds, respect their differences, and know their valuable connection to one another.
The Quaker Testiomonies at GMFS
These testimonies are the foundation of the Green Mountain Friends School's practices.
Equality: Quakers believe that there is “that of God in everyone” and that God is equally accessible to any person. At GMFS, all members of the community are welcomed and respected regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, income, age, sexual orientation, and physical or learning differences.
Peace: Friends believe that conflicts can and should be resolved without violence. At GMFS, we practice peaceful and creative conflict resolution. All students have the opportunity to participate in a peer mediation program with faculty support and guidance.
Simplicity: The testimony of simplicity involves living in moderation, questioning the need for many possessions, reducing consumption, and recycling and re-using resources when possible. Simplicity also involves reducing distractions from the pursuit of truth, such as pursuit of wealth, power, and control. At GMFS, we live simply and with awareness of the impact of our material needs on society.
Community: The testimony of community arises from the belief in a common humanity that unites all people. GMFS seeks to create a community of its students, parents, teachers, and staff, and also looks for ways to develop community beyond the school itself. Community is nurtured by helping members see the best in one another and helping them develop the best in themselves.
Truth: Quakerism emphasizes the search for truth as well as the possibility of continuing revelation - that a truth may emerge through the awareness of any person or source in the community. Friends also believe that truth is most accessible to those who live a life of integrity, where words, actions, and beliefs are in alignment. At GMFS, we believe that education is a search for truth. Children’s voices and experiences are honored in the exploration of truth.
Stewardship: This testimony is a combination of the testimonies of peace, equality, and simplicity. Many wars are the result of inequitable distribution, mismanagement, or devastation of the Earth's resources. At GMFS, decisions about the use of resources are made with an awareness of social and environmental consequences. As they grow, our students are encouraged to develop a consideration for the earth and its finite resources and to live sustainably.
Service: Learning includes opportunities for service to others. These can be small acts of giving and receiving that support the classroom or school, or acts of service in the wider community. At GMFS, service learning enables students to learn about the needs of others, and give students confidence when they experience themselves as having a role in improving the lives of others.
Some journeys are direct, and come are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.
—PJ Palmer, 2000
Green Mountain Friends School seeks young people who want to contribute to a community that values intellectual curiosity, mutual respect and collaboration with others.
We believe that it enriches everyone's experience to have a diverse student body; we seek students of diverse races, family structures, ethnic origins, and religions. Though a small number of GMFS students are part of the Quaker community, the school is open to anyone who shares the same educational vision. We are respectful of the faith traditions of all of our families.
Faculty and Staff Development and Support
Teachers and staff are of great value and importance within the school community. GMFS is committed to supporting teachers and staff in developing their professional skills through in-services, continuing education courses, and other learning opportunities. Teachers and staff are encouraged to develop their experience and knowledge of the Society of Friends and its history. Teachers have encouragement to teach to their interests and to seek opportunities for their students to learn through service to others and environmental stewardship. Teachers receive support from the school community to ensure that they find joy in their work and have the resources to provide a strong educational experience for each student.
“Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves... The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts--meaning heart in its ancient sense, as the place where intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human self”
—PJ Palmer, 1998