About CFS

Quaker Education

Since 1683, Quaker schools have been part of this country’s educational fabric. Quaker schools have distinguished themselves by providing strong academic programs and through their commitment to recognizing the worth of each individual. Cambridge Friends School is one of over 80 Quaker schools in the United States, and it is the only Quaker school in Massachusetts.

Inner Light

A Cambridge Friends School education starts with the inner light - the fundamental belief, firmly rooted in our Quaker tradition, that there is truth and goodness in each person. We believe that each child carries unique gifts and talents, which we seek to nurture and celebrate. We prepare our students to go into the world and do good work, to use their gifts generously for worthwhile goals. A Friends education helps children grow in mind, body, and spirit, and builds a firm foundation for full lives, well lived.

Critical Thinking Skills

At Friends’ schools, the emphasis is on critical thinking skills. Work on individual skills and knowledge is balanced with group learning, in which each person’s unique insights contribute to a collective learning. Quakers believe in strong encouragement of the individual. Students who graduate from a Quaker school walk away with a strong sense of self. They are better prepared to deal with adversity and they understand the need to promote harmony in their quest for knowledge. Students are challenged to develop inner resources for discipline and achievement. Each student’s gifts and talents are honored.


Cambridge Friends School is committed to practicing the values of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), especially those of peace, community, social justice, nonviolent conflict resolution, and tolerance and respect for all people. There is no direct religious instruction at the school; rather, it is a place of lived values.

As a Quaker school, CFS attracts families of many religious and non-religious backgrounds. Less than ten percent of our students are from Quaker families. Other families may be Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, and more. The universal values of peace, simplicity, equality, integrity, and community attract and unite diverse families at CFS.


Speaking truth, treating all human beings with respect, living simply, striving for community, and resolving conflicts through peaceful means are Quaker values that Cambridge Friends School holds dear. Guided by the understanding that there is “that of God in each person,” we try to live these values as a school community. When lived through one’s life, these values become Testimonies that are at the heart of the Quaker Spirit at CFS. The Testimonies interpret universal values. They are guiding principles and are explored and reinterpreted by each generation.

Quaker Principles


Quakers have historically emphasized the equality of all people. The belief in "the Light within" has led Quakers to work for peace, prison reform, humane care for the mentally ill, civil rights, and economic justice around the world. Everyone has the same human rights and should be treated fairly.


Quakers oppose war and the violence of oppression. We believe that world peace begins with each of us. We try to settle all disagreements without using weapons or words that hurt others.


Integrity means being truthful and always trying to do our very best. We say what we mean and mean what we say.


We strive to be a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive community where everyone—students, teachers, staff, and families—feels respected and affirmed.


The Quaker testimony of simplicity reminds us to live wisely. In an increasingly busy and materialistic world filled with a vast amount of external stimulation, we all need space and time to discern what is truly important in our lives.


We need to take care of the things we use and own as well as each other. We believe in leaving the world a better place than we found it.

CFS Faith and Practice

Educating independent thinkers for over 55 years in grades PK-8