Despite the importance of celibacy to Shaker life, children made up an integral part of the community. During the height of the order, many young people joined Shaker communities with their families. Additionally, the Shakers also took in and raised orphans. Together, Shaker youth constituted the children’s order. As part of Shaker life, children received an academic education based on the Lancastrian model of teaching where older students helped to teach younger members of the class. Based on the agricultural and industrial schedule of the community, boys went to school in the summer and girls in the winter. In addition to this classroom education, Shaker children also learned several trades which would allow them to succeed in both the Shaker and non-Shaker worlds. Today, the Museum continues this focus on education by offering a variety of on-site and in-the-classroom programs.
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