Despite the importance of celibacy to Shaker belief, children made up an integral part of the community. From 1793 to 1850, many young people joined Shaker communities with their families. Additionally, the Shakers also took in and raised orphans. However they entered the community, Shaker youth constituted the children’s order.
Children in Shaker villages received an academic education based on the Lancastrian model of teaching, in which older students taught younger members of the school. Based on the agricultural and industrial schedule of the community, boys went to school in the winter and girls in the summer. Shaker children also learned several trades which would allow them to succeed in both the Shaker and non-Shaker worlds. Today, Enfield Shaker Museum continues this focus on education by offering a variety of on-site and in-school programs.
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