Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is pleased to present

The 2005 Summer Conversational Series

The Concord Summer School of Philosophy
on the grounds of Orchard House
Historic Concord, Massachusetts

Celebrating the School of Philosophy's 125th Anniversary

Education is All
Teaching and Learning in the 19th Century and Beyond


3-Day Intensive Workshop
July 11 - 13

NEW! Teacher Institute
July 11 - 15

Wednesday Evening Edifications
July 6, 13, 10, 27
Registration form for Workshop and Institute Registration form for Edifications

books with watchMost often remembered as the “Father of Little Women,” Amos Bronson Alcott is usually forgotten as a leader in educational reform. He was not only a teacher and Superintendent of Concord Schools, but also a founder of one of the first adult education centers in the United States, The Concord Summer School of Philosophy. The idea of having a place where adults could come together to learn had been Alcott’s life-long dream; the first summer session was held in 1879 within Orchard House itself. By 1880, Bronson had constructed the building he called "Hillside Chapel" to house future sessions of his School. For the following eight summers, adults from around the country came to participate in Alcott’s vision and to interact with some of the greatest thinkers and educational pioneers of the 19th century.

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the opening of Hillside Chapel, the 2005 Summer Conversational Series will focus on education and educators of the 19th century and how their work has influenced educational practices to this day. During the Intensive Workshop, we will examine the teaching ideals of Bronson Alcott in a number of ways, including through the writings of his most famous pupil, daughter Louisa May Alcott! We will also look at other educators and educational philosophies of the time, as well as some “new trends” of the 19th century, such as the Lyceum Movement and schools for girls and persons of color. Finally, we will see how the ideas of this time of great reform have impacted our own schools.

books on pedestalNew Initiative This Summer! Orchard House is excited to offer a new Teacher Institute component to the Summer Conversational Series this year. Teachers will first participate in the Intensive Workshop, but will have additional sessions on those days plus two full days on Thursday and Friday. With the assistance of Orchard House Educators, participating teachers will focus on how to practically apply Institute topics in their classrooms, and ways they can use the Alcotts in their curriculum while at the same time fulfilling the State Frameworks. At the end of the week, participants will leave with lesson plan outlines for their students, which they will complete within a specified period of time following the Teacher Institute. Teachers will then have the opportunity to share their lesson plans as part of a new “Teachers Only” portion of Orchard House’s website. Each teacher will also receive a number of materials for future classroom use.

The Teacher Institute is primarily intended for middle and high school teachers of English and History/Social Science, but teachers of all subjects and grade levels -- including home educators -- are most welcome. Professional Development Points (40) are available for Massachusetts teachers, and Certificates of Participation will be provided to out-of-state teachers.

New Books Available at the Summer Conversational Series

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Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association