The institute’s surprisingly modern pedagogy eschewed rote learning, Bible study, and corporal punishment. Despite Owen’s self-proclaimed passion for reading, he thought it was pointless for young kids to be “annoyed with books.” Instead, he advocated “steady kindness,” dancing, singing, and educational drawings (large posters of animals, continents, and so on). In the evenings, the institute’s classrooms were turned over to New Lanark’s adult population for night classes. At a time when millworkers were treated like disposable machine parts, Owen’s scheme to educate his employees and their children was considered radical.
---from Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism by Chris Jennings.