There is nothing quite like Great Books Summer Program in American education today. For the past ten years, outstanding middle school and high school students have come together at Amherst College and Stanford University, with a number of distinguished educators and bright counselors from top colleges, to enjoy the kind of intellectual experience most can only dream of during the school year.
We Teach By Asking Questions
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "What Plato has thought, I can think, and what any saint has felt, I can feel." Our approach to sparking dialogue with students dates back to Plato's teacher, Socrates. Discussion leaders act as catalysts of the students' own ideas and listen carefully to their answers.
We take up the Great Conversation and great debates of classic literature, looking at timeless questions like: What is the good life? What do I owe my neighbors? What must I do in the face of injustice?
By asking questions we help young people to practice reflective reading and critical thinking, to recognize their own best thoughts, and to develop their ideas with care. Participants learn to get to the key content, to see the big ideas, and to more readily understand the subtleties in literature. These are wonderful gifts to take back to the classroom, to help prepare for the SAT, and to bring to personal reading.
Our Renowned Educators Are Passionate About Teaching Young People
The faculty of The Great Books Summer Program is led by distinguished college professors from the finest educational institutions in the world—Amherst College, Stanford University and Columbia University. They are teachers, authors, scholars and parents who care deeply about sharing their love of great books and big ideas with bright young people.
Our academic director, Dr. Peter Temes, taught in the Core Curriculum Great Books Program at Columbia University and is past president of The Great Books Foundation. He has brought together a faculty of top college professors, private school educators, talented performing arts educators, and instructors trained in the Great Books discussion methods.
Students Gain Valuable Skills
The Great Books Summer Program builds on the 40-year success of the Junior Great Books Program. As a result of completing our unique summer program, students will:
- Learn how to read and think at a college level
- Learn how to engage in lively, spirited, yet disciplined discussion
- Gain new powers of perception, critical thinking, and self-expression
- Develop greater confidence with peers and adults
- Launch their own lifelong intellectual journey
- Have fun and make great new friends!
A Preview of College Life on a Beautiful Campus
Spending a week or more at a top liberal arts campus under the supervision of our staff gives middle and high-school aged students a sense of the college experience that lies ahead for them. As one parent expressed it, "They learned a lot about college life and now have a goal to keep in mind."
Your child may choose from two campus settings—Amherst College in Massachusetts or Stanford University in California. Amherst College, founded in 1821, is widely regarded as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the world. Stanford University opened its doors in 1891, and has been one of the finest and most highly-regarded American universities ever since.
In 2013, we will also have a special two week program for high school students at Oxford University, in England.
Creating a Safe Community
As educators and as parents ourselves, we believe that maintaining a safe and secure environment is of paramount importance. It begins with building a community of mutual respect, from student to student and student to staff. Listening and paying attention are part of the fabric of life at Great Books Summer Program.
Each young person is assigned to a Program Assistant who is responsible for just 6-8 students. The freedom of students is respected but no one is allowed to roam campus without a Program Assistant present and all off-campus excursions are supervised. There are adult staff members present at meals, discussions, and activities. For medical needs we have immediate access to doctors and facilities adjacent to campus.