U.S. School Clothes: Recreations

Figure 1.--.

In some schools, children of a certain age-cohort (say, 4th graders) go to a "pioneer school" for a week or so, in order to "see what it was like for kids to go to school back then." I personally never had the opportunity to go (having moved to the school district as a 5th grader), but in Rochester, Michigan, students of the public schools were sent to the one-room schoolhouse at Van Hoosen Farm (previously of Bertha Van Hoosen Jones and family), where they spent a week in mock nineteenth-century clothing (bonnets and pinafores for girls, straw hats and suspenders for the boys. I think there was even a "switch" or paddling board on the wall. They spent a week doing lessons off of slates and, I think, doing recitations and learning "old-fashioned" games.

At another one-room school (for 6th graders, if I remember correctly). That was a visit to a reconstructed "pioneer village" where they made lye soap (wearing protective plastic goggles, of course), lead buckshot, simple three-legged stools, rope, and other "pioneer" items.

The week in or a shorter visit to a one-room schoolhouse, reflects efforts to get children interested in the past and to help them relate to the realities (or pseudo-realities) of life in past times as compared to their own. I don't think the history-of-education component was made use of except to point to some similarities and differences between life "then and now". Perhaps that is because there was (somewhat understandably) no social or political component to these field trips -- one visited the school-house or pioneer village as though it existed in a sort of vacuum, without a sense of the larger world, society, and history in which those artefacts were/are embedded. Mbr<

I'd be interested in hearing about other attempts at/experiences of history of education for (or by) children. What are the uses and limits of such attempts? I can think, for example, of intergenerational projects (kind of an educational family tree) -- but what kinds of learning does that facilitate? What kinds of things can or should children know about the history (and, therefore, the present) of the institutions of which they themselves are a type of product-in-progress?

Christopher Wagner


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Main U.S. School Uniform Page]
[Main National School Uniform Page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Germany]
[Ireland] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Singapore] [Scotland]
[Singapore] [United States]

Created: April 3m 2000
Last updated: April 3, 2000