Elementary Students Learn About Schools from Long Ago and the One-Room Schoolhouse 
As an extension of the Social Studies curriculum, elementary students at Sea Cliff and Glen Head Schools dressed up as students of long ago. Glen Head second graders participated in a virtual lesson about the one-room schoolhouse hosted by the Long Island Museum in Stonybrook. Sea Cliff second graders participated in lessons crafted by their teachers.

As part of their lesson, the Glen Head students had the unique opportunity to learn all about the one room schoolhouses built in the 19th and 20th centuries including the Nassakeag (South Setauket Schoolhouse) built by Frederick A. Smith. Most American students attended a one-room schoolhouse taught by a single teacher with student ranging from five to 15 years old. The number of students could vary from six to 40 or more. The youngest students would sit in the front while the oldest in the back. Generally, the teachers would give lessons in writing, arithmetic, history and geography. Often the students memorized and recited their lessons. A wood-burning stove was located in the center of the classroom that provided the only source of heat. Students would have to go to the bathroom outside in the outhouse.  

The Glen Head students watched and listened intensely and were able to ask questions about how school differed from today versus over 100 years ago. They learned that many students walked many miles to school (even without shoes in the summer). School attendance usually took place during the winter and summer months, leaving the spring and fall semesters free for duties on their farms. To protect the young students on their long journeys to and from school, family dogs were often allowed to come to school and were pictured in photographs displayed in the lesson. From the photos, the young North Shore students pointed out that the “girls often wore dresses,” the teacher was often a women, and the class was “integrated” with diverse children of all ages.
The North Shore students also participated in hands-on activities including writing with a feather and ink to practice penmanship (like they did in the 18th century) and various games including hopscotch, baseball, and bowling! 

Additionally, our elementary students learned about the North Shore Schools one-room schoolhouse, a historic replica of the one built in Glenwood Landing in the 1800’s, that is  located on the North Shore High School campus and was built by North Shore seniors in the Long Island Studies Program.

We thank everyone involved in making this virtual lesson on the one-room schoolhouse a success. Please ask your children all about schools from long ago and how they differed from today!

Article and photos by Shelly Newman