EMILY -- Students in Melissa Hagelie's third-fourth and Kim Opay's fifth-sixth grade classes at Emily Charter School spent a recent day learning and playing like children in the early 1900s at the Perry Lake Schoolhouse.
Students and adults dressed in the clothing of the day, wearing a variety of hats, bonnets, aprons, dresses and trousers. Taking time to appreciate the structure of the building and authentic furniture of the old schoolhouse helped the children to imagine what it must have been like to spend a school day with a teacher and classmates of many different ages.
Students at Perry Lake Schoolhouse shook cream and listened to teacher Kim Opay read from "Little House in the Big Woods."
Shirley Weber, an assistant from Emily Charter School, shared stories of what it was like when she atteneded a schoolhouse similar to the one at Perry Lake. Weber said older students were expected to help younger ones. She explained what it was like in the winter coming in from outside and hanging wet clothes by the wood stove to dry. Carrying in wood to heat the school and using an outhouse are things students today have never experienced.
In a schoolhouse of the 1900s, classmates had to work togher and depend on each other while getting an education.
ECS students read textbooks from earlier times and compared them to textbooks of the present time, noticing differences in description and use of vocabulary.
Shirley Weber (left), Raeanna Latham, Catherine Kile, Haley Radke, T.J. Mitlyng, Isaac Allen and Ashley Dunbar studied outside the Perry Lake Schoolhouse.
Before enjoying their sack lunch, students learned that seperating the fat from cream makes butter and did this themselves by shaking the cream in jars. After lunch and tasting their homemade butter spread on bread, the children enjoyed a delicious piece of watermelon and competed against their classmates in a seed-spitting contest.
At the end of the day students and staff returned to ECS and their present day school with an appreciation for the way children learned and played long ago and how much their everyday lives have changed over the generations.
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