..............................................a collaboration between Marshwood School District and Old Berwick Historical Society

Childhood Tour 2012  

The Village School program is designed to prepare third graders for participation and leadership in the Hike through History by introducing the tour theme of Childhood and examining the routines and expectations of schoolchildren in the past.

During this visit to the Counting House Museum, third-grade students will learn about school life as children in South Berwick knew it over one hundred years ago. Students will build their capacity for historical thinking by comparing and contrasting their experience in school with the practice of education in the 1880s. The school of Olive Raynes, who taught in one-room, private school on Portland Street in South Berwick for over 60 years, is the setting for this engaging, highly participatory program.

The program takes place in the second-floor gallery of the Counting House Museum, where a school room of the 1880s is recreated with benches, a slant-top teacher’s desk, and a double school desk for recitation.


• Students enter the gallery and sit down on the benches. They are introduced to the topic of school life in the past and the task of comparing school a century ago with their school today.
• They are shown a photograph of Olive Raynes’ class taken in the 1880s and asked to compare the number of students in the class, their ages, and their dress. Students are told that they too will wear aprons and vests to school and they will be expected to follow the rules of this period. They are taught how to “make their manners” (bowing or curtsying to the teacher).
• Students put on costumes—aprons for girls and vests for boys. They then line up outside the boys’ and girls’ doors to wait for Miss Raynes.

Miss Raynes’ School: (10 minutes)

• A museum educator in the role of Miss Raynes rings the school bell to signal students to take their seats.
• Miss Raynes welcomes scholars to the first day of summer term, which runs from late April to early July. She tells them about school routines (punctuality and chores) and behavior expectations (rules, responsibility for learning, and evening detention for incomplete lessons).
• The poem “O Summer” from the Franklin Second Reader is read by Miss Raynes to demonstrate proper elocution.
• Miss Raynes reminds scholars to take care of their school supplies, which their families have purchased—pen nibs, ink, slates, slate pencils, and school books. She instructs them not to do coin rubbings and drawings in their books, showing them an example from an original text (Greenleaf’s Practical Arithmetic).

School Day Begins: (45 minutes)

Students participate in three activities, or lessons. They spend 15 minutes at each lesson and will then rotate to the next activity. Students are divided into three groups and directed by Miss Raynes to one of three stations.

Penmanship – Students practice their cursive writing using dip pens and ink, writing in a facsimile copybook.

o Students practice individual strokes and alphabet letters in copybooks.
o Using their best penmanship, students sign their names on the copybook cover.

Arithmetic – Students use excerpted Greenleaf’s Primary Arithmetic textbook and have 15 minutes to complete the following exercises:

o Mental Arithmetic: This is a partner activity. Students will alternate asking and answering multiplication word problems with their partners. They will ask and answer as many as they can in 5 minutes (p. 34).
o Slate Work: Using slates, students will complete multiplication questions (from 6 questions on p. 40 or numbers 1-6, p. 134).
o Units of Measure: The whole group works together on the exercise. Take turns reading aloud the chart of measures. Answer on slates questions 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 on p. 100. Clean slates when finished.

Reading – Students will use the Franklin Second Reader

o Students take turns reading “The Clothes We Wear” story aloud.
o Students split into groups of two and practice reading aloud two verses in “The Honey Bee” to recite to Miss Raynes using correct deportment.

Lessons End for the Day: (5 minutes)

Miss Raynes reads a morality story called “Two Ways of Asking” (Second Reader p. 9) and poses questions about courtesy and the polite treatment of elders. Certificates of merit are distributed by Miss Raynes for lessons well done, and students exit to remove their aprons and vests and return to the benches for a discussion about their experience at Miss Raynes’ School.

Discussion about School Then and Now: (10 minutes)

A museum volunteer leads students in comparing and contrasting classroom rules, expectations of students, teaching styles, structure of the school day and year, and learning materials.

Search and Find: (15 minutes)

Students are shown a group of objects—clothing and cloth-making tools—used in Olive Raynes’ time. Students are reminded of the story “The Clothes We Wear” and the natural materials (cotton, linen, wool, leather, shell, glass, and others) used to make clothes in the 1800s. Clothes worn by students are compared to 19th-century examples from the museum collection in terms of materials. Students are divided into pairs to complete a clip-board assignment, searching for objects in the six exhibit cases that are related to clothing.

Dismissal from Counting House

A museum volunteer reminds students of their upcoming Hike tour and aspects of local history explored in their museum visit that they will encounter on the tour, such as a cotton mill where cloth was made and the house where Miss Raynes actually taught school. Students from Central School are invited to carry the lessons of Miss Raynes School back to their classrooms to teach younger grades about childhood more than a century ago.

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