Learning the three ‘R’s — 1800s style

Posted November 2, 2018 at 7:09 pm

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By Julie Ann Madden

On Oct. 24, West Sioux’s Ireton kindergartners and first graders had class at the Ireton Country School — learning just as their ancestors did more than 100 years ago.

(Above) They began their school day with raising the American flag and reciting the Pledge to the Allegiance like their great-grandparents would have. Next, they returned to “today” reciting their Positive Behavior Instructional Support (PBIS) Pledge.

(Middle Top to Bottom) When they returned to the classroom, they practiced their math skills at the chalkboard — after receiving instruction in what the blackboard and chalk were and how to use them from teacher Carol Westra.

Teacher Jan Fedders taught them to read the alphabet letters using a paper replica symbolizing many students didn’t have books or paper in school.

Students had lessons on the Recitation Bench — some reading from the antique books while others pointed out their favorite pictures in the books. Students learned about the “water bucket,” metal lunch boxes and pails with sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper with an apple and homemade cookie — no potato chips and fruit snacks — often no chocolate chips for cookies either!

Teacher Marsha Brown (back in Middle Bottom photo) told students about being different — she was born without arms and uses her feet for writing with pencils and cutting with scissors. All students are different and that is good she told them.

(Far Right) Recess included playing games such as this “Clothespin Drop” led by Teacher Jolene De Boer.

Other teachers included Mary Ryan, Shirley Ten Napel, Genie Saunders and Sharole Rens.

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