To introduce and ignite our new topic, Year 3 visited an authentic Victorian classroom in the Ragged School Museum last week. We stepped back in time to the year 1889, formed separate lines of boys and girls and silently filed into one of Dr Barnardo’s original classrooms. We had to work hard for our rather strict Victorian teacher Miss Perkins and although someone had to wear the Dunce’s hat, at least no one received the cane. In fact, we were all very relieved to learn from Miss Perkins that Dr Barnardo would not allow the cane to be used as punishment. There was much to do in our lesson – hands were checked for cleanliness and then sums were answered on slates and the alphabet recited and copied in copperplate. All was conducted in complete silence, and Miss Perkins reminded us that although, “Speech is silver, silence is golden”. Next we visited a reconstructed Victorian kitchen, handled artefacts and found out how hard life would have been at home for poor Victorian children. We could only imagine the long hours it would have taken to wash and dry clothes, carrying up heavy buckets of water to put on the fire.
Our next destination was the Museum of Childhood where we had a short quiz to complete, looking at the different types of Victorian toys. Amongst the varied cabinets we spotted some more familiar toys from our own era and there was even time to play with some of the toys on display.
The children very much enjoyed their day experiencing life as a poor Victorian child, but were relieved to arrive back at Summercroft in 2019. Who knows, maybe lessons will be a little quieter from now on!