What Are Some of the Facts About Colonial Education?

What Are Some of the Facts About Colonial Education?

Colonists were educated through different methods between the upper and lower classes, with upper-class children receiving education in literacy, mathematics and prayer, and lower-class children ending up in apprenticeships. These apprenticeships lasted for up to 10 years at a time and were a way for the impoverished colonists to learn how to survive a colony's harsh everyday life. Lower-class children did not receive much literary or religious education as a result of this disparity.

Religion played a central role in how Western education developed in the early years of the United States. The Puritans, a fundamentalist Protestant sect, used education to allow followers to reach proper salvation, and religion was not a separate component in schools as a result. While teachers were not typically part of the clergy and were therefore considered secondary, they fell under a great deal of scrutiny in terms of their moral character and responsibilities to the Church.

In 1647, a law was passed that required all towns of 50 households or more to establish a school and pay the teacher through public or private currency. Once the town reached twice that size, it was required to create a secondary school to prepare students for Harvard.