Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Talgarth and district
Victorian school days
 
  Talking about the elephant  
 

One of the more unusual subjects included in the timetable of most Victorian schools was the "Object Lesson". Head teachers were supplied each year with lists of approved "objects" to suit the different age groups or "Standards" in the school.
These lessons were usually given once a week, and the teacher had a set of cards with pictures of the particular objects being described in the lessons. This list of object lessons is from the Log Book of Pengenfford School in 1887...

Rabbit
5th August
1887
Most of the approved lists of "Object Lessons" to be found in school Log Books include a mixture of things children might see every day, and exotic animals like the lion or elephant which were not often seen in Wales !
  "List of Object Lessons for the Year" Tiger engraving
  "Cow
Sheep
Horse
Dog
Cat
Elephant
Rabbit
Hen
Tree
A House
Garden
Loaf
School
Water
Day & Night"
 
Perhaps it's a bit on the big side,
but it is a Victorian cat picture !
 

As well as picture cards, some schools had fitted wooden boxes containing actual specimens of some suitable objects, and models of animals.
Although the lists seem like a strange mixture nowadays, if the lessons were done well they could be useful for teaching simple science by letting children handle materials like glass or iron and learn about their different qualities and uses.
The range of subjects also covered natural history and geography by including animals from faraway lands.

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