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Ancient Greek Schools Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

Did you know Ancient Greek kids went to school like you do? In this lesson you will learn about the Ancient Greek schools, the students who attended them, and what was learned during the school day.

The Bell Has Rung

Close your eyes and imagine a day at school. What do you see, hear, touch? Did you see desks in the classroom and a teacher writing on a board? Did you hear other kids, both boys and girls, talking, and a bell ringing to start your day? Did you touch a pencil and a notebook? Did it remind you of the picture?


Example of a day at school
School Day


Now I want you to imagine going to a school day outside under a tree sitting on the ground, or in a small, one room building with only benches and a chair for the teacher. There are no girls in sight. You have no desks, pencils, scissors, or glue to use, just a wooden pen and a piece of wooden board covered in wax to write on. This was a school day for the Ancient Greek boys.


Example of a day at school for Ancient Greek boys
Ancient Greek day at school


Ancient Greek Schools

Yes, Ancient Greek schools were only allowed for boys, who often studied between the ages of 7 to 14, though they might continue until they were 20. Girls were not allowed to attend school, except in Sparta. The girls stayed at home with their mothers and learned about housekeeping and looking after their family. It wasn't all boys either, only the ones that came from wealthy (rich) families because Ancient Greek school was not free. Doesn't seem very fair does it?

The Ancient Greek boys were taught in a very small school, just one room with only one teacher. There were only 10 to 20 boys in the classroom and no school supplies were needed. The Ancient Greek boys were normally taught from the heart, meaning not using books. If they needed to write, they used wooden boards covered in many layers of wax and a stylus, or a wooden pen, that was pointy on one end to write and flat on the other to rub off or erase their mistakes.

Ancient Greek School Day

When you imagined a day at school, did you think about learning the different subjects such as Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies? Or maybe you just thought about the fun classes of Physical Education, Art, or Music. Ancient Greek boys did start their day off the same as you with learning to read, write, and do simple math. However, they did not use as many books as you use during your school day. They often learned from the heart, meaning learning from what the teacher or other students knew.

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