Agriculture In The Classroom: Early 1900s Style

John Hillison
1998 Journal of Agricultural Education  
In the early 1980s John Block, former secretary of Agriculture, advocated the use of agriculture as a teaching medium in elementary schools for a program called Agriculture in the Classroom. What he accomplished was revitalization of a concept almost 70 years old. Bricker noted the popularity of agricultural instruction in elementary schools as early as 19 11. By 195 1, 2 1 states required agricultural instruction in rural elementary schools. Many schools followed the teaching of Prestalozzi
more » ... g of Prestalozzi and used hands-on activities such as gardens. Schools were successful in integrating agricultural concepts into the academic areas of literature, mathematics, art, and science. Projects such as grading apples were for secondary vocational agriculture students. Others used nature-study as a means of teaching elementary children about agriculture. General agreement was that the source of teachers for the program should be normal schools, where some developed a specialty area in rural instruction. Today's supporters of Agriculture in the Classroom must look past the early 1980s for the beginning and learn from its history that is has gone through many forms and a great deal of evolution in order to be the successful program it has become. The foregoing will suggest a field for the work in elementary agriculture, or naturestudy, in the elementary school. (pp. l-3) The instruction of agriculture in elementary schools had grown to the point that by 1915 Monahan and Lane could report that 21 states required such instruction in rural schools, and half required such instruction in urban schools. The states were Alabama,
doi:10.5032/jae.1998.02011 fatcat:j4z6yhnjgvc2zotxjhotmpcaym