It’s graduation time for Amish eighth-graders. Lancaster Online shares a closer look at Amish and Old Order Mennonite schools in Lancaster County. Last year they published something similar, covered here.
Here are 5 more things of interest from this year’s article (with comments from me in italics):
1. Different ways to get to school – there are several common ways Amish children get to school. Based on distance and road safety, these include walking, riding a scooter, and traveling by pony cart. Some Amish children even ride the bus.
2. Multiple grades in one room – The typical one-room classroom will contain all eight grades, with about 25 to 35 scholars. The teacher calls one or two grades at a time to the front for their lessons.
The other scholars work at their desks during this time. Some schools may be divided in two, with grades 1-4 in one room and 5-8 in another.
3. Each school has a school board – This is comprised of several fathers. They set pay and decide which teacher(s) to hire.
Since Amish teachers are typically young women, and usually stop teaching when they get married, finding a new teacher can be a frequently-recurring task.
4. School ends sooner – Amish in Lancaster County have the same number of school days as public schools (180). Short breaks (only two days off for Christmas) and few snow days mean they finish earlier – mid-to-late May.
By comparison, the public schools in Lancaster County have their final day about a month later, on June 15th. Amish kids also start a bit earlier, mid-to-late August vs. early September.
Days off are nice, but an early start to summer may be nicer.
5. Graduation ceremony – this is an end-of-year picnic with family attending.
Many schools hold events where parents and others might attend, notably the Christmas program.