The Flowerfield School
Attending 1880s Classes A Right Of Passage For Panhandle Fourth-Graders
September 9, 2021
The Flowerfield School experience has been a right of passage for Panhandle fourth-graders since 1987.
Flowerfield School is part of the Banner County Museum complex located in Harrisburg, just 25 miles north of Kimball. Although the daily scheduling and organization are done by ESU #13 in Scottsbluff, about 30 schools participate in the annual experience. ESU 13 provides objectives, background information for the teachers, and the curriculum for the day-long activity.
Throughout the state of Nebraska, fourth graders study the history of Nebraska, so a day participating in school as it was in the 1880s is a special treat and a realistic field trip to be treasured.
Flowerfield was a voting precinct that included the school and is in the southwestern part of Banner County.
The original Flowerfield School building was discovered being used as a chicken coop on a Banner County farm. After it was found, it was donated, moved to the museum, then renovated, re-roofed, re-chinked, and furnished like a pioneer school.
On Sept. 2, the Kimball fourth graders spent their day as pioneer kids and attended a day of school at Flowerfield. Due to COVID, Flowerfield School trips were canceled last year, so later in the month, the fifth graders will get to experience the pioneer school also.
The daily schedule is as close to the pioneer days as possible. They start each day with patriotic exercises. The students recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. At Flowerfield School, according to the curriculum, the pledge "will be rendered in the original manner as described by older teachers in our area and by the Collier's Encyclopedia.
Students will stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. On repeating the words "to the flag," the right hand should be extended, palm upward, toward the flag." The instructions continued " Flowerfield students will omit the world "under God" when say the pledge." The words "under God" were added to the pledge in 1954.
Students then have reading with the McGruffy Readers, orthography (spelling and writing), and penmanship. Later in the morning, the lessons revolve around geography/history, arithmetic, and personal hygiene.
After eating the lunch they brought with them, the students tour the museum, study literature, art appreciation, and have a spelling bee.
In addition to the school and church, the Banner County Museum includes a historic museum building, machine shed, log house, rock building which is the general store, drug store, bar, service station, and the old Banner County Bank.
The rules for students in 1887 included using proper langue such as "Ma'am, May I please . . .?, and abiding by the Golden Rule: "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you."
The phrase "silence is golden" was said by the teacher and heard by the students more than once during the day.