The One Room Schoolhouse

Rendering by Robert Y. Larsen

The History

School House Role - (pdf version)

Rules for teachers

Primary Source Documents

Photo Album


Historic Deerfield

Iowa One Room School House

Memorial Hall

Old Sturbridge Village


Teacher's Page





School Days

In Needham’s early days, children were taught by a traveling minister, so they would be able to read the bible. These classes were held in Captain Robert Fuller’s house, today the oldest house in Needham.
Captain Robert Fuller House
Oxcart School The first schools were called "oxcart schools" because they were a small building placed on a cart and pulled by oxen. The school was pulled to the places where the most students lived. Children only went to school for four weeks, then the school moved on to a new location. Inside the school there was a wood stove in the center with chairs arranged around it.

A Day at the Schoolhouse in 1850

In the 1840s, one-room schools were opened in Needham. Each school had one teacher who lived with a family in town. The classroom was filled with students of all ages and grades. Every child had schoolhouse chores such as bringing in firewood, cleaning slates, and clapping chalk-filled erasers. On very cold days, children would carry a baked potato in their pockets to keep their hands warm. schoohouse

Today 3rd graders spend an authentic school day at the Little Red Schoolhouse. They assume the persona of a real student from 1850 and practice lessons in reading, arithmetic, memorization, elocution, and penmanship. Many students say this was one of their favorite memories from third grade.

School House Role | Clothing | Photo Album | Rules for teachers

The Little Red Schoolhouse was built in 1842 and is Needham’s only surviving one-room school. Originally it was the Upper Falls School House and was located at 278 Central Ave. before it was moved to its current location at the Needham Historical Society’s complex in 2005.
Moving the schoohouse

Kathleen Martell, Instructional Technology Specialist
Needham Public Schools, Needham MA
Updated October 2011