Coming together is a beginning…
Keeping together is progress…
Working together is Success!
The above words caught my eye upon entering the Glen Rock Amish School near Adamsville. The peacefulness filling the classroom was very noticeable and unusual for a school setting. Students and teachers talked in very soft voices to promote the calm atmosphere.
Being respectful of their beliefs, no pictures were taken of the students or teachers. A gas well on the property supplied fuel to heat the classroom. The solar panel on the school roof generated enough power to light the room well, and perfectly clean outdoor restroom facilities were located behind the school.
Students arrived in the morning by horse drawn cart or buggy. Older brothers and sisters were responsible for bringing young ones to school. They brought along their lunch buckets, which often contain a sandwich, cookie and fruit. An oven is available in the classroom if part of their lunch needs to be heated.
School days last from 8-3, beginning in September through part of May. One classroom holds 31 students from first to eighth grade, the last grade Amish children are required to attend. Three young teachers oversee their work.
Another sign on the wall showed their deep base in religion as learning Bible verses is part of their curriculum.
Bible memories are ‘ beary’ good.
On the wall beside this saying, cards for each student indicated how many Bible verses they had learned. German spelling papers hung on the walls as well, since they learn to write English and German, which is used in prayer and church services.
With a few soft words from the teacher, students moved smoothly to one side of the room and shared the old traditional school desks with inkwell hole and pencil holder at the top, and fold down seat. Song books were passed down the rows and students joined in singing two songs of religious nature, one of them being ‘Mansion Over the Hilltop’.
All of the students appeared to be in great physical condition. The obesity problem noticed throughout the United States was not evident in this Amish school setting. They did have a basic playground of merry-go-round, slide and swings, and the children eagerly ran outside to play.
Recess gave children a chance to play their favorite games. Older students played volleyball while the younger ones engaged in a game called “Rabbit”, similar to dodge ball, but with a very soft ball.
A hand pump supplied water for students and the classroom. They were eager to help others fill their personal cup with water using this hand pump. Behaviors, such as splashing or unkind words, did not exist on their playground.
When asked what they liked best about school, several said spelling and learning their Bible verses. The Golden Rule posted in the classroom provides their guide for daily life.
In the evening students look forward to going home to tend their animals. You could see the pride and excitement on their faces as they talked about their rabbits, goats, horses, and chickens.
This feeling of freedom in a peaceful manner brings thoughts of a simpler life long ago. In this Amish school setting, their basic education system provides not only the three Rs, but also life lessons for being harmonious, caring individuals as they learn to live by the Golden Rule.
As one teacher expressed, “We are thankful we have our own schools.” Some day these students will realize what a blessing their education has provided.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all would attempt to live by the Golden Rule?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.