Kids & Family:Stories for Kids
Victorians: The Life of a Child in the Victorian Period
Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of children in Victorian times. We learn what school was like (not very nice!), what jobs they did (yucky ones!) and what they did for fun.
Ellie has a Victorian day coming up at school. She has to dress up as a Victorian school girl. So she and Sophie decide to explore what life was like back then. We start by learning about the huge changes that happened during Queen Victoria’s long reign. Incredible inventions like the steam ship and the telephone occur and huge changes like the growth of the British Empire happen. This is a time of enormous change.
But the lives of children changes too.
We learn how the lives of rich children and poor children are very different. Rich children are educated at home by the governesses before the boys are sent to boarding school. Ellie is outraged to learn that rich girls are rarely sent to school.
Poor children are increasingly sent to school by Victorians. But the classes are huge. Sometimes 70 or 80 children in the class with only one teacher. As a result the teachers are very strict. The girls are fascinated by the punishments that the school teachers use - from lines to caning to a dunce cap.
We also learn about the jobs that children used to do. Everything from cleaning up horse poo to clambering up chimneys or working in factories. Much of it is very dangerous or horrid work.
But it’s not all work and no play. The Victorians invent the idea of a holiday. Children from the cities get to visit the new playgrounds of the seaside which are turned into fun resorts. More children’s toys are invented and a new type of book is written – the Children’s book. Incredible stories such as Treasure Island, the Jungle Book and Peter Pan are written.
But when all is said and done the girls decide that Victorian life is not for them. It’s too strict and not fun enough.
This episode has a strong link to Key Stage 1 (KS1) topic work. And in fact, both girls have studied the life of a Victorian child at school and dressed up as a Victorian child.
If you liked this episode you might also like our Florence Nightingale episode.
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