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Year 2 Comparing Life in the Victorian Days to Now

Hi Y2, Please read through the information and answer the questions at the end. I look forward to reading your comments :)

Why did children go to work?

Many Victorian children were poor and worked to help their families. Few people thought this was strange or cruel. Families got no money unless they worked, and most people thought work was good for children. The Industrial Revolution created new jobs, in factories and mines. Many of these jobs were at first done by children, because children were cheap – a child was paid less than adults (just a few pennies for a week’s work).

When did children start work?

Many children started work at the age of 5, the same age as children start school today. They went to work as soon as they were big enough. Even a tiny child could feed chickens. Older brothers and sisters took small children to work, perhaps to a factory at the end of the street. Other children worked at home, doing jobs such as washing, sewing, sticking labels on bottles or making brushes.

 What was a Victorian classroom like?

There were maps and perhaps pictures on the wall. There would be a globe for geography lessons, and an abacus to help with sums. Children sat in rows and the teacher sat at a desk facing the class. At the start of the Victorian age, most teachers were men, but later many women trained as teachers.
Children wrote on slates with chalk. They wiped the slate clean, by spitting on it and rubbing with their coat sleeve or their finger! Slates could be used over and over. For writing on paper, children used a pen with a metal nib, dipped into an ink well.

How were children punished?

Discipline in schools was often strict. Children were beaten for even minor wrongdoings, with a cane, on the hand or bottom. A teacher could also punish a child by making them stand in the corner wearing a ‘dunce’s cap’. Another, very boring, punishment was writing ‘lines’. This meant writing out the same sentence (such as ‘Schooldays are the happiest days of my life’ 100 times or more.


Toys in poor homes

Most Victorian toys were made of wood, paper or metal. There were no plastic toys. Poor children usually played with home-made toys. A clothes peg might be turned into a doll, and a lump of wood become a toy boat. A piece of rope could be used for skipping, and rags stuffed with sawdust might become a ball or an animal to cuddle. As a treat, families sometimes bought cheap factory-made toys from a ‘penny stall’ in the market.

CHALLENGE: How is your life different to a Victorian child’s?

42 responses to “Year 2 Comparing Life in the Victorian Days to Now”

  1. Hosanna N.

    Our life now is different from victorian days life because now at the age of 5 we start school.Children are not allowed to go to work.
    Classrooms today are nothing like victorian days, we are never beaten and we don’t clean the board with our clothes and we use pencils. Also, our toys today are so much fun, they didn’t have electronics toys, theirs were made by old clothes, wood paper or metal. It sounds so boring.

  2. Ebrar Y.

    Victorian children go to work so they can have enough money but we don’t have to go work become we have enough money.
    Victorian children make their own toys but we don’t because we go to shop and we buy it.
    Victorian children well being naughty children at school they was punishment by small wrongdoings but we are not.

  3. Ziad H.

    Victorian children used to work but we don’t, they had separate tables at school, their homes were made out of wood and bad materials and their toys as well.

  4. Amaal H.

    In the Victorian era kids were whipped with sticks and we are not.
    Victorian day was very fun!

  5. Fareha H.

    Money Victorian children were poor and worked to help there families.
    Many children started work at age of 5.
    It was dark.
    They sat on the DC chair .
    Most Victorian toys were made of wood and paper.
    They don’t have TV we have TV.
    They start working at age of five we go to school .

    1. Faith A.

      The Victorian kids hard no money because they are very poor, so they have no Choice down to worked very hard, to support there families, alot of kids worked very early age, they sat on the dc chair why some sat on them floor does days, most Victorian toys were made of wood, and paper, they don’t have TV, no mobile phone to communicate, sometimes no light always in dark., but this new generation will have light steady 24 hours.

  6. Minsa M.

    My life is full of fun and exciting things but in Victorian times child used to work hard and feed their families.
    We go to school and learn and have friendly teachers and kind environment and no worries about anything but in Victorian times even when children used to go to school they used to be punished on every single mistakes. Ans the teachers were cruel as well.

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