By; Mr. Scheiderman/Instructional Paraprofessional
Ocean Academy took a school wide field trip to Allaire State Park for a day of early Industrial Village life. Students were introduced to a way of life before fast food, Smart phones, Uber or even automobiles became common everyday items. Perhaps items we often take for granted.
The Historic Village at Allaire is a non-profit organization that provides a Premiere Living History Experience in New Jersey’s post-Colonial American life. Originally called the Howell Iron Works, the village was in its time period a busy center of trade and commerce, servicing both consumer goods and industry. With a variety of different homes still standing on original foundations the village is comprised of 13 historic residences including a Church which also served as the Village School House, various craft shops, a general store and a bakery.
Ocean Academy students took seats in an early 19th century class and heard an actual academic oration given by an historical actor portraying a pre-Industrial educator. Students were shown that classroom instruction was a vastly different thing in the mid-1800’s than what they have come to experience. The significant role which punishment took in learning was explained to them and students were shown a “Dunce” hat, a tall pointed hat made out of paper which schoolchildren were sometimes made to wear. The Student would be made to sit on a stool in the front corner of the classroom while wearing the hat as a form of punishment for misbehavior, or for failing to demonstrate they had properly learned their studies. Students then visited the bakery and saw how labor-intensive early efforts were at mass producing daily goods like bread and dairy products. The General store showed students how early retail commerce operated. A visit to the Carpenter’s shop opened their eyes to a world of craftsmanship which many never knew existed.
In addition to the Historic Village at Allaire, the park also offers an impressive network of trails that wind through the property and provide opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Several moderate skill level trails are located in and around the Historic Village itself. Within the Southern end of the park are approximately 800 acres of terrain which offers challenging trails for the more advanced hikers, with miles of unmarked trails and four primary multi-use trails.
After a thorough tour of the Historic Village, students broke into groups and enjoyed several walks on the local trails, a picnic lunch and some free time to enjoy the beautiful wooded property, Staff, Students and Faculty loaded up their bus and returned to Ocean Academy. An enjoyable time was had by all classes!