This is a project to enable modern students to find out first-hand what the ancient world was really like by attending a re-created ancient school. Based on meticulous research into schooling in the ancient world (much of it conducted at the University of Reading), the Reading ancient schoolroom takes place in a replica of an ancient classroom, in which all participants wear Roman costumes and use replica ancient writing materials including wax tablets, styluses, reed pens, inkwells, ostraca, and papyrus. Students practise the type of exercises that were commonly done in ancient schools (normally in English, though Latin and Greek are also available on request), and do so in a setting that uses the ancient rather than modern educational conventions. These conventions include a mixed-age classroom in which each student is engaged in a different task, no lecturing from the teacher, and students working individually at their own pace.
The ancient schoolroom is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, which allows us to travel to schools.
We offer visits both for primary and secondary schools and most of our activities are available for all ages and abilities. Would you like us to visit your school? If so, please let us know! You can find out more about the activities available here. We will have to charge for visits, but as charges will be per day rather than per pupil they should be more cost-effective for large groups than the on-campus ancient schoolroom. The price will depend on how large a team we need to bring, how much equipment is needed, and how far we have to travel.
You can watch a short (8-minute) film about the schoolroom here: https://youtu.be/gjelkRKnJOQ. The film was made by Motion Blurr films (thank you Motion Blurr!), commissioned by the University of Reading (thank you Reading!), and features students from Dolphin School (thank you Dolphin!!!). A 1-minute clip is also available here: https://youtu.be/AdH6d63Y9zE.