Sunday School Rules
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Sunday School Rules
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Original Sunday School

Original Sunday SchoolInitially, Robert Raikes (1736-1811) paid qualified professionals to teach in Sunday school but as the demand grew a volunteer force took over. The first teachers' book of Sunday school rules, was called "A Sunday Scholar's Companion" (Volume 5 1859) and introduced basic words, short prayers and some hymns to eager young minds.

Reading and Writing

Portrait of William ShakespeareThere were no schools for ordinary working people in the eighteenth century so the Sunday schools initially taught children to read and write the alphabet and to learn their numbers. The teachers used what books they had at the time like the Bible, the hymn book and the prayer book. As well as these readings they were engaged with books like "Self-Conquest" and "Sketches in Natural History." These study materials included "Insects - their means of defense" and "Sketches of Great Men" highlighting for example the playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) who lived a good life and died in the faith of the Church of England.

Clean Hands Combed Hair

Singing ChildrenFew rules were laid down for the children in those early days. "All that I require," wrote Raikes, "are clean hands, clean faces and their hair combed," adding, "If you have no clean shirt, come in what you have on." He frowned on cursing and swearing, encouraging kindness and obedience to parents. So began the Sunday school Movement and with it the new voluntary role of the Sunday school teacher within the church that survives even to this day.

"Sunday School Rules"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2019

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