Dame School

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DAME SCHOOL, a type of school transplanted to some of the American colonies from England, usually conducted by a woman in her home. Young children of the neighborhood were taught the alphabet, the horn-book, elements of reading, and moral and religious subjects. In New England, such schools prepared boys for admission to the town schools, which would not receive them until they could "stand up and read words of two syllables and keep their places." The "dame school" pre-figured women's central role in the public school system and the professionalization of education in the nineteenth century.


Monaghan, E. Jennifer. "Literacy Instruction and Gender in Colonial New England." American Quarterly 40 (March 1988): 18–41.

Sugg, Redding S. Motherteacher: The Feminization of American Education. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978.

Edgar W.Knight/a. r.

See alsoColonial Society ; Women in Public Life, Business, and Professions .