Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


The three R's dominated the program of the common schools until about the turn of the century. The first decade, 1900-1910, saw determined efforts made to relate the program of the common schools to the life of the child outside the school. Part of this effort can be attributed to the growing consciousness that the practices of agriculture could be improved greatly through application of scientific principles.. This also accounts for the organization and rapid development of agricultural extension services in a number of states, notably Iowa. P. G. Holden, the first director of organized extension work in Iowa, had been superintendent of schools in Michigan and appreciated the possibility of teaching agriculture in our rural schools. So in addition to several other agencies for the spread of agricultural education among farmers, he initiated a program of instruction in agriculture in the rural schools, with the cooperation of county superintendents of schools. Most of this instruction seems to have centered around club work with corn and livestock projects. Particularly noteworthy was the program in agricultural instruction developed in the rural schools of Page County. Two well-known books, Jessie Field's "The Corn Lady" and Herbert Quick's "The Brown Mouse," describe agricultural instruction at its best in Iowa's one-room rural schools.



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