Monday Memories: My First School

My first school was Clayton Valley Elementary in Concord California

I attended school there from Kindergarten through 6th grade beginning in 1955
The principal's name was Mr. Gas the first 6 years.  
Later when I was in the 6th grade we had a new principal, Mr. Martin.  
Neither was feared by me. 

Here is a view of the front of the school  that I have taken from the web
It is no longer a public school, its now a private school and it looks nearly the same.

I can well remember raising the flag here as part of the Safety Patrol team.  In back to the left the large building was our Auditorium and lunch room.  It was called the Multi-Use room.  We also had indoor gym and I remember learning folk dancing inside those four walls.  At the far end from your view here, inside there was a stage with a dark velvet curtain.  The tables for lunch were folded into the wall and brought down every day.  The Janitor had a large key to unlock it and then pull it out where it made two tables.with attached benches.  

Below  these are the classrooms just off the right of the photo above.  They were the kindergarten rooms.  This is the view from the back side of the classroom where there was an enclosed playground dedicated to this class alone.  
It was bright inside with all the windows.  

My teacher in 1955 was Mrs. Logston
She was older and had gray hair.  I liked her but don't remember interacting much.  We were mostly herded as a group. There were several helpers every day, probably mothers.  

It was purely a play time, there were no lessons

  I remember the day was a morning session only.  We had to take a nap in the middle of the morning for a brief time and we stored our towel/mat in wooden built in cubbies. Each cubby had a picture and our name was below the opening.  We stored our mat and sweater or coats in them and papers to take home.

There were tall wooden easels for painting with a tray in front to hold pots of poster paint that was mixed from powder.  Large brushes were used and huge sheets of paper were tacked up.on the board.  We didn't paint often enough, it was my favorite activity.  Each easel was free standing and build like an A frame.  Children painted from both sides.  

Long short tables and chairs were arranged in a U pattern on one side of the classroom.  We played with clay some days and I remember doing finger painting at the table.  A starch was poured on paper and drips of color added by the teacher.  Our clothing was protected by wearing a backwards men's shirt. 

At the tables every day most of the children had graham crackers for a snack.  Some children brought in money for milk with the crackers and they were seated separately at a round table.  There were very few at the table.  Most children only had the graham crackers. 

These were the classrooms for the older grades.,  Notice that the whole wall was windows.  The classrooms were very light.  This was the back of the building.  They were all connected by a network of covered hallways 

Here you can see the covered hall on the left side and  window side on the right./  There were no fences like you see here when I went to school.  

Here is a photo of the covered hallways.  In California the weather was mild so it was only rain we had to contend with .  I remember walking up to the school after hours or on Saturday or during the day in summer and roller skating on the smooth walkways.  

 This picture clearly shows the pipes that held up the ceiling and the horizontal pipe that kept us off the lawns back in my day (these are pictures off the web and I have no idea who these people are)

The horizontal pipe is important as we often sat on them, walked on them and laid across them on our tummies and did little forward rolls.  All illegal of course.  But the school grounds were open so they were available to us to play at during the summer and before and after school.  

Here you can see how light the classrooms were.  The ceilings were high and green blackboards lined the front wall and the wall to the right where the door way was out to the open covered walkway 

Another shot below of the outside windows.  You can see how high the ceilings were!

I have found all these photos online on the Facebook of the private school.  It's amazing how well built it was, it was almost 60 years ago that I first went to school there and it wasn't a new school.  

Read here on Memory Monday about other people who wrote about their first school


Empty Nester said…
There were no fences around my school either. Not at all like today. I had to search all over the internet for a picture of my old school. Now I'm curious as to why I can't find any pictures of it. LOL
Thank you for joining in. I remember the paints that had to be mixed from powder, the easels as well as the special aprons we had to put on when we painted.
You sure have a good memory of your first school. This looks so much like my first school, Lincoln Elementary in Cupertino, CA. I think it's still there, but I have no idea what it looks like today. Thanks for sharing.
Patty said…
There is a school down here in Southern CA that looks exactly like the older side of our elementary school. Every time I see those same walls, windows and even the same pine trees growing next to it, it reminds me of our school. I was in that building in 5th grade when we found out that JFK had been killed. The "old" side of our school was torn down to build apartments. I'm glad there is still one like it to bring back memories!
LA Botchar said…
I never thought about the addition of fences. My children's school has the entire primary area fenced in - they have a separate playground. but the main playground has a fence on only 3 sides.
I can remember singing the National anthem and saying the Lord's Prayer every morning. They only sing O Canada now. I think it would not have been too hard to keep a moment of silence for each person to say their own kind of prayer -- or to just stand quietly. It's kinda sad we've let that go.
Rebecca said…
You DO have some pretty amazing memories! I realize I don't remember my kindergarten & 1st grade school. I remember the was in Chicago. We moved to small town then - and I DO have memories of THAT one.

What I DO remember about either K or 1st grade was music class - learning keyboard with a foldable cardboard keyboard. Sure wish I still had it. I've loved piano & keyboarding ever since...
Diane Writes said…
Priceless! I always love reading stories that relieve those unadulterated happy memories.

Wishing you a great weekend ahead!
Cheryl said…
That brought back memories for me too.... milk and graham crackers, painting on those easels. What about when they let you do finger painting? The smell of starch... good times, good times!
big hugs,

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