Open Air Schools — Kill Those Germs

It’s getting a bit nippy out. This reminds of Open Air Schools. The concept of these schools began a little later than the 1800’s which time period I normally research.

Open Air Schools started in Germany in the early 1900’s to help treat children suffering from tuberculosis, also known as consumption or “the white plague.” The idea behind no heat was that winter killed or froze all germs. The first school of this sort in the United States was in Providence, Rhode Island in 1908. In 1914, Dr. W.K. Kellogg joined the open air school movement in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. In the year 1910 alone, 3,016 residents in Michigan died of tuberculosis.

The day in Battle Creek for the twenty-four students started with cold water showers, usually not lasting more than ten seconds. They then climbed back into their street clothing and into their wool Hudson Bay “Eskimo suits” they wore as school uniforms. They started their lessons at 9 a.m. and left the building at 4 p.m. During the day, the windows were left wide open. The children, in grades 2-5, also climbed into wool sleeping bags each day for two one-hour naps. For whatever reason, a number of the children benefited enough to healthily return to their regular classrooms.

Also encouraged in this line of clean winter air were flexible tent-like tubes one would wrap around their heads, sticking the other end out the open window.

Please raise your hands if you plan on sleeping with your windows opened tonight as the temperature dips into the twentys or teens.

One thought on “Open Air Schools — Kill Those Germs

  1. Wow, not sure what would happen if I slept with the windows open all night or taught with them open all day LOL
    But I do agree that there are lots of contaminants in heated air and there’s always someone sick everywhere you go. How ’bout you try the open air system for 24 hrs. and let me know how you feel first, k?
    I’m chicken!

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