How and when do children go to school in The Giver?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


In Jonas's community, children go to school from a young age and continue until they reach adulthood, but the training changes.  Early training focuses on teaching children to be obedient and use language properly.  This begins at the toddler age.  Babies are raised by Nurturers until they reach about a year old (although "one year" varies, depending on when they were born in the year, and some children are older than others when they join the group of ones).  Toddlers are raised by their families except when their parents are at work, when they are in Childcare groups.

When school begins, the lessons focus more and more on proper use of language and obeying social norms.  The goal is to make the children as much the same as possible.  Each year, they have a ceremony where all of the children born in a year are given different objects that symbolize growth to adulthood.  These include tunics that button in the front and  bicycles.  At some ceremonies they give up items, such as hair ribbons and the comfort objects they attain when they are babies.

As children get older, they begin to volunteer with adults in careers.  They choose the service, and are supposed to vary it when they first begin.  As they get older, they gravitate toward areas of interest.  At the same time, they are observed constantly by the Committee.  When they turn 12, they are assigned to their adult careers.

After 12, school continues and training begins after school.  As the children get older, they attend school less and less and training more and more, until they are fully trained and begin their adult career.