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Then & Now: Life at Milton Hershey School

Providing a life experience that takes into consideration the whole-child approach has been the priority of Milton Hershey School since its founding in 1909 as the Hershey Industrial School.

Life at the school looks different now than when the first children enrolled in 1910, but Milton Hershey’s goal remains the same, “We want to help [children] of the masses to become good American citizens—farmers, artisans and some of them perhaps businessmen, ultimately—leaders in the mercantile, industrial and social life of their communities.”

MHS Elementary Division students in 1914

From waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night, MHS students have the opportunity to grow personally and reach their greatest potential.

Here is what daily life was like for kindergarteners in the mid-1920s.

Into this division, we place our little tots under school age. They are taken care of by housemothers, whose greatest ambition is to mother their babies. These boys are four and five years of age.

6:00 a.m. – Students rise

Mornings – Froebel and Montessori Systems for Education

Afternoons – Games and Songs

5:00 p.m. – Dinnertime

7:00 p.m. – Bedtime

Here is what daily life looks like for current Elementary Division students in 2020.

Our staff is here to assist with everything from basic needs to homesickness. In this caring setting, students learn the structure of our academic program. They move toward greater self-sufficiency.

6:15 a.m. – Students rise and make beds
7:00 a.m. – Devotions
7:05 a.m. – Breakfast in the student home
7:30 a.m. – Clean up and student home responsibilities
7:50 a.m. – Arrive at school
8:00 a.m. – Homeroom
8:18 a.m. – Classes begin
3:10 p.m. – Classes end; Return to student home
5:00 p.m. – Dinner in the student home
6:00 p.m. – Free time
7:30-9 p.m. – Bedtime (*time varies based on age)

These areas of focus for developing the whole child are featured in stories shared by students and a young alumna in the new Life at MHS exhibit in the Founders Hall Visitors Center.

Life at MHS Pillars Intro

The new visitor experience features films about Life at MHS, told by students and an alumna. Learn about Home Life, extra-curricular activities, a top-notch education, our career technical programs, and life after Milton Hershey School.


Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.