|Children of the noble class
attended a calmecac, a school for noble children that was attached
to the temples. Girls and boys went to separate calmecac schools.
The children learned to live prudently, to govern, and to understand
the history and ways of their elders, under strict priestly
guidance. Learning in the calmecac was essential for advancement
within the imperial administration.
|The Macehualtin (literally "workers":
tradespeople, peasants, and builders) children attended a local
school, called telpochcalli. There they were taught basic occupational
skills, the elements of warfare, and good citizenship. The children
learned the fundamentals of their history and religion.
|Some Macehualtin children who
were bright were sent to a calmecac, where they would have more
emphasis placed on scholarship in preparation for advanced careers.
|At fifteen (15), boys attended
either a calmecac or a cuicacalli. The calmecac was run by priests
who taught religious and administrative subjects. Calmecac pupils
also had extra religious duties, as well as lessons in history,
astronomy, poetry, and writing. The cuicacalli was more of a
military school. All boys were trained in war and there was great
rivalry between the schools, often leading to fights. In addition
to their schooling all boys also had to work hard on their family's
Aztec girls were mainly taught at home and
began spinning at four (4) and cooking at twelve (12). Their
education was basically a training for marriage, although noble
girls spent a year at twelve (12) or thirteen (13) helping in
the temple, and some became professional priestesses. Women took
little direct part in public life, but had a lot of influence
behind the scenes.
|Aztec fathers and mothers raised
their children with care, making sure the children knew their
responsibilities and mastered the necessary life skills. They
warned the children against the vices of gambling and theft,
gossip and drink, and when the children misbehaved, the punishment
was painful. One form of punishment had the parent holding their
child over a chili pepper fire and forcing them to inhale the
chili pepper smoke.