The earliest reference to education in Woodland Township dates to 1856. At that time, owing to the township being sparsely settled, it contained two districts. The number of children residing in the township of school age was 97. The average number of months school was opened was 8.5. One male teacher and two females were employed at an average salary of $33.00 per month.
According to the scholars who attended the school in Chatsworth at this time, it was equipped with a big coal stove in the middle of the room. The teacher’s desk was in the front. Children sat in desks that accommodated 2 or 3. There were two benches along the rear of the room on which a pail of water, dipper and basin were kept. The water was carried from the nearest house by two children placing a stick under the handle of the pail in order to carry it. Everyone used the same dipper. If the water was spilled on the way, the children had to return home and refill the pail. They didn’t mind this, as they were able to get out of work. In order to get to school, children had to walk or the parents brought them in a horse and wagon.
The teacher was an elderly man who boarded with the various families. In his job as a teacher he was also janitor. He was very strict. He was known for giving whippings. He didn’t always know the children who caused the trouble but a whipping was administered. There were about 60 to 65 pupils ranging in age from 5 to 16. School hours were 9:00 to 5:00 with an hour for lunch. Books were provided but the pupils had to bring slates, pencil or paper.
A new two room school was built in Chatsworth in 1915. Some of the scholars remember the strictness of the teacher in this school. Knuckles were often cracked with a ruler. The older, unruly boys liked to throw erasers and aim for the stove pipe so it would come out the chimney. Others recall running out of school into the nearby woods when they heard the doctor was coming. Vaccinations were not compulsory then and they feared having it done.
Burlington County proposed a county unit organization which equally distributed taxes to urban and rural areas too. Woodland Township saw benefit of these changes and started to move forward. In the early 1920’s, health care was incorporated in the curriculum and the board of education provided transportation to school for pupils who lived a great distance away from school.