The Aztec Empire was a civilization in central Mexico that thrived in the time before the arrival of European explorers during the Age of Exploration. Throughout its history as a civilization the Aztec Empire expanded across much of central Mexico and other surrounding areas, to become the most dominant and powerful people in the region. Tenochtitlan, the main Aztec city (or altepetl), was the center of this vast empire.
Education was an important part of daily life for the young people of the Aztec Empire. All children attended schools where they were taught the traditions and history of their people. In fact, education was free for all people regardless of their social class. At first, Aztec children were taught by their parents, until they were in their teens when they attended schools.
As they grew up, Aztec boys received an education that ultimately prepared them for battle and service in the Aztec military. For instance, boys between the ages of ten and twenty were required to attend school. Boys of the lower classes attended schools called Telpochcalli. While the boys from the nobility attended schools called Calmecac. The Telpochcalli schools focused on preparing the boys for warfare and teaching the boys how to use different weapons, while the Calmecac schools prepared the noble boys to be leaders in the military, priesthood and government. Aztec religion was also a central component of these schools, as children were taught the different gods and traditions related to each. For instance, they were instructed to recite the correct songs and poems related to each festival and practiced different dances for different religious ceremonies. Children of the pipiltin (nobility) were also instructed in how to play the famous ballgame that was common throughout much of Mesoamerica.
At the age of fifteen, the boys began training with weaponry and would often accompany more experienced warriors into battle, but they did not participate in the fighting. As well, it was during this time that the boys would usually seek the guidance from an experienced warrior to act as a mentor. Finally, when the boys were approximately twenty years old they joined the military ranks and became an Aztec warrior.
Girls also attended school in the Aztec Empire but not the same ones as boys. Instead of focusing on warfare and weapons, girls were instructed in housekeeping. With that said, girls would also be taught the religious traditions and history of the Aztec Empire. For, instance they were instructed to learn the songs and poems of the different religious festivals and ceremonies and learned to dance.
These schools were important for developing and fostering the Aztec culture among its people.