in South east Asia it is usually that young boys join the pagoda life. Some of them are very young but mostly more serious in practice as many adults. They would spend there whole time in the monastrie, serving the monks, cleaning, preparing the food, making the daily procedure for layman. In there "free" time they would chant and learn the suttas, less they would be taught in the meaning of them. The normal way of learning in Asia is observing and reflecting. No moment more happiness, as if the chief monk tell one that he will be taken as a Sramana when the next ordination will take its happening.
Here is a book with contains the main things for novices:
Just that! *smile* ...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html
BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_