Overview

Schools were important to educate settler children. There were not enough children in each community to make large schools. Many children from different grade levels would learn in one-room schoolhouses. Children would often travel to school by themselves and face challenges getting there.

A group of about 33 childen are sitting inside a one-room school house in school desks. A teacher is standing in the background.

Children from many different grade levels would learn in one-room schoolhouses.

The inside of this one-room schoolhouse has a teacher’s desk, a number of student’s desks, a chalkboard, a bench, and a water jug.

Children traveled on their own to attend one-room schoolhouses where many grade-levels were taught by one teacher.

One-room schoolhouse

The school was one of the first services in a community. The people of the community got together to build the school. The first schoolhouses consisted of one room. Grades one to eight were taught by one teacher.

The outside of this one-room school house is brick and it has a front door with steps that lead down to a grassy field.

Children from many different grade levels would learn in one-room schoolhouses.

Schools did not have good lighting and would be cold and drafty in the winter. Equipment included a blackboard, chalk and brushes, teacher’s desk and chair, desks or benches, slates, and a few textbooks.

This illustration shows the inside of a one-room schoolhouse. Students are reading at their desks, while a teacher reads next to the students.

Schoolhouses had the basic equipment for teachers to teach students.

The school was not only a place for education. Religious services were often held at the school before a church could be built. The schoolhouse was a gathering place for meetings, dances, concerts, and plays.

Children are playing various games outside of a one-room schoolhouse.

Children were able to play together outside at school.

Getting to school

Most of the students walked to school. Some students rode horseback. Others came with a horse and buggy. The schoolhouse in a rural (country) community was often built at a crossroads so it would be easier for people to get to the school.

Children walked to school. Some took shortcuts across fields and pastures. Some children got a ride with their father or with neighbours. A group of children could fit in a wagon. After heavy rains, a dirt road was often too muddy to walk on or to drive on.

Four children are standing next to a wagon that is being pulled by two horses during the winter.

These children are travelling from their farm to school near Speers, SK.

In the winter, children came in a sleigh or cutter. They kept their hands and feet warm with blankets and warm rocks or bricks wrapped in cloth. A hot baked potato also helped to keep their hands warm. Then the potato was eaten for lunch.

A horse is pulling two women in a cutter over the snow. The women are bundled up for winter weather.

In the winter, some children came to school being pulled in a sleigh.

In this wintery image, a young childen is wrapped up warm in winter clothes, while sitting on a horse in front of a wooden barn.

This photo from 1932 shows a seven-year old girl that would ride 4 kilometers each way to school in the fall and the spring.

Those who brought horses to school tied the horses up in the schoolyard or put the horses in a barn or stable. The students were responsible for providing food and water for their horses.

Three young children are in a wooden wagon that is being pulled by a team of two horses. There's a wooden house in the background.

These siblings are travelling to school in Strasbourg, SK in a buggy pulled by two horses in 1928.

A day at school

One teacher taught many grades in a rural one-room school. The main subjects were normally reading, writing, and arithmetic. Older students helped with the younger students. Text books and supplies were lacking. Some students could not speak English. Arithmetic involved counting, number facts, and story problems. Mental arithmetic (or doing math in your head) was encouraged.

A teacher is reading from her notebook, while she stands next to a chalkboard and desk. The desk has a pile of books, an apple, and a globe on it.

Teachers had a difficult job teaching many grade levels at once.

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables were practiced aloud so students could learn through drill and memory work. Poems were memorized and recited aloud. For reading, the students stood and read aloud. Students copied spelling words from the blackboard on to their slates and practiced writing the words over and over. Geography was taught if the school had maps or a globe. Sometimes they would sing songs or have a Spelling Bee.

A groupd of twenty seven students are posing for a photo in front of a wooden one-room school house.

A class posing outside their school in 1927.

A group of seventeen young kids are standing in front of a wooden one-room school house.

This photo shows a class from Grand Central School in 1916.

A teacher in the days of early settlers was expected to do many things besides teaching. The school was to be kept clean. There were extra duties for the teacher such as filling the oil lamps, cleaning the chimney, bringing in water for drinking and for washing hands, bringing in firewood, keeping the classroom warm, and sharpening the pencils.

A wooden one-room school house has the words 'Floral School ' on it.

This one-room schoolhouse photo was taken on August 24, 1947 at the Floral, SK school.

This illustration shows the inside of a one-room schoolhouse. Students are reading at their desks, while a teacher reads next to a stove.
Stove
One-room schoolhouses were heated by stoves or fireplaces.

 

Teacher’s Desk
Teachers used desks to do their work at.
Globe
A globe or map was used to teach geography.
Books
Books and textbooks were used to teach students.
Chalkboard
A chalkboard is used to show students how to read and write with letters.
Desks
Students used desks to learn at and do their schoolwork.