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One Room Country Schools

Caroline Wheels of Time Museum
Caroline, Alberta

In the rolling foothills of Alberta, there were at one time 14 country schools around Caroline, a small town just east of the Rockies, each school the hub of its community, where children learned lifelong lessons of honesty, thrift, respect and citizenship and neighbours gathered for pie socials and picnics. This exhibit tells their story, from 1908 when the first schoolhouse opened in Caroline until the last of the country schools closed its doors, relegated to history by the school buses that carried children to Carolineís new, much larger central school. A Day At School begins as children are called to class, O Canada is sung, the flag saluted, the Lordís Prayer repeated and roll call taken. Students take out their primers, the teacher begins the dayís lesson in reading, writing or arithmetic until recess, when students gladly spill out to the school yard to delight in a variety of activities, then back to class, lessons sometimes interrupted by punishment for misdemeanors or civic tasks like counting coupons for the war effort. At the end of the day, or on weekends, the schoolhouse might host entire families at a glorious Christmas concert or a celebratory end-of-the-year picnic. The entire community might be invited to a fundraising Pie or Box Social, events which didnít end until dancing feet grew weary in the wee hours of the morning. This Community Memories exhibit at the Caroline Wheels of time Museum explores vividly in artifacts, photos and stories the country schools of a time long ago.



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