Schools of South Central Saskatchewan
Circa 1914 - 1949
Assiniboia & District Museum
The early settlers in the South Central Saskatchewan had their priorities right. After building their humble home and a shelter for the domestic animals their next concern was the educatio of their children. In many instances the families would have been immigrants who would know the importance of being fluent in the English language and school was where the process would begin.
A school board would be formed with chairman who would then petition the Ptrovincial Government to establish a school district. Once that was granted, debentures had to be sold, that provided capital to build the one-room school, a stable, etc. In some instances a well had to be dug.
School districts were founded fairly close together - allowing a distance of approximately four miles so that a child could walk to school. The close proximity made for a tight community of a dozen or more families.
A teacher would be hired, which would generally be female, as this was one of a few occupations open to women in these times. They would 'board and room' with one of the families until the School Board could have a teacherage built on the school grounds. Quite frequently the teacher would marry a bachelor in the vinicity which would mean the end of her career - a rule in this era.
The school was not only the centre of learning, it was also the social hub of the community for the adults. Many weekends, during off season of agricultural duties, local musicians would form a band and provide music for dances. Card games - whist was popular - were held for entertainment or possible fundraiser. It was the largest centre in the area for weddings. A ball diamond, used by students, was also used by adults - remember there was no TV, therefore everyone depended on cummunity for recreation.
The school may have been, in some instances, a gathering of like-minded faithful who would hold Sunday services and Sunday School until a church was built. The space was also available to hold weddings. They generally included the whole school district. Several schools in some districts were used as hospitals during the Great influenza of 1918.
We could find families having a picnic after a friendly game of baseball at the end of the school year, along with the extra hands who were there to help our on the farm for the summer. Depending on the weather, harvest could have been delayed and this would also mean the delay of school opening in the fall.
Conclusion - the demise of the country schools due to the Larger School Unit.