Chester School

[Original image “Abandoned schoolhouse with red apple” © pictureguy32/Dollar Photo Club]

The day of the one-room country school has long gone.
What a shame!
From the time I was born in 1927 until I was 7 years old I lived on a prairie farm. I started Grade One in a one-room country school when I was four years old, and remained there for 3 and a half years.
I attended Chester School; one room, 18 children, and all 13 Grades being taught by one teacher!Although the teacher taught the standard Grades 1 through 12, she also taught the first year of University – which the system called Grade 13. [By the way, the teacher only had Grade 12 herself; but she also had a year at Teachers’ College in Moose Jaw.]
The school was a small building with a little coat room for our winter clothes at the entrance, and a small basement with a large coal and wood furnace. One big room with a large teacher’s desk and about 20 small individual students’ desks.
There were non electric lights!
A hundred yards from the school house was an open shed in which the students’ horses were tethered – summer and winter.
The lower the grade a student was in, the closer one sat to the front of the room and the teacher’s desk.
The teacher started the day setting the learning goals for each Grade and then the students carried on, on their own. The teacher would move from Grade to Grade assisting or quietly teaching the individual{s}. Of course when she was talking – no matter how quietly – all could hear…………and learn!
This presented an interesting and positive atmosphere: those in lower Grades had an opportunity to over-hear and learn far beyond what was normal for their level; those in higher Grades got two benefits – their previous education was being reinforced and also they were obliged to develop the ability to learn and study when there was disruption.
It was a win-win situation!
The blackboard that covered the entire front of the room plus half of the east wall, was filled with a mixture of information from all Grades.
As I said, I attended from Grades 1 into Grade 4. Academically, I was conversant with and rather competent in material applicable to all Grades – up to and including 1st year university! That grounding made me a solid student through city schools later and then at Universities. It left me filled with the desire to learn for the rest of my life.
The little one-room Country School cost the public purse next to nothing – but it gave this Country the economists, engineers, doctors, and industrialists that made us the best in the World!
What a shame that we have forgotten the importance of the three “Rs”!