Looking Back


Education Beyond the Classroom


Educating children and overcoming the obstacles to education have long been a priority for everyone everywhere. Our pioneers started by joining together early on to build schools so their children could learn to read and write.

World AffairsWorld Affairs

World Affairs, a monthly publication, brought newsworthy events
to the classroom in a format that was not overwhelming
for students but provided concise,
readable information.
(Can you guess the years?)


As years went by, there were "add-ons" to the traditional classroom, whether in remote rural communities or in large centres. These extras took advantage of whatever means was available to them. One of the earliest initiatives was the Alberta Correspondence School, established in 1923, offering grades 1 8 through the mail. In 1939, grades 9 12 were added. Around Onoway, before high school classes were offered in the 1940s, students had two choices: live away from home in larger centres (or the Lac Ste. Anne Dormitory) or take courses by correspondence. The Department of Education advised teachers to allow students who were taking courses by correspondence to be allowed classroom time equal to "real" classes. (Teachers collected the correspondence fees, $2.50 for most courses.)


An important supplement to teacher instruction was school broadcasts. As far back as the 1930s, the CBC teamed up with the Department of Education to provide radio broadcasts. Some of the most popular broadcasts brought folksinging and music appreciation to the classroom. "Sing and Play" was a half-hour weekly elementary school music program where children sang, danced, played rhythm band instruments, played games, acted out short plays. After 1958 the program was re-named, had new instructors and carried on until the 1960s when TV series took over. Onoway Museum has a fascinating collection of the teacher's guides that complemented these broadcasts.


Because radios were not part of the regular classroom equipment, the Lac Ste. Anne School Division Staff Bulletin (November 1941 and again in 1954) noted that schools would be re-imbursed for battery packs used for radios.


The Staff Bulletin (April 6, 1951) tells teachers to let their students know that there would be a summer school in Red Deer where they could take grade 12 courses. Another Staff Bulletin (November 1, 1951) told teachers to inform students of a United Nations initiative whereby they could sign up to become a pen pal with a matching student in another country (only for those 12 years or older). What a great opportunity!


Remote. Virtual or distance learning is not just a recent phenomenon. Students have been learning "outside" the classroom for decades. Stop by the Onoway Museum and see some of their creative endeavors.


Progress Report
                                  and Play 1954-58

Progress Report

The principal of the local school received a copy of the student's
report card for Correspondence School courses.
This student completed only 3 lessons over 3 months.


Sing and Play

Miss Janet McIlvena conducted this program
from CJOC in Lethbridge from 1941 until 1958.




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 Last updated: February 19, 2022