A step back in time; Kamloops students visit old schoolhouse

By Chad Klassen
June 14, 2018 - 4:48pm Updated: June 15, 2018 - 8:31am

KAMLOOPS — It's a school from another time period, a time when students arrived on horseback, learned to write using a quill, and built their own toys. Modern day students at Pacific Way Elementary got a taste of the classroom life their relatives experienced, almost a century ago.

The trip back in time involved spending a day at an old 'one-room schoolhouse' in Kamloops. The grade three and four students got dressed up in clothing symbolic of the 1920's, and despite the somewhat 'strict' rules, they enjoyed their 'old fashioned' day, including reciting "The Lord's Prayer" --- something that's not heard in public schools today.

"Teaching them the difference between school in the past and now. How culture and the curriculum has changed," said teacher John Bigham, who played Mr. Smith on Thursday. "Getting used to what some of their ancestors, grandparents, parents even possibly went through when they went to school."

Teacher John Bigham went by Mr. Smith on this June 14, 1922, in a one-room school with old wooden desks. The students also played the part with period clothing. 

"It's been pretty cool because I just was really excited to see what would happen, what it would be like," said student Natalia Kuhlmann. 

There was handwriting on the blackboard, something that's not as common anymore in today's schools. There was also old-school punishments, including students wearing the dunce cap for bad behavior. 

"I had to put my nose against the wall, and then I had to get the Dunce [cap], too," said student Ethan Tommasini. 

The kids were put on the spot and asked math questions, exactly how it was done in the old days. It's a stark contrast to how things are done in the classroom today. 

"We're moving now to more collaborative education where the students work in groups, using electronics, iPads, Chromebooks, presenting reports, presenting ideas together," said Bigham. "Whereas in the old days, there was the very industrial, seated, very quiet, very respectful. You only spoke when you're spoken to."

The students had fun with the experience, but some say it was an eye-opener. 

"I think it would be pretty difficult. There's a lot of stuff to do, but there's not that much new stuff and it's hard to do a lot of stuff here."

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