Monday, April 6, 2015


Neighbourly Education

Reflecting on good old fashioned schooling

By Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack


ur one room schools and communities were multicultural 75 to 100 years ago. Neighbors were immigrants from many ethnic backgrounds and they liked each other and helped one another, especially at seed time and harvest, calving time and in local road maintenance and repair of telephone lines, fences, culverts and other responsibilities, community sports, Christmas concerts, fairs, and music festivals.


That was multiculturalism at its best.


Then larger schools were built, and hours are spent on buses, while the driver is alone with unruly, bored children. A Recreation Therapist or Library Assistant should be hired to assist the driver on every school bus. Even a conductor or a young grandmother would make a big difference.

In one and two room schools, teachers taught several grades and for a number of years students had the same adored role model. In huge modern schools home room teachers had little time and influence with their students. Students run to different classrooms when the bell rings. Gangs, bullying, and arrogance have multiplied.

Private schools aim to raise standards but they are expensive ghettos where children do not get to know and like others.

Let's do more to honor, include and love our nearby neighbors. Parents can take turns walking to and from school with children in the block. They can lead sports, have healthy snacks and let children explore woods nearby.


What else do you suggest that will set the children free with little but enough supervision?


After school outdoor events from 3.30 to 6 PM are much needed for the sake of children who have working mothers.


About Myrtle

Myrtle Macdonald,  M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.


She is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack and now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 93 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.



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