The abandoned country school
The abandoned country school

The abandoned country school

The abandoned country school

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Sainte-Clotilde-de-Châteauguay (Quebec), Canada

True relic of a bygone era, the country schools in Quebec were more than 4,000 only 70 years ago. From 1829, with the adoption of the Act for the promotion of public education, until 1960 when the school reform enters into force, these schools allowed to provide to children in the countryside a primary education.

The soul of the country school was unquestionably the teacher, a young single woman. However, its role was a worthy ingratitude of a past century. Her salary was between $ 30 and $ 100 ... per year. She lived upstairs where there were a bedroom and a kitchen. In some cases she was even resigned to stay at the neighbor's house. Her working day began at dawn when she was heating the stove in winter and take care of the building all year long. Finally, if she had the nerve to marry, she was fired immediately. This practice continued until 1960, when the schoolhouses were abandoned in favor of village schools, much larger and suitable for students.

It was teach French, arithmetic, history, geography, but also decency, drawing, singing and religion. This was the time when parents felt more important to have children with them to work on the farm rather than a school bench.

But it was especialy the time where religion was used as absolute truth and where the rule wasn't used only to measure, but also to reprimand. The omnipresence of "divine teachings" was included deeply ​​into the school manuels. Half of the 700 pages used from first to seven years of primary school was devoted to religious education. Even mathematics served as a pretext to religion which were calculated rosaries. The term "primary school" therefore made ​​sense in those places.

Today, most of these rural schools have been sold and converted into houses. Others were abandoned, burned or destroyed. For this school on pictures, it has been spared in appearance, but the poor conditions shows that only two options are available to the owner: urgent and costly renovations... or demolition. Personally, I wish him the first option along with a passion for the rural history of Quebec ...

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