Wednesday 2 May 2012

Saskatchewan Normal School

Mellow yellow

Saskatchewan Normal School


It was not a well known fact amongst the general public nor one room school district trustees that the "Normal Schools" were indeed a college to train teachers. From the French, an École Normale provides instruction in the "norms" of educational training.

Bismarck is credited with the quote "What you would have appear in the life of the nation, you must first put in your schools." This is the sentiment taught to teachers at Normal School, or as another instructor said "It is the duty of every teacher to participate in the work of the community as it is the price they have to pay to occupy their three by six plot of ground for eternity."{Charyk. The Little White Schoolhouse. p.229}

In the 1886-1887 year the Board of Education pressed for professional instruction in a centralized training school. Nothing was forthcoming until 1889 and 1890, when Mr. A.H. Smith, B. A., of Moosomin conducts lectures. And at the Moosomin Normal department, Inspector Hewgill also trains teachers in 1890 but no students proffered themselves for classes at the Regina Normal department. In 1892 and 1893, teachers were trained by inspectors in Regina.

From 1889 to 1920s the school class organisation was for elementary levels; Standard I, II, III, IV and V; followed by secondary school beginning at Standard VI. Standard X corresponded to a junior or Class 3 provincial certificate, Standard XI would give a Middle, Class 2 provincial certificate, and finally Standard XII would result in a Senior, Class 1 provincial certificate. A level of attainment of at least Class 3 Standard was needed to teach during this time.

Classes at the Regina Normal School commenced in 1893. In Regina the "Red School" was erected in 1895 providing high schools classes. A portion of this school later named "Alexander School" was set aside for teacher training and called the Normal School. In Saskatoon, two rooms were rented in 1912 at the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute (now the Nutana Collegiate Institute) for a Normal School, which expanded to four rooms the following year.

The first official Normal School had its own building in Regina as of 1913, classes commencing 1914.

Moose Jaw and Saskatoon erected Normal schools after the Great War. Moose Jaw normal school operated classes between 1927 to 1959. Regina and Saskatoon Normal Schools were surrendered to the Royal Canadian Air Force for Air Training Plan recruits.

The Nutana Collegiate, originally monikered the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute, opened up in 1909. On August 20, 1912,the Saskatoon Normal School held its first classes. The demand for teachers was so high, that after one year of training at a Normal School, students graduated from Normal School to begin teaching at a rural one room school house. To help train students to become teachers, even a section of Valleyview School in Estevan was designated as a Normal School until 1927.

It was following the First World War that the Saskatchewan government enquired at the University of Saskatchewan for a site to locate the Normal School. It was desirous to obtain a ten acre plot, yet the University of Saskatchewan could only allocate about four acres south of Emmanuel college. A large enough plot of land could be found south of the University, but not at the aforementioned optimal site. The University grounds were abandoned, and a site on Idylwyld Drive was chosen on Estate land of the Drinkle family. M.W. Sharon, the provincial architect designed the building. The corner stone was laid 1921, and the official opening ceremonies were held in 1923.

A study conducted in 1925 found that about 400 were enrolled in Normal School in Saskatoon students could complete their education at Nutana receiving a class one teaching certificate after four years of study or a class two after three years.

The Normal Schools published year books, the book in Saskatoon for the Normal School was termed The Light, Regina Normal School published The Aurora, and the Moose Jaw Normal School had the "Normal Echoes".

The name of the Normal school, was later changed to the Saskatoon Teacher's College, and is now known as the E.A. Davies Building. It was the year 1953 when the Moose Jaw Normal School adopted the name Saskatchewan Teacher's College, and in 1959, the Normal School in Regina took on the name Saskatchewan Teacher's College.

The early one room school teachers used their ingenuity for practical circumstances above and beyond their Normal School teaching. For example, heating the school house in the early winter mornings meant abandoning the desks for a warmer queue near the wood stove. In these cases, the teachers would adapt the lessons to this seating format.

It was in 1964, that teacher training moved to the University of Saskatchewan, and in 1969 also to the University of Regina.

compiled by Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse webmaster Julia Adamson


Charyk, John C. The Little White Schoolhouse. Volume 1. Western Producer Prairie Books. Saskatoon, SK. 1979. ISBN 0-919306-08-X. pp. 100,228.

Kerr, Don and Hanson, Stan. Saskatoon: The First Half Century. Ne West Press, The Western Publishers. Edmonton, AB. 1982. ISBN 0-920316-35-2bound ISBN 0-920316-37-9. pp 231, 241-2, 244, 246.

Delainey, William P., Duerkop, John D., and Sarjeant, William A. Saskatoon A Century in Pictures. Western Producer Prairie Books. Saskatoon, Sk. 1982. ISBN 0-88833-09-1 bound ISBN 0-88833-099-8 pbk.pp 72.

Charyk, John C.Syrup Pails and Gopher Tails Memories of the One Room School. Western Producer Prairie Books. Saskatoon, Sk. 1983. ISBN 0-88833-115-0. pp.6, 8, 10, 56, 110

Vajcner, Mark. NcNinch, James. Normal Schools. The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center. University of Regina. 2006.

Adamson, Julia. One Rooms School Project Evolution. 2010.


Related posts:

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses


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