Community Papers

Looking back: 100 years at Glen elementary school in Coquitlam

Glen elementary in Coquitlam circa 2013. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Glen elementary in Coquitlam circa 2013.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

On Friday, May 30, Glen elementary school in Coquitlam will celebrate its 100th birthday with a special event. In preparation, Luciano Stella’s Grade 4 and 5 students have been studying how their school has changed over the years. From writing tablets to tablet computers and wireless communication, Glen has undergone a dramatic transition. At right are some of the changes Stella compiled...


• The original Glen school was a one-room schoolhouse with 13 students aged six to 14 years, with a single teacher overseeing multiple grades.

• It had a well pump and there was no electricity so kerosene gas lamps were used.

• Outhouses stood out the back and, to keep warm, students and the teacher kept the wood furnace going; firewood was stored in the basement.

• In wintertime, the kids would hang up their coats and mitts to dry by the furnace.

• The Lord’s Prayer began the school day for students.

• In the spring of 1914, Glen had an Arbor Day and pupils planted a row of trees along the front of the one-acre property.

• The eldest pupils took turns raising and lowering the Canadian flag every school day.

• Students studied geography, spelling, grammar, writing, mathematics, British history, Canadian history and nature.

• The first teacher was Miss L.C. Howe and she earned $65 per month; she used a blackboard for her lessons.

• Students used small chalkboards and writing tablets; quill pens and inkwells were used; hand-writing was considered very important.

• Students sat in wooden desks in rows.

• Corporal punishment — the strap — was used and teachers were strict.

• Students would walk on gravel roads to school on their own and had to look out for bears and deer.

• At home the students had chores; students who lived on farms looked after the chickens, cows, pigs and other animals.

• Students played traditional games during recess: tag, hop-scotch, hide and seek, marbles, skipping games, Red Rover.

• Lunches or snacks were usually carried in tin containers or baskets, or wrapped in a piece of cloth.

• Students ate snacks outside during recess: hard-boiled eggs, apples, cheese, homemade bread, cake or cookies, or jelly, jam or peanut butter sandwiches.

• Students listened to records played on a gramophone, watched silent movies at theatres in New Westminster and learned how to tell time on analog clocks and had watches.

Glen elementary


• The fifth Glen school is a French immersion school with 20 classrooms (12 English and eight French immersion) and 482 students from kindergarten to Grade 5.

• Glen has a principal, vice-principal, secretary, 32 teachers and 17 support staff.

• It also has three bathrooms each for girls and boys, a library, gym, multi-purpose room, computers, internet, elevator, photocopier, a radiant floor heating system, a security system and sprinkler system.

• Some students walk to school on their own and many are either walked or driven to school.

• Students usually sit in groups instead of in rows.

• Classrooms are inclusive.

• Students use pencils, mechanical pencils, ballpoint pens, gel pens, felt markers, fine liners and pencil crayons.

• Ms. Swayne’s Grade 4 students are part of a One to One project and do their work on laptop computers.

• Teachers use whiteboards, computers, projectors and Smart Boards, which are connected to the internet, in the classroom.

• Every classroom has a phone and teachers use email to communicate with one another.

• Students can use the internet for research and for completing assignments.

• Students play tag, soccer, basketball or skipping games, or go on the adventure playground during recess.

• Some students bring video games and cellphones to school.

• School subjects include spelling, reading, writing, science, math, social studies, health and career planning, PE, music, art and French as a second language for the Grade 5 kids.

• Students take part in the annual Terry Fox Run, Halloween activities, winter/christmas  concert, dance festival, Kilometre Club, Music Monday, Spirit Days, hot food days, and sports day.

• Grade 5 students can join the volleyball and basketball teams.

• Students listen to music played on radios, iPods, CD Players, iPads and laptop computers.

• Students watch educational videos and movies on televisions with DVD players, laptop computers and online.


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