A new school year is upon us, and with it we continue to see an evolution of the education system.
Schools have always been a centre of activity within a community going back to the rural, one-room, school houses of our forefathers.
Many of the old school building remained home to fairs, sports days and community picnics long after they closed their doors as a place of learning for students.
Schools have remained important places for more than learning, even as they centralized into larger communities when rural and small town schools closed.
As an example after school athletics have long been the place young people have been able to excel at sports such as football, basketball, badminton and volleyball.
That role remains for schools, but they are now far more too.
In many cases they have become virtual community centres with after school programming which is being provided in a safe, secure environment. In many cases such activities have been expanded in scope to allow for family involvement recognizing the need for families to be active together.
But education has changed within the confines of the classroom as well.
There has become increased awareness about societal issues such obesity in youth.
As a result we have seen the education system move to be more proactive in incorporating physical education into the daily curriculum.
It was not so long ago ‘gym’ was a once-a-week class which focused as much on giving students a taste of a range of sports as it did on promoting regular physical activity for health.
The school system has also become much more proactive in determining possible roadblocks to learning, and providing the additional help required.
Providing early detection of learning issues, and having in-school expertise to help those students adapt early on can be key to giving them the tools to learn.
It is through classroom assistants we also have an education system which is far more inclusive. With assistants able to provide the extra help required students with physical disabilities and mental challenges have become part of the regular classroom. That incorporation helps all students grow up being far more accepting of others, and that will hopefully translate into more accepting members of society moving forward.
With the changing scope of education there are certainly greater pressures on frontline teaching staff. There are now expectations far beyond good grades in reading, writing and arithmetic as the old saying implied.
Teachers are now often as much a social worker as an educator and that has changed what they do and how they go about running a classroom.
With the expanded role and expectations school boards have also found things changing. There are cost pressures for programs their predecessors of only a decade ago would never have expected to see under the auspices of education.
At the heart of the system remains a desire to give students a broadly-based education which gives them a maximum number of options as they progress toward a career. It’s just now there are more facets to the education, and how it is presented by educators and absorbed by students.
For the most part the system still does what it has always done and that is amiable given the ever-changing playing field of education.