ALDERGROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 


The first Aldergrove Public School was opened in May, 1887, in a split cedar hall that had been built on the present site of the Alder Inn Hotel, at the corner of Jackman and Yale Roads. The first teacher was Miss Murchie from New Westminster, followed by Miss Marie Gibson in the fall of 1887. The school seats were long forms seating several pupils, making the keeping of good order rather difficult. 


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The "Little Red School House", Aldergrove 







In 1888 a new school was built on land donated by Findlay Shortreed, on Yale Road about half way between Jackman Road and Shortreed Corners (264). Mrs A. McKee was in charge. Many of the pupils walked long distances over muddy roads in the fall and winter, sometimes through deep snow, so it was rather difficult to maintain the required average daily attendance. The school, as pictured in "The Place Between," p. 478, was a rectangular building with two narrow windows on the west side, and a set of seven steps up to the front door. The school also served as a church and a community hall. 


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Opening Day at the new Aldergrove Elementary School, February, 1914.

Courtesy Aldergrove Community Archives





In 1913 the Langley School District built a new two-room school of frame construction on the present site of Aldergrove Elementary. The first teachers were Miss C.B. Mclnnes (principal) and Miss Muriel Law. The school served an area from Station Road to Coghlan Road, north and south of the highway. 

The school was heated with a big furnace in the basement. There was a shed out back to store wood, and the older boys had to take turns keeping the fire going during school hours. At first water was pumped out of the well into the water tank, but later a gas engine was used to fill the tank. There were washbasins in the basement, boys on the west side and girls on the east. The outhouses were out back near the bush, one on each side. The girls' playground was on the east side and the boys' (much larger) was on the west. 

When the teacher rang the bell, the pupils lined up in their respective part of the basement and marched two by two up the stairs into the classrooms. Students ranged in age from six to sixteen. The subjects taught from Grades 1-8 (1st Primer to Senior Fourth) included reading, writing, dictation, spelling, mental and written arithmetic, geography, English grammar, Canadian history, British history, composition and letter writing, anatomy, physiology, hygiene, and temperance. Spelling bees were held at the end of the day after it got too dark to read. Exams and reports were given once a month. Discipline was strict—no talking or turning around. Anyone who used a swear word, even on the playground at recess, got the strap. 

Entertainment at recess and noon hour included soccer, baseball, rounders, hide and seek, swinging from the rafters in the woodshed, and pole vaulting across the creek that ran in front of the school. Christmas concerts were a highlight of the year. School gardens were common, but the produce was usually eaten before the radishes and carrots were ready to harvest.


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Aldergrove Elementary

School. Courtesy Nova

Studios






In the 1940s the school population began to increase, rising from 84 in 1943 to 187 in 1950. The basement was used for extra rooms. Three rooms were added in 1948, and a portable was moved on site in 1952. In 1953 the school had a population of 210 pupils. 

In 1961 Aldergrove Elementary became the centre of the Aldergrove Region Elementary Schools with R.J. (Bob) McCubbin as supervising principal. 

In 1962-4 two classrooms, an office area, and an activity room were added at a cost of under $75,000. In 1967-8, four more classrooms were added, and in 1984 came two more classrooms, a new full-sized gym, and a relocated library. In 1986 three more classrooms were added. 

There are now four elementary schools in the Aldergrove area—Aldergrove, Parkside, Shortreed, and Betty Gilbert—with a combined pupil total of over 1587. 

In 2000 Aldergrove Elementary had a facelift to recreate the original exterior. Construction students at Aldergrove Secondary constructed a replica of the covered entrance way and replaced the existing windows, trim, and the wooden stairways at the front. Landscaping was done, and an iron work fence installed. The Aldergrove Heritage Society (through a Heritage grant) and the Township of Langley donated the major funds for this project. A new sign (a facade of the school) was installed in 2001. 

In 2004 the population of the school is 181. The school has 14 classrooms, 1 gym, 1 library, and 2 Kindergarten classrooms. The site is 4.16 acres and the address is now 27032 Fraser Highway. There is a galvanized chain link fence on the north side, an all weather field, asphalt parking with 20 stalls, and numerous playground items such as teeter-totters, a slide, a climber, swings, etc. There are two asphalt play courts. 


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