History is the story of man from the dawn of time. It is the story of great movements – social, economic, literary, artistic, scientific, cultural, as well as political. History, thus interpreted, is a Social study. It has as its purpose the development of an appreciation for the labors and difficulties of the men of the past and their contribution to society of an attitude of toleration towards the views of others, and of an understanding of the part that individuals and peoples have played and play in an increasingly complex world.

Present conditions are the product of achievements of the past, of man's efforts to solve the problems of his day. History reveals these to the student, thus explaining the present, and aiming at the development of attitudes and skills necessary for the management of society in the future.

History should be appreciated. Its study should not be the mere memorizing of facts for written or oral productions. Children should be taught how to think. Problems should be presented to them for investigation and solution. This does not mean that no "facts" will be learned. As problems are being solved many facts will emerge, and will be used in the solution of the problems. The emphasis, however, will be upon thinking, appreciation, and understanding. Upon the development of critical thinking, open- mindedness, understanding and tolerance, and the sense of orderly progress depends on the growth of a sane and orderly society.

It necessarily follows that in his teaching the teacher will exercise the highest measure of objectivity and impartiality, and living up to the ethical standards of his profession, will not indoctrinate his pupils with his own private views upon controversial questions.

The study of History should be an active and creative process. Provision should be made for individual differences in problems to be studied, methods used, activities engaged in, and readings undertaken. Whenever possible, laboratory or socialized methods should be employed. The necessity for broad, progressive, and purposeful methods of procedure on the part of the teacher is apparent if thoughtful, responsible, and socially conscious citizens are to be developed.

In Grade IV., the approach to history should be through an appeal to the interest, enthusiasm, and imagination of the children. They should be told stories of the great men of the past, their struggles and achievements, their success and failures; stories of action and romance, of discovery and invention. By this means we translate the realm of the legendary (literature) into the realm of the real (history). This transition should be natural and logical – not abrupt and forced. The child's love of stories will then be carried over into the field of history.

Children crave action. Stories told, or retold, in the "first person singular," dramatization in its various forms, drawings, pictures, slides, films, visits to the museum, or library, or historic sites, group or class discussion – these and many other forms of pupil participation make history a "living thing." Much of the success achieved will depend upon the initiative, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness of the teacher. In these grades the attitudes developed by the pupils are more important than the facts memorized. The test should be "do they like history," rather than "do they know history." When the so-called facts of history are forgotten the attitudes and outlooks will remain.

There are still those who believe that in order for work to be profitable it must be unpleasant or uninteresting. Scientific and statistical investigations have proved that there is a negative correlation between unpleasant or uninteresting work and profitable results. It is neither to be inferred from the above statement that pupils should do no work, nor that they should do no unpleasant work. Hard work may be purposeful, interesting, and constructively helpful. The teacher should develop an attitude of purposeful investigation on the part of the pupils in order that interest and not compulsion may furnish the drive to learning.

The foundation for purposeful teaching have been laid in the Social Studies of the first three grades, and an interesting approach to history made through Literature in Grade IV., the point has been reached where children are ready and eager to see this picture of man's progress. In Grade V.we present in natural sequence a panorama of the civilizations that have preceded ours. We show what each succeeding civilization learned from past civilizations and, in turn, contributed to the next. Thus, pictures of the Cave Men, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans – and the contribution made by each – pass upon the screen before we reach the story of Britain. In this presentation general impressions only are to be given. This chronological development places things first, and results in orderliness in historic thinking. Psychologically, it appeals to the interest and enthusiasm of pupils.

In our study of History wars are dealt with only to the extent that they have affected civilization and its development. While pupils should have a proper pride in the heroism of their ancestors, they should understand that war is an evil and a threat to our civilization. They should be taught to be tolerant of the views, rights, and privileges of others. They should be free of national arrogance and should cultivate good will toward the people of other lands. They should understand the functions of the League of Nations and the World Court, and should be prepared to support the League in defense of the right.


The training of good citizens is one of the first duties of all teachers. Obviously, the development of ideas and ideals of good citizenship cannot be limited to the field of history or of any particular subject, or of any particular period of the school-day. The conscientious teacher will be constantly training in good citizenship. The field of the Social Studies does, however, offer especially suitable opportunities for training in citizenship.

Good citizenship implies more than knowledge of social facts, duties, or responsibilities. It means toleration and understanding and involves co-operation and active participation in the affairs of an increasingly interdependent society. Teachers are urged to read the section on "Character Education," much of which applies equally to Citizenship and need not be repeated here.

Man does not live in isolation, but in communities. This involves social relations, regulations, and institutions. The school itself is a community where social relationships must be regulated, co-operation practiced, the principle of "give and take" recognized, and the rights, duties, and privileges of others respected. In the school, as in life in general, leadership and followership are both essential.

To be good citizens children must be given the opportunity of living the lives of good citizens. The part played by the home in this work is a great one, but the school has tasks of its own. It provides an environment and social conditions different from those of the home. It is an intermediate stage between the home and society. Its duties cannot be accepted or performed by either. We cannot expect of children blind obedience to regulations or authority and then hope to have them take an intelligent part in the affairs of adult life. They must, during the formative years of school life, learn the necessity and the methods of community life. This requires tact, kindness, sympathy, understanding, and infinite patience.

"Inspiration – information – participation; but the greatest of these is participation." It is through participation that the child learns to "play the game." To "play the game" involves the attitude of good citizenship. Attitudes remain when facts are forgotten.

Opportunities for the development of the attitude of good citizenship are provided through activities. Activities afford opportunities for thinking, planning, doing; for leadership, followership, organization; for interdependence, co-operation, regulation.

As History is essentially the record of how people have lived together, Biography forms an approach to citizenship. Through it the child has vicarious experience. Grade IV. History is based upon Biography and provides suitable material for the study of citizenship. The evolution of home and community life, of social institutions, and of increasing interdependence is pictured in the history course for Grades V. and VI. This affords opportunity for developing appreciation of the necessity for social regulation and the benefits which follow from it. This appreciation modifies social conduct; and intelligent social conduct is citizenship.

It is not intended that there be formal teaching of this subject in Grades IV., V., or VI. A formal and systematic study of Citizenship – Civics – should begin later and should be based upon the foundation of citizenship laid in these grades; in other words, Grades IV., V., and VI. should develop the attitude of good citizenship, while later grades should develop the means by which such co-operative action is achieved.

From incidents in history, both past and present, such concepts as the following should be developed:-


Unit arrangement tends to break down the barriers between subjects. Each Unit may spread across formal subject boundaries in order that it may be a complete experience. Suggested activities involving other subject-fields will be given a the end of each Unit in the Course. Changes and extensions of these suggestions will appear as the teacher proceeds. It is not intended that all of the suggested activities be carried out; others may be more valuable to the Unit as it is developed by a particular class. The objective of each Unit should be reached by employing as many subject-fields as may be necessary.

What is the place of testing in history and in citizenship? How can we test "appreciation" or "attitude" or "history-mindedness" or "interest"? It is more difficult to test or measure these things than it is to test for facts, dates, and events in isolation. There is therefore a tendency to teach that which can be more accurately measured.

As an alternative to the more formal type of factual examinations, the following suggestions are given:-

  1. Study sheets be substituted for factual test. These study sheets should contain questions to be answered by the child after searching, or thinking, or discussing.
  2. Projects be worked out by children, making use of maps, text and reference books, magazines, or other available material.
  3. Pupils be "tested" on the telling of a story, or stories, or the making of reports on work in which they are particularly interested, or on which they have done some special reading.
  4. Pupils make a collection of pictures, drawings, sketches, or short statements illustrating the topic in hand.
  5. Pupils compose or dramatize, with the aid of books, conversations between characters under discussion.
  6. Let pupils suppose they are certain characters in history. Have them write a first hand report, account, or summary.
  7. Daily or weekly check-up rather than reviews for final examinations.

These suggestions are not original, nor are the untried. They will satisfy the demands of teachers and principals who find it desirable to produce marks. At the same time, they will tend to eliminate much of the deadening and useless effects of cramming. It may be hoped that as a result pupils will reach the secondary school with a love for history and with right social attitudes.


NOTE – These aims will be pursued at the level of the intelligence and capacity of the child in Grades IV., V., VI. of the Elementary School. Specific aims appropriate to each of the three years will be suggested later.

  1. Vitalizing a Knowledge of the Past and Relating it to the Present.
    1. To teach the child to recognize the contributions of earlier peoples to the structure of modern life.
    2. To develop a few historical concepts and to have the child know a limited number of historic facts that have a functional value in life.
    3. To develop a knowledge that social, economic, industrial, and political growth has come step-by-step up through the past.
    4. To establish understanding of the organization of groups for mutual helpfulness, and of the dependence of these groups upon one another and upon that larger group – the state or nation.
    5. To establish understanding of the interdependence of nations.
    6. To create the realization that history is being made now.
  2. Establishing Attitudes and Ideals.
    1. To stimulate and inspire the child through appreciation of worthy qualities as these are discerned in the stories of the past – whether stories of individuals or of groups.
    2. To develop a love of reading in the field of history, and thus to develop an interest in present day affairs which will continue into adult life.
    3. To develop understanding and appreciation of democratic institutions.
    4. To create a spirit of toleration toward all peoples and an appreciation of the contributions made by other racial groups.
    5. To cultivate an intelligent patriotism, without national vanity and arrogance.
  3. Securing Intellectual Development and Self-expression.
    1. To develop the child's reasoning and judgment through study not merely of facts, but of relations between facts.
    2. To establish proper habits of work, intellectual thoroughness, and mental honesty coming from a vigorous effort to see things through.
    3. To establish habits of critical open-mindedness, with a suspension of final judgment until all available facts have been obtained.
    4. To establish a readiness to change existing opinions or convictions in the light of new facts.
    5. To develop the ability to organize and carry on group activities of a co- operative nature.
    6. To develop ability to use tools of various kinds, maps, graphs, encyclopedias, current magazines and newspapers, and other reference material.


Scientific research has proven the value of various forms of visual aid in the process of education. There are many forms of visual education – pictures, maps, charts, graphs, slides, stereoptical pictures, film-slides, films, slow-moving films, color photography, talking pictures.

The field of history is rich in possibilities for visual material of instruction. Perhaps the very quantity of material now obtainable is one of the reasons for indifference as to its possibilities. Magazines, Sunday editions of newspapers, calendars, present a wealth of pictorial material. These pictures should be cut out, mounted, and classified for future use. Such a library of pictorial material maybe built up in the smallest rural school. The magazine "Pictorial Education" contains some of the finest pictures which should be found on the shelves, or in the libraries, of all our schools. In larger schools, and in cities, the other forms of visual aids outlined above should be developed, as funds are available.


With Grade V. begins the real study of History. History began in the long distant past and is still in progress. Teachers of Grade V. are asked to read carefully the General Introduction to History at the beginning of this section. It is intended that the picture of man's progress from early times to the present should be presented to the pupils. It is not intended that the detailed history of each people or movement should be studied. The teacher should see, in perspective, the highlights of history, cultural, economic, social, political – each great epoch or movement built upon the previous one and contributing to the next.

We are a British people. It is to be expected, therefore, that we should trace the story of man up to the early period of British history, continue with the progress in Britain up to the discovery of America, and then view the development of the Canadian people up to the present.

The early portion, prior to the Roman period in Britain, occupies a relatively short time (ten or twelve weeks). The remainder of Grade V. is spent in tracing the development of Britain between the Roman occupation of Britain and the discovery of America. Grade VI tells the story of Canadian progress (highlights only) from its discovery until the present time.

The course is arranged in Units. The Units are organized as follows:-

  1. Core of Thought.
  2. Suggested Approaches.
  3. Suggested Problems.
  4. Suggested Activities.
  5. Bibliography.

In the Suggested Activities provision is made for correlation with other subjects, for individual differences, and for special training in Citizenship. (See also Character Education.) Brighter pupils should be encouraged to work out additional problems, or do additional recreational reading in the field of the Unit in hand. Several Units have been worked out merely as examples. The purpose is that teachers should work out the detail of the Units for themselves. Herein lies their value.



  1. To develop a knowledge of the growth of our own country and a pride in it.
  2. To appreciate the struggles, problems, failures, and successes of our pioneers; to contrast life of the Canadian pioneer with that of the Canadian today.
  3. To create a realization that history is being made now and to encourage an intelligent knowledge of current events as they affect the life of the child and his citizenship.
  4. To develop a love for the reading of Canadian History.
  5. To develop faith in Canada and her social progress; to develop a just toleration of the different nationalities and creeds that go to make up our nation, and to appreciate the contribution these groups have made to the progress of our country.
  6. To develop an intelligent interest in local history and affairs and in current events, so far as they are within the child's capacity.
  7. To develop good Canadian citizens.


  1. The Age of Discovery - 4 weeks
  2. Champlain and the Colony of New France - 4 weeks
  3. The English Colonies on the Atlantic Coast - 3 weeks
  4. The Advance to the West - 4 weeks
  5. Over the Mountains - 4 weeks
  6. Pacific Coast - 4 weeks
  7. The Coming of British Settlers to Canada - 3 weeks
  8. Pioneering on the Plains - 4 weeks
  9. The Colony of B.C - 5 weeks
  10. The Growth of Canada's Transportation and Communication Facilities - 5 weeks


Unit One. – The Age of Discovery.

Unit Two. – Champlain and the Colony of New France.

Unit Three. – The English Colonies on the Atlantic Coast.

Unit Four. – The Advance to the West.

Unit Five. – Over the Mountains.

Unit Six. – Pacific Coast.

    Captain Cook and others explored the North-west Coast; the Indians and the Maritime Fur Trade.
    1. Captain Cook at Nootka; he visits the Coast Indians and discovers the possibility of carrying on a profitable fur trade with them.
    2. Spain withdraws her claim to exclusive rights; the story of Captain James Meares.
    3. Captain George Vancouver spends three years exploring the coast; his routes and his adventures.
    4. Indians of the North-west Coast. Their homes, food, clothing, occupations, arts, folklore, and totems; all these studied so as to arouse interest in the present-day Indian citizens of our country.
  4. Anstey: "Romance of British Columbia."
    Dickie: "The Canadian West," Book Five.
    Dickie & Palk: Pages from "Canada's Story."
    Hamer-Jackson: "Discoverers and Explorers of North America."

Unit Seven. – The Coming of British Settlers to Canada.

  2. At a time when the population of Britain's new colony, Canada, was overwhelmingly French, British settlers began to arrive and to lay the foundations of our Canadian nation.

    1. The coming of the United Empire Loyalists and the founding of New Brunswick and Ontario.
    2. Lord Selkirk's settlements.
    3. Settlers from Ireland and Scotland.
    4. English settlements in Ontario made by Colonel Talbot and the Canada Company.
    5. The life of the colonists – Homes, occupations, food, dress, cultural development, their contribution to Canada's progress, their interdependence, etc.
  5. Dickie & Palk: Pages from "Canada's Story." OR

    Dickie: Dent's "Canadian History Readers," Books 6, 7, and 8.

    Hamer-Jackson: "Discoverers and Explorers of North America."

Unit Eight. – Pioneering on the Plains.

  2. The prairie lands of Canada gradually became occupied by settlers of different types and creeds who made courageous and noteworthy contributions to the development of Canada's greatest industry – farming.

    1. Indians of the Plains.
      1. How they were treated.
      2. Upon whom they depended for food, shelter, clothing, weapons, etc.
      3. Their tribal life.
    2. Early Settlers.
      1. Different types, etc.
      2. Their homes, etc.
      3. Their troubles and difficulties.
      4. Their interdependence, etc.
    3. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
      1. How and why they were organized.
      2. How they helped the pioneers to establish law and order and to found good Canadian communities.
      3. Their duties, etc.
    4. The Growth of Farming and Ranching.
      1. The first farms and ranches – what they produced, etc.; the life of the farmer and his family.
      2. Contrast farming and ranching, then and now.
      3. Our dependence on the farmer of today.
      4. The farmer's dependence on others.
  5. Dickie & Palk: Pages from "Canada's Story." OR Dickie: Dent's "Canadian History Readers," Books 7 and 8.

Unit Nine. – The Colony of British Columbia.

  2. British settlers on the North-west Coast increased in numbers owing to the discovery of gold and the building of the railway; organization of the two coast colonies which became part of the Canadian Dominion.

    1. James Douglas and the Story of Victoria. The building of Fort Victoria; grant of Vancouver Island to the Hudson's Bay Company; the first British Pacific Colony in North America.
    2. The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Story of New Westminster. Adventures of the miners; placer and quartz mining; New Westminster is founded; the Colony of British Columbia founded; building of the Cariboo Road.
    3. Coming of the C.P.R. and the Story of Vancouver; British Columbia joins the Dominion; railway building from the Coast to the Rockies; Vancouver – the Terminal City, its growth.
    4. The History of our City or District: Local development – studied so as to illustrate the concept of social progress.
  5. Anstey: "Romance of British Columbia."

    Dickie & Palk: Pages from "Canada's Story." OR

    Dickie: Dent's "Canadian History Readers," Book 7.

Unit Ten. – The Growth of Canada's Transportation and Communication Facilities.


British Columbia. Department of Education. Programme of Studies, 1936

Transcribed by Cheryl Dawson, History 349, Malaspina University-College, March 2001