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Jan. 12, 1950: Physical director urged for Springhill schools

['Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe']
['Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe']

Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

At a special meeting of the School Board held Friday evening a delegation of the Home and School Association urged upon the members of the Board of the necessity of adding a Physical Director to the teaching staff of the local schools. Mr. Hugh Noble, of the Department of Education, Halifax, attended the meeting and was introduced to the gathering by Mr. Claude W. Carter, Chairman of the School Board.

“When we discuss physical education,” said Mr. Noble, “some people think of the Springhill Fence Busters, the Amherst Ramblers, etcetera, but what we hope to do is include all activities, all skills. Children regardless of position, are born with characteristics of expressing themselves through play. Some like curling, some like hockey, bridge, etcetera, but all want to play. Play has a rightful place on the school program. Children must have the opportunity to play through their school years. At the moment we permit ourselves to be represented by teams and as a result some 95 per cent are left to themselves and have little opportunity to enjoy sports. Through physical education we can expect children to grow stronger. If they are given the opportunity to play we can expect that they might learn to get along with each other.”

Continuing, Mr. Noble reminded his hearers that so much emphasis is being put on commercial sport that we are losing the value of play. He felt there was value in competition, but it should be controlled but the fun element not taken out of play. “Unless we are fighting,” he said, “there is a feeling we are not getting value for our money.”

In Glace Bay, the speaker said the Principal asked how children could be taught to play fairly after watching the kind of hockey being played in Cape Breton today. Playing the game for the game’s sake was established many years ago in England.

Touching on the question of adding a physical director to the schools, Mr. Noble said there were eleven such directors in Halifax today, and one in many small towns. The movement was growing and before long it was the intention to include physical education in the High School curriculum. He suggested that Springhill should move in this direction.

School Board Interested

Mr. Carter remarked that the School Board was interested in physical education, and it was with this thought in mind that they had invited Mr. Noble to the meeting.

Mr. McLeod said there had been three meeting in this connection and the feeling was they should get more information.

Mr. Douglas Campbell said it was felt there was a great need for a physical director in the schools. He felt that an instructor would provide an opportunity for the children to take part in all kinds of sports and would lead to better citizens.

What is the Cost?

The question of cost came up and Mr. Noble pointed out that a qualified director today and drew the same salary as any other teacher of similar qualifications. The Government offered a grant of $500.00 towards his salary. It was suggested that the town would have to provide about $1500.00 as its share. The Government also shared in the purchase of equipment.

Army drill halls are being used throughout the province by the schools for exercise purposes and the army was offering every cooperation. Church Halls were also used where available.

The Director also instructed teachers from Grades 1 to 6 to carry on similar work, and would teach health subjects in the High School.

Few Directors

Mr. Noble told the gathering that there were already from nine to eleven openings for physical directors which could not be filled at the moment. He could not promise when one could be available here even if the School Board decided to move in that direction.

The meeting seemed to be in general agreement with the idea of adding physical education to the school program, but no definite action was taken.

Retired Merchant Passes Away

With the passing of John Wilson, aged 93, at his home on Elgin St., Wednesday night, Springhill has lost one of its oldest and most respected citizens. Funeral services will take place Sunday, January 15th.

The aged businessman, who retired several years ago, leaving business operations to his sons, William and James, had been bedfast for the past year. In deference to their father, these sons will close the John Wilson store until next Monday.

Completes Nursing Training

Miss Audrey Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Smith, has completed her three years of training as a nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and is leaving for Springhill today to spend a vacation with her parents. She will remain here until March, and will return to Montreal for her graduation in May.

Pat Crowe is a member of the Springhill Heritage Group. To learn more or read past article of the Heritage Corner, visit

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