The DCC has established itself as a provider of high-quality, curriculum-based educational programing that is delivered to thousands of students every year. These programs, passionately taught by U of S undergraduate students, engage youth in important conversations about civics, history, and human rights. Within a safe and welcoming environment, students engage with these fundamental concepts through case studies of historical and current events. Students are encouraged to think creatively and draw attention to how their learning may be applied in everyday life. Interactive and dynamic, these activities aim to inspire and encourage students to take ownership of their rights and to enjoy the benefits of citizenship. Feedback from teachers who have participated in DCC programming indicates they highly value our offerings for their success in promoting understanding of Canadian institutions and emphasizing the importance of civic engagement, while meeting curriculum goals and objectives.
Primary Years Programming
The original Victoria School, built in 1887, was an important public building constructed in Saskatoon. Until 1904 it operated as a schoolhouse, church, and community hall for the region. DCC student docents have the pleasure of reopening the doors to this important heritage site and engaging the current generation of schoolchildren in an immersive hour-long program. An interpreter provides a brief historical introduction and then takes on the period role of the schoolteacher so that students may experience the difference between a modern school day and one from more than a century ago.
In this 45-minute program, offered as an addition to the Little Stone Schoolhouse Program, students learn about pioneers in a hands-on way. Artifacts are presented that provide students with a direct look into the lives of the pioneers and their families in order to contrast contemporary and historical day-to-day life. In combination, the Little Stone Schoolhouse and Pioneer Life programs provide a thorough and immersive perspective on Saskatchewan pioneers and the society that they built.
Pioneer children did not have TVs or video games for entertainment like students do today. This half-hour add-on program allows students to enjoy games pioneer children would have played before modern technology.
Utilizing education resources from Elections Canada, this 1-hour program provides an engaging introduction to the electoral process. Students learn the significance of voting and participate in an election simulation to select a mascot who best embodies the spirit of their class. This interactive program introduces five animals as potential mascots and allows student volunteers to present speeches on their behalf. After the program, students head back to the classroom with a certificate proclaiming their new mascot, having laid the foundation for their future civic engagement.
This full day program is divided into two sessions: students spend the first part of the program reliving the early 20th century pioneer experience through the above mentioned programs (Little Stone Schoolhouse and Pioneer Life), while the latter is focused on exploring democracy. Through a class mascot election simulation (“Vote for Me”), a tour of the Diefenbaker Canada Centre’s gallery and the “My Country, My Democracy” session, students are introduced to Canada’s parliamentary democracy and its role in our society.
Middle Years Programming
Split into modules, the full day YVM experience for grades 7 and 8 includes all four modules; the half day YVM program for grades 4, 5 and 6 includes two, Your Province, Your Power and Raise Your Voices. The four modules are:
• Your Province, Your Power: In this module students will: explore the structure of Saskatchewan’s government; examine the distinctive role of the Crown and the Lieutenant Governor; discuss the process by which a bill becomes law and the function of the courts; and create their own mock legislation.
• Get Involved: This module highlights how crucial informed citizenship is, and that individuals can influence policy changes which affect their everyday lives. Students will discuss various organizations, including political parties, service clubs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profits, etc., and the importance of participation in these groups.
• Reasoning out Responsibility: In this module students will discuss federalism, including the historical reasons and contemporary implications of the delegation of powers between the federal and provincial governments. Utilizing a Supreme Court case study, students will debate jurisdiction.
• Raise your Voices: In the final module, students will explore the principles and terminologies associated with elections, examine the electoral process, and key events in Saskatchewan’s political history, and review the history of the vote in Saskatchewan. Students will then form groups to create political parties and select key issues. The module concludes with the students presenting their platform speeches and a lively election simulation.
Your Voice Matters will play a crucial role in underlining the importance of democratic institutions, policy, and active citizenship to students—the voters of tomorrow.
Click here to watch a video of Saskatchewan's Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Michael Boda talking about Your Voice Matters.
Research shows that civic education is linked to democratic engagement. This program demonstrates the relevance of Canada’s democratic and parliamentary institutions. Examining current and historical human rights issues, and learning how the country governs and why voting matters, is fundamental in the process of becoming an informed citizen. Divided into sessions, students will focus on the key themes of democracy, citizenship, rights and freedoms.
The full day of Democracy to Active Citizenship is composed of four, one hour programs that can be held separately as well. While grades 5-8 commonly come for this program, we are able to change the program to suit a variety of age groups. In the past we have done certain programs with high school students, and adults as well.
The four programs are:
Freedom of Expression Through examples in history and in today’s media, students will discuss the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in their daily lives. Using political cartoons as a launching point, they will explore how freedom of expression is viewed around the world. Students will also analyze and discuss issues surrounding participation in a democracy.
Fight for Freedom Students will examine the origins of and learn about their rights as Canadian citizens, and how rights legislation is viewed in a global context. Using documents including The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and The Universal Declaration on Human Rights students will build a case for release in an immersive simulation involving the denial of human rights.
Make Your Mark In Make your Mark, students will explore the principles and terminology associated with elections. They will also examine election processes and discover the history of the vote, including campaigning and the fundamentals of a democracy. Students will further engage with the democratic process by participating in an election simulation.Democracy Now! Democracy Now! provides students with a complete and holistic view of Canada’s democracy. Various levels of Canada’s political bodies will be explored – such as the lower and upper houses, the court system, the role of Cabinet and the Crown. Students will also discuss the importance of active citizenship.
Our previous exhibit,Deo et Patriae - For God and Country: The University of Saskatchewan and the Great War, demonstrated to students the impact of the Great War on Saskatchewan and how the people of the province aided and participated in the war. The entire exhibit is available here.
The exhibit allows students to understand the war on a more personal level by relating it to familiar sites and histories. They will learn the history of the University of Saskatchewan, the influence of professors and students during the war, and their experiences as soldiers and volunteer nurses through text, images, and documents. The exhibit is also connected to two curriculum based activities described below:
Why History Matters - Students will further engage with the powerful stories and concepts presented in the gallery tour with a 1-hour curriculum-based educational module. Divided into groups, students will research themes from the exhibits using articles, stories, poems, propaganda, and visuals. They will critically analyze topics including how attitudes changed during the course of the war, significant scientific and munitions developments, the role of women in society, the treatment of First Nations and immigrants, and our remembrance of the war. Students will use their findings to create articles, similar to those published in the campus newspaperThe Sheafduring the war. The articles will be compiled into a newspaper that the students can take back to the classroom.
Do Artefacts Tell Stories? -Students will further engage with the content that was covered in the gallery tour with a 1-hour curriculum-based educational module. Students will be divided into five different groups where they will be at stations within the gallery. At these stations, students will start developing historical thinking skills, such as evidence and interpretation. Each group will do a critical analysis on the artefacts and the pass-around artefacts that are present in the gallery. They will be looking at trench artefacts, trench tools, uniforms, the Vimy Monument, and medals that were given out after the First World War. This information is then complied in an artefact analysis sheet, where students will be answering a series of questions based on their interpretations.
The downloadable programming is available here.
2016 marked the 100th Anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in Saskatchewan. In celebration, the Diefenbaker Canada Centre created the exhibit, Sisters United: Women’s Suffrage in Saskatchewan, which is available online.
Through this exhibit, students will learn about a history that has largely been neglected. They will explore how societal shifts during the mid-1900s affected suffrage, how notable suffragists like Violet McNaughton became agents of change in the province, and how the establishment of farming organizations, such as the Saskatchewan Women Grain Growers’ Association, advanced the movement. Through narrative text, images, documents and newspaper articles, students will examine the history of women’s enfranchisement in the province and its importance in laying the foundation for women’s rights in Canada.
To help students further engage with the personal stories presented in online exhibit, and to connect these to present-day events and issues, the DCC also offers a 1-hour curriculum connected educational module tp download. Through this multimedia program, students will uncover facts about Canadian women activists, past and present, including women from Aboriginal and other marginalized communities, who fought for equality. Discussion topics include political power and authority, the importance of perspective in Canadian history, and the impacts that suffrage activists have had on present-day Canada. Divided into groups, students will research themes from the exhibit using articles, stories and visuals. Through their combined gained knowledge, students create newspaper articles, similar to those written by suffragists during the movement. These are compiled into a mock “Grain Growers’ Guide” newspaper.
Booking School Groups
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable student docents lead each of the DCC’s educational programs. Large groups or multiple classes visiting are divided into groups of no more than 30 students, allowing for active participation in the educational experience. We appreciate teacher and parent supervision to help students get the most out of the experience.
The museum is a public facility, and your group may share gallery space with other visitors. We make every effort to ensure that all visitors have an enjoyable and enlightening time.
Educational programs are available during regular museum hours, including weekends. Programs are held at the Diefenbaker Centre and transportation is the responsibility of the school or group.
To book a program or to request more information please email or call the Diefenbaker Centre.
"I never once regarded a defeat as a termination. I have been beaten often, but I have been spiritually vanquished. The day after a defeat at the polls, I was always back at work. I never feel hurt or whipped."Diefenbaker (Interview—Liberty)