After the Second World War some country schools expanded, as servicemen settled on farms with government assistance, married, and raised families. Ann Somerville recalls the glory days of Pakeho school, near Te Kūiti.
When Helen Hirst left school in 1946, she was told she would have a better chance of being accepted for teacher training if she spent a year in a sole charge country school; so she went to teach on a farm called Manahune, at Waipara, North Canterbury.
Some country children had to learn to look after themselves at an early age, but they also looked after each other. Celia Geary, who went to school in Hawke’s Bay, remembers both chores and games with pleasure.
Learning to read and write and do arithmetic was just part of the country school experience. Mrs Eileen Shaw, Mrs Dawn Beattie and Mrs Noline Johnson remember some of the games children played and the trouble they got into.
Children who went to country schools learned to take responsibility for themselves and others at an early age, and acquired a range of skills not necessarily shared by children in city schools. Mrs N. Johnson, Mrs G. Peddie, Mrs Eileen Shaw and Mrs Dawn Beattie explain.
Grace Shaw (nee Dassler) was just 17 years old and had completed three years at high school when in 1927 she was employed as the sole teacher of the Piripiri aided school, south-west of Ōtorohanga in the King Country.