by Monica Hammond
At the BC Protestant Children’s Home, a set schedule meant that the children’s lives flowed as smoothly as possible from one day to the next.
The children got up no later than 7:00 a.m. during the summer, and 7:30 during the winter. Breakfast was at 8:00 (8:30 during the winter), and cleaning chores were done before breakfast so that the building was neat and tidy (The Home: page 47).
After breakfast the children got ready for school. High school children made their own lunches and helped care for the younger children. The younger ones came home for lunch, and everyone came back to The Home right after school.
Dinner (which we now call lunch) was at noon, and tea (which we now call supper) was at 5:00 p.m. Bedtime was between 6 and 8 p.m., depending on the age of the child and the time of year.
After supper, much like what happens in our own homes today, the younger children went to bed and the older ones did their homework.
Even today, a set routine provides a sense of certainty, whether you are a child or an elderly person, or somewhere in between.
This piece is based on the work of Vernon Storey, Terry Worobetz and Henry Kennedy in their book The Home: Orphans’ Home to Family Centre: 1873 to 1998. Copies of the book are available for purchase at The Cridge Centre for the Family.