Christmas Pioneers (Gr. 2-6)

Program Highlights

Discover what Christmas was like for children of the past. Before big-box stores and on-line shopping, home-made toys and simple gifts expressed the spirit of the season. Crafts, stories and candy canes melting on the tongue will transport students two hundred years back in time.

Christmas Pioneers is designed to support the Grade 2 Social Studies curriculum relating to change.

The program has also been popular with teachers in Grade 4 – 6 as a seasonal outing.

During the program, students accompany a Museum interpreter on a tour of the pre-industrial exhibits, and use interactive displays to learn about the use of hand tools, simple machines, and water power in manufacturing products. Students also print their own Christmas card on a printing press, and make a simple toy, familiar to children of the past. The program ends with a story about Christmas in the mid-19th century.

Curriculum Outcome Links

Grade 2

Outcome 1:  Students will describe changes in their lives and their reaction to these changes.

  • Discuss learnings, perceptions, ideas about changes and their reactions to changes in their lives through listening, speaking, and creating images
  • Ask questions about changes and why they may occur in family or community

Grade 5

Outcome 1: Students will develop an understanding of how we learn about the past with a focus on Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’kmaq and additional cultures.

  • Discuss why we learn about the past
  • Reflect on differences between the present and the past

Grade 6

Outcome 4: Students will examine how tradition relates to culture in a region, inclusive of the traditions of the Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’Kmaq, and additional cultures.

  • Explore how traditions, customs and rituals influence a region’s culture
  • Investigate to infer how cultural traditions are affected by change factors
  • Explore how cultural values and beliefs are reflected and preserved through language, literature and oral tradition


2 hours

Program Capacity

2 classes (60 students maximum)

Grade 2: 1 chaperone for every 5 students

Grade 4 – 6: 1 chaperone for every 10 students


November - December

Program Outline

Arrival: Bathrooms, hang up coats

5 minutes: Welcome and introduction

Students are divided into small groups to take part in the tour and craft activities, and each group participates in all components of the program.

30 minutes: Tour of Pre-Industrial Gallery

Students tour the Pre-Industrial Gallery and use interactive exhibits to learn how people of the early 1800’s used the technologies of water power and simple machines to do work and make things.

30 minutes: Printing Press activity

Students learn how printing presses were used to create texts and communicate ideas and information. Students then print a Christmas card to take home.

30 minutes: Christmas Toy

Students make a simple “climbing Santa” toy, and discuss reasons why gifts might be home-made rather than bought.

20 minutes: Christmas Story

Students listen to a Christmas story from “Little House on the Prairie”, and share ideas about how and why Christmas in the mid 1800’s was different from today.

5 minutes: Conclusion and dismiss

Information and Reservations

To reserve your program, please call: (902) 755-5425 or email

Registration will begin in September. We encourage you to book early!