Hutterite Education

Hutterite children are confronted with learning three languages. A Tyrolean dialect is learned in the home and is used mainly in oral communications. German is learned before and after a regular school day and it is used mainly in the church and in written communication. English is learned in school and used in communication with people outside the community such as teachers, shopkeepers, and neighbouring farmers.

Learning English presents many problems for students since most of them have had little exposure to English before entering school. The teacher is faced with the task of teaching the language in addition to the regular school curriculum.

In the Portage La Prairie School Division there are ten Hutterian schools. The enrolments range from 12 to 36 students in kindergarten to senior high. K-8 is handled by the on site staff and high school students are serviced through on site visits and audio-conferencing.  Some students take courses through an ITV (Interactive Television) system.

On a typical school day the English teacher takes over the students after they have had an hour of German school. From 9:00 to 11:30 AM the children receive instruction in Language Arts and Maths. The staff works with what could be 12 grade groups and ages from 5 to 16+. The afternoon begins at 12:30 and before dismissal at 3:00 PM the staff must cover material in all the other required subjects. The students get a short break at 3:00 PM and then have another hour of German School.  High school classes are from 9 to 11:30 and 1 to 3:30.  This accommodates the noon meal differences.

The Hutterite schools are modern one or two classroom buildings including as well a teacher's room, washrooms, and perhaps a small library. They are reasonably well equipped. Each has computers and a photo-copier and have access to other things as required, through the Hutterian Resource Center and PERC.

Students attend school until age 16+ and then receive on the job training. The students are considered adults when they are 15.  A number of students have graduated with a regular high school diploma of 30 credits.