In the early 1900s, most children in rural Quebec go to school in one-room schoolhouses. Most schools are simple brick or wooden structures, and are built far enough back from the road to limit distractions. Each school has a playground, and some also have a garden where students grow flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. A fence separates the school from the fields and prevents farm animals from wandering onto the grounds. A well provides water, and an outhouse, built away from the school, or latrines in an adjoining structure are kept clean by the teacher and emptied once a year by a local farmer. A wall separates the boys' toilets from the girls'. Both are very cold in winter, with snow sometimes entering through cracks in the wall.
Classrooms can also be cold in winter. They are heated by a wood stove and it is the teacher's responsibility to keep the fire going and to buy wood if the regular supply runs out. Students walk to school, sometimes as far as 7 kilometers. During the warmer months, many walk in bare feet to protect their shoes. In winter, most children walk, although in some parts of Quebec, students arrive by dogsled or horse-drawn sleigh.