• School Arts Programs in Okotoks

Education Programs

Education Programs are curriculum-based and designed for various grade levels during the school year. Most run 1.5 to 2 hours and are available for area schools and home school groups. Fees are $75 per group (plus GST), maximum 25 students. 

Contact the Education Program Specialist for further information: culture@okotoks.ca

Booking a Program

Programs must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

View the Education Programs Brochure
Programs at the Okotoks Art Gallery
Art Programs By Grade

Art Gallery programs connect gallery exhibitions with art education concepts in elementary, junior high and high school and include curriculum connections in English Language Arts, Fine Art, Social Studies and sometimes Science. Exhibitions change every 5 - 6 weeks. ALL PROGRAMS include a tour of the Gallery plus a hands-on component in the art studio. Exhibitions change approximately every 5 to 6 weeks. Programs are 1.5 hours in length. Please contact the Education Program Specialist to request an Education Programs brochure.

Note: There is no fee to bring your class or group for a self-guided tour of any exhibition, but calling to book ahead is advised.

  • Grade K-1 - Exploring Lines, Shapes, and Colour​

 Curriculum Connections: Creative/ Cultural Expression, Visual Arts, Language Arts, Sciences (senses and colour)

Art is a vehicle to explore the most basic and fascinating foundations of the world around us. How do lines become shapes? How and why is colour used? Using all five of our senses in this exciting program students will be guided through an interactive gallery experience.

  • Grade K-2 - The Expressive Language of Art

Curriculum Connections: Visual Art and Language Arts

Language is used to communicate an array of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In this program we help students understand the expressive power of words, exploring how words evoke images, and how language may be used to talk about and interpret works of art.

  • Grade 2-3 - The Material World Transformed

Curriculum connections: Visual Arts, Language Arts, Science (building with materials)

In this program students will focus on the transformation of materials. Exploring various colours, textures, and shapes, students will discover how artists use and transform everyday materials and objects.

  • Grade 4-6 - Once More with Feeling

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Language Arts, Social Sciences

Art provokes some of the strongest and most immediate responses. In this program students will learn how artists use particular imagery, objects, materials, and techniques to express an array of themes and emotions. While exploring the visual properties of the works of art on display, students will articulate their own thoughts and feelings.

  • Grade 4-9 - Visual Storytelling

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Language Arts, Social Sciences

Stories can be found in the most interesting of places when you know where to look. In this program students will discover how visual imagery can reflect complex and fascinating narratives. Themes of storytelling, writing, and artistic expression will be explored. In-gallery individual and group activities focus on visual analysis and vocabulary, while a hands-on art activity highlights individual expression and creativity.

  • Grade 10-12 - Art and Context

Curriculum Connections: Visual Arts, Language Arts, Social Sciences

Viewed and interpreted within a broader social context, art reveals a great deal about the time and place within which it was created. In this program students will explore various media, themes, and subject matter, revealing larger contexts in the interpretation of a work of art. Students will respond to what they have seen, experimenting with new forms of expression while articulating their own artistic statements.

Programs at the Okotoks Museum and Archives

We thank the Okotoks & District Historical Society for their generous support of our Museum education programs. 

Programs By Grade

Museum programs focus on the history of Okotoks and area including grades K to 5 curriculum connections in Social Studies, English Language Arts, Fine Art, and some Science. ALL PROGRAMS include a tour of the museum plus hands-on activities.

  • K to Grade One - Okotoks, My Community

Includes a presentation using old photos and anecdotal stories about Okotoks landmarks and entrepreneurs, as well as the history of significant buildings in town such as the train station, old post office, and the first schools.

  • Grade Two - Okotoks, A Prairie Community

Old photos & stories are used to show changes on the farm, in the town, in school, in people - how they dress, travel, work, and play - and changes through floods and fires.

  • Grade Three - Prairie Farm Family and Quality of Life

Through old photos and stories, we look at how farm families lived, worked and played over 100 years ago before electricity, indoor plumbing and computers. Did they have a good quality of life? Compare then and now.

  • Grades Four/Five - Okotoks: The Land, Histories & Stories

From bull trains traveling the Macleod Trail through this area to free land, floods, Stopping Houses and Chinese Immigration, we journey from the mid-1800s to the depression in the 1930s. Photos and anecdotal stories are shared.

  • Grades Four/Five - Okotoks Heroes

This program highlights 16 men and women, including early pioneers who developed this area and those who served the community in notable ways over the years: Dr. AE Ardiel, George Sutherland, John Lineham, Percy Pegler, Katherine Carr...

Programs for all Grades
General interest programs for all program include:
  • Heritage Walking Tour - runs 1.5 to 2 hours and may include a museum tour

Join us for a walk through history in the downtown core of Okotoks. Find out where the Lower School used to be and hear stories about fascinating residents such as Dr. Ardiel. What buildings burned down and were rebuilt? Where did the bricks come from that make up so many historic houses? The walk ends with a tour through the Museum. Allow two hours when booking this program. Can be adapted for any grade level.

  • Toys Over Time

We explore toys that existed from 4000 years ago to the present following the journey of Barbie, the yo-yo, Lego and more. Find out what a Whimmy Diddle is and how children made their own toys over a hundred years ago. Students will create a pioneer-style toy to take home.

  • Life of a Pioneer Wife

How times have changed! Only single women could work outside the home in the mid-1800s and early 1900s. Jobs were few: teacher, nurse, clerk in a store, and being a “Hello Girl” were all temporary for young women until they married. Then life included raising a family as well as any number of household duties. This program includes photos, stories and a tour of our pioneer kitchen.

  • From Rivers to Rocks: Significant Landmarks in My Community

This program includes photos and history of the Sheep River and Big Rock. Learn about the floods over the years and find out how the Okotoks Erratic split in two.

Seasonal Programs

We also offer a couple popular season programs including:

  • Halloween Hi Jinks – History of Halloween in Okotoks

Researching local newspapers back to the first mention of Halloween in Okotoks lead to this program. Through photos and stories, we share the prank of the day going back a hundred years and discuss where the traditions of Halloween originated. This program is only offered in October and includes a related craft plus a tour of the museum.

  • Pioneer Christmas – K through Grade 3 and Grades 4 through 6

Using photos, stories, and a historic display, this seasonal program looks at holiday traditions that came to Okotoks nearly 150 years ago. Learn the origins of some popular Christmas traditions. The program includes a museum tour of Christmas Past and a hands-on heritage craft. It is available after ‘light up’ in November through to Christmas break. Please book early as this is a popular program.

In-School Programs

We come to you! A number of Museum and Gallery programs have been adapted for in-school sessions. Programs include a presentation followed by a hands-on activity. 

Travel fee (for schools outside of Okotoks town limits): $0.56/ km

Note: No subsidies are available for outreach programs.

Programs available:

  • Grade K-6: What is Abstract Art? | 2 hrs

“My kid could do that!” is a common refrain of those unfamiliar with the sometimes deceptively simple world of abstract art. In this program we explore this complex movement from its roots into present day coming to a better understanding of the significant impact abstract art has in our daily lives. Students will have the opportunity to complete an abstract work of art.

  • Grade K-6: Painting Picasso | Two-part program 4 hrs

In this two-part program students will explore the life and works of Pablo Picasso. Part one will delve into Picasso’s earliest years as a young, talented artist and culminate in a realistic self-portrait. Part two will uncover Picasso’s transition to a world of abstraction with students completing Cubist self-portraits. Note: Cost of Painting Picasso two-part program is $100 + GST

  • Grade K-12: Prairie Promises: Landscapes of Alberta | 2 hrs

In this program we look at a number of artists who have chosen to capture the landscape of Alberta in distinct and fascinating ways. Focus will be given to representations of the prairies. What does this reveal about our landscape and what we value as Albertans? What can we learn about our own history through the vision of others? Following discussion, students will complete their own painted landscapes using a technique known as hard edge abstraction.

  • Grade 3: The Woven Art of Tunisia, Peru & the Ukraine | 2 hrs

In this program we reflect on the culture and customs of these three fascinating countries highlighted in the Grade 3 Social Studies curriculum. By focusing on the art of weaving, we will reveal important details about each country’s cultural traditions, values, societal structure and geography. Students will then have the chance to complete their very own weaving.

*NEW* 2019 Programs
Museum Programs
  • Winter Holiday Traditions around the World

From Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to the Lunar New Year to early Christmas on the prairies, we look at some of the unique December holidays and traditions celebrated around the world. This program is only available in December and includes a presentation, museum scavenger hunt, and a hands-on holiday craft. Grades K - 6. 

  • The Land. The History. The Stories. | Indigenous Perspectives

What makes Indigenous people from the Canadian prairies unique from groups on Canada’s west or east coast? In this program we explore the history of Canada’s Indigenous people. We will focus on a few geographical regions, identifying the unique cultural traditions and perspectives of different groups and highlighting relationships with the land, from pre-contact days into the present. A hands-on crafting project will be completed. Grades 3 - 12. 

  • Niitsitapi | The Blackfoot People

In southern Alberta we live on Blackfoot land, Treaty 7 territory. In this program we explore the history of the Blackfoot people; from a look at the traditional way of life, including buffalo hunting and oral storytelling, to present day traditions and celebrations. We will highlight Indigenous perspectives, revealing how and why harmonious relationships with the land were and continue to be vital. A hands-on crafting project will be completed. Grades 3 - 12. 

  • The Fur Trade

In this program we explore how the fur trade developed and helped shape Canadian identity. What challenges were faced? How did trade impact Indigenous populations? What was life like in early settlements? What is the difference between bartering and monetary exchange? An engaging presentation will be followed by hands-on learning in the museum and an interactive fur trade game. Grades 4 - 5. 

In-School Programs
  • Emily Carr: Painting the Canadian Wild

In this program we explore the life and legacy of one of Canada’s most important artists. Emily Carr captured the wild ferocity and unique cultural history of Canada’s west coast in a manner unlike anyone else. In this program, we explore Carr’s life and work, from the most quirky of details – her pet monkey, Woo! – to the profound impact she continues to have on Canadian history and identity. A lively presentation will be followed by a hands-on art project.  Grades K - 12. 

  • Wild and Wonderful Women of Art

Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Yayoi Kusama are just a few of art’s most extraordinary talents. These incredible artists changed the landscape of art, establishing legacies that speak to their perseverance as women in cultural climates and industries where standards and expectations are largely decided by men. In this program we explore the life and work of each painter before completing a unique watercolour painting inspired by Georgia O’Keefe. Grades 3 - 12. 

  • Tales from the North: Inuit Art by Annie Pootoogook

Delve into the modern daily life of an Inuit household through the eyes of renowned Inuit artist, Annie Pootoogook. In this program we explore the rich life and history of Canada’s Inuit people before completing an art project of our own inspired by Annie’s colourful drawings. Grades K - 12. 

Children's Art Birthday party education program okotoks art gallery
OAG - Okotoks Art Gallery
Sun - Tue: Closed
Wed - Sat: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Okotoks Museum & Archives
Sun - Tue: Closed
Wed - Sat: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Open Tuesdays by appointment only.