Progressive Education in the 21st Century – Second Edition
Edited By Susan F. Semel, Alan R. Sadovnik and Ryan W. Coughlan
Chapter 5. The Laboratory School at the Institute of Child Study: Child Study as Progressive Education in Ontario
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THE LABORATORY SCHOOL AT THE INSTITUTE OF CHILD STUDY
Child Study as Progressive Education in Ontario
Theodore M. Christou and Panayiotes Tryphonopoulos
This chapter discusses Toronto’s Institute of Child Study as a bastion of the child study movement. This movement was a distinct aspect of progressive education, which transformed the landscape of public education across Canada in the period following World War I.1 Three principal themes dominated Ontario’s progressivist thinking during the interwar period: a) the relationship of schools to society, which needed to be better correlated, or integrated, as society was rapidly transforming and schools were increasingly out of touch with modern life; b) the cultivation of active learning in the school, which would break with traditional forms of rote learning and examination; and c) the concentration upon the individual child, who had been up to that point, according to progressivist thought, subjugated to an unbending and outdated curriculum.2
As such, this chapter will discuss the Laboratory School, which included a Nursery School, at the Institute of Child Study in light of these three themes, demonstrating the particular interpretations of progressive education that the child study advocates put into place and theory within the context. The Canadian context that gave rise to the progressivist movement in the province of Ontario shall frame the chapter, for it is argued here that the concerted efforts to experiment with, reform, and rethink education in the interwar period are...
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