We invite everyone interested in learning from Laboratory School educators, researchers, administrators, and professors to join us for an in-person conference in Toronto, Canada, April 26-28, 2023.

Designing Cultures of Learning: The Essential Purpose of Lab Schools

Laboratory Schools share a common purpose: to intentionally design learning-centred classrooms where ideas, innovation, and research can thrive. Lab Schools began with a desire to explore what is possible in education for children when the educational philosopher John Dewey started the first laboratory school at the University of Chicago in 1896. The "Dewey School" flourished as a place to explore and implement emerging theories on child development and education, with the initial premise that the function of a laboratory school should be the "working out and testing" of new educational approaches (Dewey, The Child, and the Curriculum, 1902). This purpose still resonates in this century and shapes what Lab Schools do today. Many Lab Schools now exist around the world as university and college-affiliated schools engaged in practices of teacher training, curriculum development, research, professional development, educational experimentation, and dissemination and advocacy for the improvement of learning for all children.

The 2023 IALS conference will be an opportunity for Lab Schools to share how they are intentionally designing and researching how children learn best in our present-day context. Modern times inspire Lab Schools to continue to explore how to respond to current societal and environmental realities - such as racial and gender-based inequities, urgent issues related to climate change, and post-pandemic trauma - with new learning and new ways of operating. As well as cognitive or academic-focused changes, Lab Schools prioritize social-emotional and moral learning, to foster students who are not only competent to act for a better world but have the caring disposition to do so.


Conference sessions may include a focus on intentional approaches and priorities such as the design of caring, inclusive, and connected school communities that promote a celebration of identity and sense of belonging for all its members; incorporating Indigenous perspectives in building sustainable and reciprocal relationships with the natural world, or fostering inquiry and innovation through the design of idea-centred learning experiences. This conference will hear voices from around the world, highlighting how Lab Schools create, explore, and build learning cultures that continuously seek, apply, and share new knowledge about children's development and education.

Pre-conference Opportunities

Participants who attend the full conference will be invited to sign-up for one of these three optional pre-conference offerings on the morning of Wednesday, April 26th. Get your free tickets by Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

 

1.     Immersive School Experiences 

During this pre-conference offering, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of a laboratory school by experiencing a typical morning in a particular grade or age group, or job shadowing a supervisor/principal/director. Time will be set aside to debrief your experience with the educators.

 

2.     Natural Curiosity Pre-Conference Workshop

This workshop will model the environmental inquiry process that can in turn be applied with students. Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition supports a stronger awareness of Indigenous approaches to environmental learning. A respectful dialogue between Western and Indigenous ways of relating to nature in this edition challenges us to ask, "How can we help future generations shift from suffering with the burden of 'stewardship for the environment' to a life of active participation in, coupled with deep love and respect for, Mother Earth?" By engaging with the four-branch pedagogical framework of Natural Curiosity, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how Indigenous perspectives can support a shift away from acts of stewardship, towards relationships of reciprocity across Turtle Island. Participants will be able to purchase a copy of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children's Environmental Inquiry.


3.  Invitation to the Courtyard: Designing for Land-based Education

Learn from landscaper designer and restoration ecologist Ben Porchuk about the intentions behind the transformation of an outdoor courtyard into a "nature sense ground". Hear from an Indigenous scholar, educator, and co-author of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children's Environmental Inquiry Doug Anderson about why and how he is encouraging students to develop a relationship with the natural world.

Conference Highlights

Presentations

The presentations at the conference are tailored to the interests and concerns of laboratory school practitioners and administrators. The topics range from "nuts and bolts" issues of practice to more "big picture" visions and research-based theoretical presentations. A full description of the presenters and their presentation topics will be available in early 2023.


If you are associated with a Lab School and interested in applying to be a presenter, we would love to hear from you! Please complete this form by December 1st. For questions about presenting, please be in touch with the Conference Chairs: Chriss Bogert chriss.bogert@utoronto.ca and Elizabeth Morley elizabeth.morley@utoronto.ca


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Pamela Baer

Professor of Critical Arts-Based Pedagogy and Gender, Sexuality, and Schooling

at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

& The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,

The University of Toronto

 

Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair

Professor & Acting Head, Dept. of Indigenous Studies

Faculty of Arts Professorship in Indigenous Knowledge and Aesthetics,

The University of Manitoba


Stay tuned for information coming soon about our wonderful keynote speakers!



Research Conversations

Specific times will be set aside for those interested in exploring future research collaborations to come together to discuss priorities and share challenges and insights.


Meals

The conference fee will include lunches, two dinners, and snacks and beverages.

School Tours

On Thursday, April 27th, participants at the IALS 2023 conference will have the opportunity to tour some of our amazing Lab Schools in Toronto: 

TRAVEL

All conference locations, including the conference hotel, are located in downtown, Toronto.


Getting to Toronto

Toronto's Pearson International Airport is located approximately 25 km from the Kimpton St. George Hotel. This airport serves many domestic and international airlines. A taxi from Pearson to the Hotel will cost approximately $56.00 CDN. 


Union Pearson Express (UP Express) is a train service that runs from Pearson Airport to Union Station in downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes, leaving on a frequent schedule. Adult one-way fare from Pearson to Union is $12.35 CDN. 


VIA Rail, the passenger inter-city train service, arrives at Union Station. From Union Station, the TTC, the city's subway system, will take you to within a block of the Kimpton St. George Hotel on the University line. Adult fare is $3.25. CDN 


Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a smaller airport with service to and from more than 20 cities in Canada and the US. It is located in downtown Toronto. A taxi from Billy Bishop to the Kimpton Hotel will cost approximately $15.00 CDN. 


Driving to Toronto takes approximately 6 hours from Pittsburgh and 11 from New York City. Please inquire at your hotel regarding parking. 


All travelers entering Canada need a passport.    


The conference hotel, Kimpton St. George, is 6 blocks from Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, 45 Walmer Rd., Toronto, just off the northwest corner of the University of Toronto main campus. The school can be reached on foot from the hotel or by a one-stop ride on the TTC subway to the Spadina Station (Kendal Exit) from the St. George station. The conference will provide transportation, directions, or hosts to accompany you to each lab school you will see and all destinations within the conference program

Hotel Information

The hotel for the conference will be Kimpton Saint George. It is located 6 blocks from Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, 45 Walmer Rd., Toronto, just off the northwest corner of the University of Toronto main campus. The school can be reached on foot from the hotel or by a one-stop ride on the TTC subway to the Spadina Station (Kendal Exit) from the St. George station. The conference will provide transportation, directions, or hosts to accompany you to each lab school you will see and all destinations within the conference program.


Kimpton Saint George has given IALS a special rate of $279 CAD per night. Conference attendees have two booking options. 


Option One - click on the link below, follow the booking prompts and input the date that you would like to stay. The link will be active until March 27th, 2023. After this date, IALS is unable to guarantee this rate.

International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) Conference - Kimpton Saint George

 

Option Two - If booking by phone, guests must call the Central Reservations number at 1- 833-642-9137. It is important that guests contact the Hotel at least thirty days prior to arrival date (March 27th, 2023) and identify themselves as part of the IALS Group, and provide the hotel with the guest name, requested type of room, requested bed type (i.e. king, double/double, queen or suites), check-in and check-out dates, and VIP status. Any requests for special room arrangements must be made at the time of this call. 

 

To identify yourselves as part of the IALS group, make reference group code "J77" or by the name "International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) Conference".


Kimpton Perks: Hosted wine hour from 5 pm - 6 pm in the lobby daily, morning kickstart tea/coffee service in the lobby daily, Wi-fi, yoga mat in every room, 24-hour fitness center access

Registering with a credit card

Choose PayPal to register for the conference if you are paying with a credit card. You do NOT need to have a PayPal account. Follow the instructions below.

Tickets

  • Member Registration - US $

    $400.-

    This registration pays for the entire conference. If you are paying for this registration, you are eligible to obtain a FREE TICKET for the pre-conference activities.

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  • Registration for Non-Members - US $

    $450.-

    This registration is for people whose school, college, or university are NOT members of IALS. It pays for the entire conference. With this registration, you are eligible to obtain a FREE TICKET for the pre-conference activities.

    Buy Ticket
  • Canadian Member Registration - US $

    $300.-

    This registration is for Canadian members who will attend the entire conference. If you are paying for this registration, you are eligible to obtain a FREE TICKET for the pre-conference activities.

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  • Canadian NON-MEMBER Registration - US $

    $350.-

    This registration is for people whose school, college, or university are NOT members of IALS. It pays for the entire conference. With this registration, you are eligible to obtain a FREE TICKET for the pre-conference activities.

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  • One-Day Registration - Members Only - US $

    $150.-

    This registration is valid for one day of the conference.

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  • One-Day Registration for Non-Members - US $

    $175.-

    This one-day registration is for people whose school, college, or university are NOT members of IALS. It is valid for one day of the conference.

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  • Pre-Conference Morning FREE TICKET

    Free

    Free for participants registered in the FULL conference. There are a LIMITED amount of tickets.

    Reserve Ticket
  • Student Registration - US $

    $100.-

    Present school ID or proof of registration at a college or university

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About the Agenda

Details about the conference agenda will be posted here as they develop – check back for more information!

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