We are the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, located at Eliza A. Blaker School 55. Eliza A. Blaker was a trailblazer in early childhood education and headed the free kindergarten movement in Indianapolis. She established the Teachers College of Indianapolis which later became the education department at Butler University. We are honored to carry out our program at a school that celebrates Eliza A. Blaker’s contributions to education in our city.
Our Pre-K through 8th grade school is inspired by the teachings of Reggio Emilia Italy. We are a project-based school and build our curriculum with our children’s interests. Often, we engage in long-term projects that intertwine into all aspects of the day. Our school uses the workshop method for teaching reading, writing, and math, which means that once the students are taught a lesson in that subject area, they are then released to work throughout the room. Children are encouraged to communicate and ask questions of one another during these times, and we often have them work in pairs and groups to facilitate communication and problem solving strategies. One of the first things a visitor may notice in our building is our environment. In practicing the Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching and learning, we believe that the environment is the third teacher. Often, things are displayed in a way that allows children to explore and interact with their surroundings. Visitors may also notice that we do not prefer to use desks in our room. We have tables that foster collaboration and we allow the children to choose seating choices that fit their learning/work style.
Being The IPS/Butler Laboratory School means that we have a partnership with Butler University. Many of our teachers are graduates from Butler University, including Mrs. Clark, our principal. We also work closely in mentoring Butler University College of Education students, most often during their Block A experience. This experience happens each semester and allows us to have 3-4 pre-service teachers supporting us and our students in the classroom once a week. We also partner with Butler in hosting student teachers and partnering with several other College of Education classes.