History of the Lab School

As my 29th year with the Lab School begins, I pause to reflect on the school's history. In 1983, after completing my master's degree and my internship in the Lab School, I was given a position on faculty at the University of Houston Clear Lake with my primary responsibility being to serve as a teacher in the Lab School. The Juanita Bridges Pre-Primary Laboratory School was an integral part of the school of education at UHCL for almost twenty years.

The Lab School served as a teacher-training lab and a model preschool for children in the Clear Lake area and surrounding communities. The university faculty conducted research in the Lab School and thousands of university students, junior college and high school students as well as teachers, directors,

principals and administrators from other schools came to visit the school. The school had an excellent reputation for its state of the art classroom, playground, and curriculum. The Lab School was one of the first schools in Texas to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In 1994, UHCL, because of limited space for university-classes, decided to close the school on campus. The community came out in large numbers to support the Lab School and its reputation as a high quality learning environment for children. Largely because of community support, UHCL's administrators graciously decided to donate all of the classroom supplies, materials and equipment inside and outside of the school so that it could continue as a model private non-profit school for children.

As we began to look for a new location for the school, Faith Covenant Church lovingly reached out their hand in the school's time of need and opened the doors to their facility so that the school could continue to have classes without interruption.

And, in 2002, the Lab School purchased the building and land that the school now sits on from the church.  The staff was able to redecorate the inside of the school and make some changes to classrooms in order to enhance their educational use and aesthetic appeal..

The Lab School program continues to grow and thrive because of the wonderful parents, children, teachers and community support that have always been an integral part of our history. The unique element of the Lab School environment is that it functions like a family. Families care about one another and support each other in the guiding and raising of their children.

 Each week I read in the Clear Lake paper of accomplishments and achievements of former Lab School students and I, like their parents, are so proud of the young adults that they have become. There is no greater joy than being a parent.  And, teachers have the unique privilege and joy to participate in the educational growth and development of young children.

Many of my "former preschool students" are now attending college, getting married and establishing careers and families of their own. I often see them in the community and I love to reminisce by looking at old Lab School photo albums and slides. There were the funny children, the serious ones, the reflective ones and the very creative ones. How special each and every one of them were in their own way. And, what a contribution they made to my life and to the lives of their classmates.

Each year, a new group of precious, curious, bright-eyed children enter through our doors and we have the unique and exciting privilege to open their eyes and their minds to all of the possibilities and opportunities that await them. It truly is our desire to light a fire within them that will burn brightly for years to come as they explore, ask, seek and find information for themselves.

What a wonderful career- to be a teacher. What an awesome responsibility to be a guide, a mentor, a helper and a friend as children travel down the life-long road called "school".