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Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study announces $5 million endowment fund

Investment will support educational discovery and innovation by increasing access to lab school for all

November 28, 2018


Diversity has always been central to the mission of the lab school housed within the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute for Child Study (JICS), at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The institute supports a graduate teacher education program grounded in the field of child study and an active multidisciplinary research centre (R.G.N. Laidlaw Centre).

But it’s not just teaching diversity that’s important.

The globally-renowned school strives to ensure the student body itself represents varying races, ethnicities, religions, gender, sexual orientations, family composition and more.

It’s that “more” part that school administrators are eager to address. Another area where the school aims to be diverse is within the socio-economic class of its student body– a goal that’s been the hardest to achieve.

The lab school is a self-funded entity within the University of Toronto that contributes to excellence in education through its contribution to teacher education and to research within and beyond the institute. However, now with tuition costs at more than $23,000 per student per year, socio-economic diversity is declining which means that it is harder for research at the lab school to be reflective of the broader public school population.

(JICS Principal Richard Messina is quick to note that thanks to donations, the school has been able to support the tuition of some children over the years, but it’s only been for a few students and only for a few years).

The lab school is aiming to change this. A $5 million endowment fund was recently announced, which for the first time, will enable the lab school to provide financial assistance to students from lower-income neighbourhoods beginning at pre-kindergarten all the way to graduation in grade six.

“We know that all the children benefit from the diversity of perspectives and life experiences,” says Messina. “We also know that the research will benefit and will be of value to public school educators as well.”

The fund will consist of contributions from donors, parents and other supporters of the lab school. Each year, approximately $200,000 of the fund will be allocated towards tuition assistance, allowing children to attend who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

Messina says it’s a win-win situation for all ­– the kids, the researchers, JICS and ultimately, schools and educators worldwide.

“Here at the lab school we need to model a community where we have diversity of ideas, diversity of experiences, and diversity of attitudes as well,” said Messina. “And with this endowment fund, we’re better able to ensure this diversity is truly representative of our city and the world.”

Make a donation to support the fund:

Increasing diversity


Watch: learn more about the importance of diversity at JICS and how the endowment fund will benefits the lab school.


What is a lab school?


Watch: Principal Richard Messina explains what exactly a lab school is.