History of Kilby Laboratory
The University of North Alabama traces its roots to LaGrange College, a school that was charted in Colbert County in 1830. It was moved to Florence and rechartered as Wesleyan University in 1855. Then in 1872, the University became Florence State Normal School, the first normal school in the south. Since the major purpose of the institution was to train teachers, a training school was developed on the campus with elementary and high school classes meeting in Wesleyan Hall and Wesleyan Annex.
In 1922, during the tenure of Governor Thomas K. Kilby, a building named Kilby School was constructed just west of Wesleyan Hall. This new building housed the first six grades, while the high school classes continued meeting in the two buildings used for college classes. This arrangement continued until 1919, when the institution became Florence State Teachers College, That same year the college adopted a four-year curriculum for students majoring in elementary education. Also, Kilby School was restructured to include only grades one through eight. Then in 1950, grades seven and eight were eliminated.
Growth of the college was accompanied by an increase in the size of the campus which necessitated a plan for further expansion. Kilby School was moved to a new structure west of Pine Street in 1964. Kindergarten was added to the program of the school in 1970. Then in 1975, a nursery school was added adjacent to the school.
The purpose of Kilby School is to provide a secure environment that will enhance physical, mental, social and emotional growth while preparing children to function successfully in society; to develop a desire for learning and foster higher level thinking skills by actively involving children in the learning process in a creative environment. A further purpose is to function as a clinical setting for teachers in training where they may observe and take part in the active application of current theory.
Kilby School has its philosophical roots in a child-centered theory of instruction which stresses active learning in pursuit of practical applications of the skills and concepts necessary to life in a democracy. The school's philosophy has developed in recent years toward cognitive developmental theory which stresses construction of knowledge by each individual learner, with initiation of the learning process shared by teacher and students. Other theories of learning are utilized where appropriate, as in the program of assertive discipline.
The faculty of Kilby School understands education to be the provision of guided learning experiences which enables individual children to develop potential abilities and to realize present and future responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society.
The Kilby Laboratory School community believes that students learn best when they:
- Have supportive teachers, administrators, parents, and community members sharing the responsibility of providing a physically and psychologically safe learning environment
- Have equal opportunities to participate in a curriculum that incorporates a variety of learning experiences that accommodate individual learning styles and cultural differences
- Are actively engaged in the learning process toward achieving high standards of excellence
- Create and use a variety of thinking and reasoning strategies in solving problems, making judgments, and becoming reflective learners