Lab School History and Philosophy

As you explore the school's 50-year history below, please note that EFSC Lab School has become Launch Learning Preschool, which started its classes in January 2023. Visit our Lab School landing page for more details on this exciting news which will continue the Lab School legacy as a non-profit, community based organization.

A Special School, A Special History

There was a time when moms and dads learned to be parents from their parents and their community. In the early 1960s, as the space industry began in Brevard County, newly relocated families found themselves without parents or experienced neighbors nearby to support them in their role as parents. Mothers were very isolated at home while fathers put in long hours at work, and the whole family felt the strain.

In 1966, Dr. Barbara Young, a psychiatric social worker, family counselor and mother, moved with her husband, John, to Brevard from Seattle, Washington. She recognized the need for local families to have knowledge and support.

Barbara YoungDr. Young wanted to create schools that emphasized cooperation, with teachers and parents working together as a team to meet the needs of children and families. She used a “co-op” model in which parents worked along with the paid staff. Dr. Young established the first schools at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Cocoa Beach and Rockledge United Methodist Church. The program was called “The Parent Cooperative Laboratory School.” The schools were not "drop-off" programs, but places where parents could participate with their young children in an extended family atmosphere. At Dr. Young’s request, Brevard Junior College provided skilled child specialists to help lead the classes.

Soon, the program began to grow. Dr. Young, the mother of seven children, became the program’s first director. Brevard Junior College became Brevard Community College, and the program was renamed BCC Lab School for Parent Education. Dr. Gail Buchanan became involved and served the families in Lab School for almost 35 years in multiple capacities as a parent, an educator, and even the Lab School director. When BCC became Eastern Florida State College, the program remained dedicated to supporting families while providing an excellent learning experience for parents and their children.

In Febraury 2022, EFSC announced that Lab School would transition to Launch Learning Preschool, the non-profit organization formed to carry on the vision of Drs. Young and Buchanan by Gail Buchanan's son and daughter-in-law Jimmy and Jonnah Buchanan. EFSC's Lab School family is excited to see what's ahead for Launch Learning Preschool as they begin classes in August 2022 with the same focus on play-based education.

Lab School Philosophy:

EFSC Lab School offers a unique program where learning is hands-on and based on the educational philosophy of respect for each individual child's ability to grow and develop inner controls, to think and play creatively and to discover their own resources. Classes are play-based, as children learn best through engaging, fun, developmentally appropriate activities. EFSC believes that parents are the first and most important teachers for their children and supports positive parenting methods that help parents lovingly raise children to practice self-calming, problem-solving and self-control skills without sacrificing discipline and self-responsibility.

Mission statement:
  • Lab School offers all parents a place to feel confident and supported in their parenting, sharing evidence-based information so parents can form a parenting style that is successful for their family
  • Lab School offers all children the opportunity to learn both an academic and social emotional curriculum that leads them to be lifelong learners, responsible for their behavior and motivated to make good choices
  • Lab School provides a place where families can come together, connect to each other and form strong friendships with other families
  • Lab School offers education and assistance to teachers, school administers and others working with children to increase the success of children everywhere
Lab School teaches and supports all children as they:
  • Reach for physical, emotional, mental and social growth through fun, challenging activities
  • Mature at their own pace, with nurturing and guidance from faculty and staff
  • Learn to control their bodies through practicing good coordination and muscle control
  • Develop a positive self-image of themselves and others using choices during classroom interactions
  • Adjust to new experiences by seeing stress and conflict as teachable moments where children learn life skills
  • Develop trust in concerned adults, caring teachers and each other every day
Lab School teaches and supports parents as they:
  • Learn about themselves, their spouses and their children, both as individuals and as part of an ever-changing family
  • Learn positive ways to handle challenging behavior
  • Build new friendships and community networks
  • Enjoy an active role in their child's school experience
  • Share the joys and challenges of parenting with other parents who have children near the same age
  • Gain new knowledge about their child’s development from trained faculty and staff
  • Create a strong life-long bond to their child