Photostory #462: For Canada's Teen-Age Immigrants: A Smooth Road to High School
National Film Board of Canada
February 13, 1968
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Toronto, the sprawling, pulsating capital city of Ontario and the destination of thousands upon thousands of immigrants from the diverse nations of Europe, has a novel experiment in education underway. Noting the obvious difficulties confronting school-age members of immigrant families in not only adapting to a new language and way of life but of also having to continue their education under these circumstances, the city school board initiated: Experiment on Main Street. This is a school where informality is the rule, the curriculum is made up as needs dictate, the teachers are multi-lingual and field trips to the supermarket to study sausages and strawberries are a commonplace. The hundred or so pupils, recently arrived from Greece, Italy, China, Bulgaria, etc., graduate at any time and then, armed with their new bilingualism and knowledge of everyday affairs in Canada, are more easily assimilated into the ordinary senior public or secondary school in their neighborhood. Subjects taught in the school (with a heavy emphasis on teaching the pupils their new language) range from playing store and post office to special interests in science, music or social studies. All of these activities, plus the school's intentionally easy-going attitude to encourage communication between teachers and small groups of students, is designed to help the pupil enter the new cultural environment and say - Welcome to Canada.