Antecedents of Schools as Community Hubs, The lasting influence of John Dewey’s philosophy and contemporary adaptations


This exploratory paper examines the antecedents of community schools within eminent educator John Dewey’s web of life concept, where life and pedagogical practice are viewed in terms of their interrelations.  As Founder of The Laboratory School, completed in 1903 on the University of Chicago campus, he proposed distinctive facilities in keeping with his educational vision. The paper examines both contemporary and historic interpretations of community schools with respect to Dewey’s ideas. Chicago Public School’s Community School Initiative, the largest community schools’ system in the United States, is discussed as an example, with Nettelhorst School presented to illustrate the district’s mission.  A circumscribed historical timeline provides context. The paper closes by assessing associations between curriculum, society, and the built environment, appraising a contemporary community education system in terms of ideas proposed more than a century ago.

Keywords:  John Dewey, community, web of life, schools, architecture

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