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First day of school in 1961

The Story

It's the first day of school in 1961, and the kids at Toronto's John Fisher Public School are heading home for lunch. But before they leave, CBC's Bill Walker asks some of the youngsters how their day is going so far. Some are excited. Others aren't so thrilled. "I don't like school," admits one boy. A kindergarten girl says she loved the finger painting. Another boy says his favourite part is playtime. And one girl declares that while some teachers are OK, others are "too crabby."

Medium: Television
Program: Parade
Broadcast Date: Sept. 17, 1961
Host: Bill Walker
Duration: 5:48

Did You know?

• John Fisher Public School is the oldest elementary school in the Toronto District School Board. Opened in 1816, its original home was a log cabin in what is now North Toronto, but used to be known as the village of Eglinton. It was called the Eglinton School at the time. Its current building was erected in 1887. It was renamed John Fisher Public School in 1915, in honour of the first mayor of North Toronto who also happened to be the architect of the building. The school building is now listed as a historic site.

  • The first day of school makes most children a little nervous, but for some, the anxiety is more serious. In a 2008 Maclean's article, psychologist Lynn Miller explains the difference between normal back-to-school jitters and anxiety disorders: "We want all kids to have a bit of first-day jitters, because that tells us they understand school is important, and a little anxiety actually enhances your performance, helps you pay attention. But some children and adolescents become so overwhelmed - tummy aches, headaches, feeling hot - that they can't go into the classroom or, if they get there, they're very frightened." She estimates that six to 10 per cent of kids have serious back-to-school anxiety problems each year.




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