The vision of the Child Development and Learning Laboratory (CDLL) is to provide one of Michigan's most relevant, comprehensive, and innovative educational, developmental, and professional opportunities for Central Michigan University students, children, families, and Early Childhood Professionals.
The program exists to:
- Provide a laboratory in which university students observe, participate, train and study children under the supervision of trained early childhood teachers.
- Provide a facility for research in child development and family relationships at Central Michigan University.
- Provide an enriched program that meets the needs of young children in the areas of social, cognitive, emotional, physical, and language development.
- Include all enrolled children in a national model of developmentally appropriate programming.
- Promote among families a greater understanding of their child's growth and development.
- Encourage families and significant adults to be involved in meaningful ways, in their child's educational experience.
In its work with young children, the target program's goals are to build:
- Self-confidence, initiative, and a positive self-image
- A feeling of love, respect, and belonging
- Friendliness and consideration for others
- An enthusiasm for active learning
- An inquiry based approach to learning
- An ability to solve problems
In the spirit of following a Reggio Inspired Approach to early childhood education, and in assessing children’s ongoing growth and development using documentation of children’s work and observational anecdotal recordsthrough the Teaching Strategies’ online assessment tools (including the Individual Child Profile), the faculty and staff of the Child Development and Learning Laboratory and Human Development and Family Studies area hold to the following philosophical ideas in the education of young children:
These ideas are founded on the belief that children, teachers and parents are considered the three central protagonists in the educational process (Gandini, 1993). We believe that ALL children are creative thinkers, who thrive when they can explore, take risks and use their imaginations to participate in research and construct learning within the context of interactions with other children, adults and the environment. All children have a right to practice making choices, negotiate, explore without fear of criticism, make mistakes, feel safe, experience
trust, be heard and be respected within a set of boundaries established by nurturing adults.
Teachers are critical partners in the educational process and have the responsibility to establish boundaries, nurture a sense of community, plan the environment based on individual children’s interests/needs/developmental levels, guide children’s discovery and learning opportunities, listen, observe, question and document as they engage in research side by side with the children.
Parents and parent figures are children’s most consistent teachers and must be included as active participants and partners in each child’s education. Teachers and parents should work to establish trusting relationships as they interact for the purpose of sharing goals and guiding practices for the children in the program. Parents and family members also share in the valuable role of enhancing the curriculum of the program as they contribute their talents, skills and traditions with the school as experts of their home culture and heritage. Because the use of educational space is critical to the learning that takes place within it, the CDLL is dedicated to creating an environment that provokes inquiry, communication and relationships. This space will be organized with a sense of beauty, comfort, and consideration of valuing and sustaining the natural environment.
Michigan University's Child Development and Learning Lab is sponsored by
the Area of Human Development and Family Studies and the Department of
Environmental Studies. As a part of the Human Development and Family
Studies Area, the Child Development and Learning Lab is a facility for
training and for student and faculty research.