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Msu Child Development Labs

325 West Grand River
East Lansing, MI 48823

(517) 355-1900


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Philosophy & Approach

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The Child Development Laboratories serve as a research and professional development site by
offering an exemplary program for children and their families. To do this:
We serve Children and Families by:
• Providing a play-based program influenced by such theorists as Vygotsky, Piaget, and
• Providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum designed to promote development of
the whole child. We do this by addressing development in six domains: aesthetic,
affective, cognition, language/communication, physical, and social.
• Providing a continuity of interaction across classrooms through the use of social guidance
• Welcoming children and families representing many languages, countries of origin,
income levels, family structures, and ability levels.
• Valuing families as experts on their own children.
• Collaborating with families to develop individually appropriate goals for their children
within the context of the classroom community.
• Providing child development information to families to assist them in better
understanding their child’s development.
• Supporting families as they learn to be advocates for children.
We serve Early Childhood Professionals by:
• Providing an exemplary research-driven program within which university students can
observe and practice their developing skills.
• Including students in a comprehensive early childhood educational program which
includes integration of literacy across the domains, the use of an anti-bias curriculum, and
advocacy for children.
• Supporting each student in his or her professional development by providing an
emotionally safe environment.
• Providing written and oral feedback in an ongoing fashion for the purpose of further
developing students’ skills.
We serve Our Community through Outreach by:
• Being a welcoming and outstanding model for early childhood professionals.
• Publishing books, articles, planning and training materials.
• Providing workshops and seminars on-site and off-site.
• Hosting conferences.
We serve Our Field through Research by:
• Providing a research site for our own department researchers, as well as university and
external researchers.
• Collaborating with and being supportive of investigators working within our programs.
• Initiating our own research.
• Acting as a clearinghouse for research relevant to the work we do through our website."
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

"Large Group During this time, the entire class gathers to sing songs, listen to stories, participate in group games or carry out movement activities. How much time is devoted to large group varies with the time of the year and the age of the children. Initially, younger children will have group time 5 - 8 minutes long with older youngsters spending approximately 15 minutes. As they become more experienced, the length of large group time gradually increases.
Free Choice The teacher prepares a variety of learning centers, each containing materials and equipment organized to promote certain types of learning, such as creative, physical, dramatic, communicative, or cognitive. The array of activities offered are designed to promote a balanced and developmentally appropriate program.
Clean Up Clean up is an activity in itself, and children are encouraged to participate as much as possible. Children develop independence and responsibility from washing tables, cleaning brushes, sweeping, moving big equipment, and from finding the appropriate place to store classroom materials.
Snack Time Snack time may take place as a separate activity or as a part of the free choice period. Whenever it fits in the day, it is meant to be a positive experience for children and adults. The emphasis will be on good nutrition, relaxed conversation, and participation by children in passing, serving, or pouring, rather than strict enforcement of table manners.
Outdoor Period Outdoor activities constitute an important part of each day. While physical development will be emphasized, the outdoor environment also will be utilized to stimulate learning in all curriculum domains.
Pre-Session Prior to the time that children arrive each day, teachers, students, and /or parent participants discuss concepts for the week, goals for individual children, and ways to carry out specific activities.
Post-Session After the children have left, the adults will review and discuss the day, the children’s reactions to activities, observations, and the success or failure of particular strategies."
Excerpted from the preschool's website