Philosophy of the School

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG CHILDREN

The Lab School follows the guidelines and philosophy recommended by this organization for teaching young children. The NAEYC believes that a high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of young children while responding to the needs of families. Although the quality of an early childhood program may be affected by many factors, a major determinant of program quality is the extent to which knowledge of child development is applied in the program's practices. Or in other words, the degree to which the program is developmentally appropriate. 

The concept of developmental appropriateness has two dimensions: age appropriateness and individual appropriateness.

1. Age Appropriateness- Human development research indicates that there are universal, predictable sequences of growth and change that occur in children during the first 9 years of life. These predictable changes occur in all domains: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive. Knowledge of typical development of children within the age span served by a preschool program provides the framework from which teachers prepare the learning environment and plan appropriate experiences.

2. Individual Appropriateness- Each child is a unique person with an individual pattern and timing of growth, as well as individual personality, learning style and family background. Both the curriculum and adult's interaction with children should be responsive to individual differences. Learning in young children is the result of interaction between the child's thoughts and experiences with materials, ideas and people. These experiences should match the child's developing abilities, while also challenging the child's interests and understanding

INFORMATION REGARDING THE LAB SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY:

As Early Childhood Educators, we at the Lab School, are committed to meeting the educational needs of young children. Our challenge is to provide a learning environment conducive to the development of the social and creative problem-solving skills of children in an effort to help them grow and prosper. The teachers at the Lab School also stay informed regarding the latest findings of brain research as it relates to young children and their education. All of these factors are considered as the teachers design the learning environment and plan the curriculum.

ENVIRONMENT:

The Lab School environment is based on the following beliefs about children:

1. Each child is uniquely different. Because this uniqueness is valued, it is the purpose of the Lab School to meet the child where he/she is and to plan a program for his/her growth.

2. The young child is developing socially, emotionally, physically, and mentally and the school seeks to provide activities and opportunities to foster growth in each of these areas.

3. A good self-image is important and essential for early childhood growth. Self-esteem is built as the child has successful and fulfilling experiences. The Lab School provides an atmosphere in which children are seen as trustworthy and competent and one in which opportunities for successful experiences are abundant. Each child is treated with respect and dignity and is encouraged to treat others in the same manner.

4. Children need to learn self-responsibility. The Lab School program provides children with a sense of independence, which in turn aids in the development of a positive self- concept. The Lab School program has established a program that provides many opportunities for the child to make his/her own choices and accept responsibility for some of his/her own learning. Emphasis is placed on intrinsic motivation for learning based on a child's natural curiosity as opposed to extrinsic motivation based learning where there is a reward system in place.

5. The latest brain research shows that the early childhood years are the most important for the child to develop his/her ability to think and reason. Children in these early years, learn best by acting on the environment. Concrete and sensory experiences are the most valuable. Young children learn best by doing. The Lab School environment is purposefully designed with much to explore and discover. Large group instruction is minimal. Teachers work with individual children or small groups to maximize the value of learning experiences.

6. Young children are naturally curious and this curiosity provides the motivation and drive which enables them to actively discover their environment. For this reason, the child's play should not be underestimated as a key element of the developmental learning process. The Lab School's learning environment encourages children to play and learn simultaneously.

*****Based on these beliefs about young children, the Lab School environment is designed similar to a children's museum where there are different classrooms that provide opportunities for children to learn, discover and grow in all areas of development while pursuing their individual interests and developing their thinking skills as well as their social skills.  The teachers view their role primarily as facilitators as the children construct knowledge and ask and answer their own questions.