The mission of the GSUC Child Development and Learning Center is to provide a safe, nurturing educational environment for children of Graduate Center students and their families through intellectual stimulation and emotional support while serving as a lab school.
The Child Development and Learning Center is committed to providing a play-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood education for the preschool children of Graduate Center students. The Center also serves as a lab school for faculty and students doing research pertinent to pre-school children. Individual research, which is approved by the IRB, will only be done with parent’s written consent.
One of the Center’s main goals is to develop an atmosphere of trust in which each child is valued as an individual. We believe that a successful program is child-oriented, and provides a secure and nurturing environment that encourages the development of self-expression, confidence, and enthusiasm for learning. We recognize that children are developing at the physical, social-emotional, and cognitive levels during this time. Our program places particular emphasis on the social-emotional development to create and foster a strong foundation for future academic learning.
Children in the Center are able to engage with open-ended materials and activities that allow them to construct and recreate their own learning experiences each day. Further, through information from parents, observation, and interaction with the children, teachers plan activities that reflect the needs and interests of the children. Although the Center always appears informal, the program and environment are the result of careful planning and structuring to meet individual and group goals.
Play and exploration are valued as two of the most important means by which learning takes place. Therefore, the emphasis on all projects and activities is on the process of interacting with the materials and integration of knowledge rather than the acquisition of specific academic skills.