At the University Child Development Center, children learn through play. The classrooms are arranged in interest centers to give children the opportunity to choose freely from a wide range of learning experiences. Teachers observe closely to identify children’s interests and create on-going projects to stimulate their learning. Projects are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests in which the teacher guides the children as they research the topic of choice. The goals of our program are:
- To provide children with an environment in which they can learn to express their ideas and feelings.
- To provide children with opportunities to become self-directed and self-confident.
- To provide children with appropriate social skills through interactions with peers and adults.
- To provide children with a love of learning through exploration and discovery.
- To promote respect for self and others.
Our program encourages the development of self-discovery, experimental learning, freedom of choice and cooperation among children.
The Outdoor Nature Classroom
Children today spend less time outdoors and more time inside, causing more obesity and developmental problems. Children who engage with nature early are more likely to stay engaged. To address this concern, the University Child Development Center has developed the first Outdoor Nature Exploration Classroom in the area. The Outdoor Classroom is a nature-focused environment where the children and nature become partners working and living together. Children have hands-on experiences with nature and the outdoor world, building on all areas of development.