The teachers in the Lab, the teachers in the Department, the colleges students, the children and the families all work together to make the CDL a “wonder-full” place to learn. Working in the Child Development Lab provides a unique opportunity to integrate theory with practice and reflect on how we understand ourselves, children and relationships. CD 257 is really a course about building relationships: relationships with children and between children, relationships with one another and relationships with our professional selves. It is about entering a classroom with wonder and exploring, practicing and learning as we go. It is about challenging ourselves, being willing to take thoughtful risks and supporting one another. CD 257 provides an opportunity to be immersed in learning with adults and children and a framework through which to examine this experience and reflect on and extend our learning. We will begin with and return to Stephanie Feeney’s question, “Who am I in the lives of children?” This process of relationship building through reflective practice is one that is at the heart of the life of Child Development professionals whether they are teachers, family support professionals, intervention professionals or child and family advocates. It occurs throughout our professional lives and enriches our personal experiences.
The CDL team implements a Humanist/Constructivist model with the children at the Lab. Although there are differences between the morning and afternoon programs, and between the two sections of CD 257, these are variations on a shared underlying philosophy. Humanist/Constructivist programs show these variations precisely because they are always predicated on and responsive to the particular interests, needs, characteristics and circumstances of the people and the ecology of the program: they are constructed/expressed as a unique product meeting the needs of and expressing the experience of the people in that place at that time. The CDL is not “the one best model” for a preschool. From a Humanist/Constructivist perspective, it is not consistent to believe that such a thing exists. Best practices will always be dynamic; they come into being as we share our best selves – our deepest knowledge and thoughtfulness, our strengths and weaknesses, our questions and discoveries, our resources, our perceptions and our needs. We do believe that the CDL model is a thoughtful, responsible and respectful model, and a solid basis for engaging in discussion about the choices that all people face when working with children and families. So we ask that you “try it on” for the purpose of learning and discussion with the intent that you will eventually integrate what you learn through your work in the Lab into the development of your own responsible, respectful and reflective practice. Learning is a life-long process; we are always building, nurturing and refining our relationships with ourselves, one another and our worlds.
Availability of Resources
Because of the nature of the CD 257 course, most of the course specific information will be maintained on the course MOODLE site. However, teacher resources and reference materials that are more generally applicable will be linked to this site. This will be an on-going process. Please visit the additional resources link in the upper right to access theory and teacher competency resources.