Carnegie Mellon University

Children's School Mission Statement

As a university laboratory school, we aim to lead through excellence and innovation as we:

Facilitate interdisciplinary research in developmental psychology and related fields,

The Children's School is the only facility in Pittsburgh where it is possible to study children in the preschool age range with the control and intensity that is demanded by the research protocols needed to test the theoretical models, particularly the microgenetic theories, being developed by the developmental psychology faculty. Meeting these needs depends on our ability to require research participation of our students, effectively manage the subject needs of multiple research teams according to Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines without disrupting the smooth functioning of the school, and communicate clearly with parents to ensure their comfort with the research program.

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Support undergraduate and graduate students studying child development theory, research, and applications,

We aim to provide high-quality experiences for undergraduates and graduates that encourage a problem-solving approach to the analysis of theoretical models, methodology, and application of varied disciplines. By allowing flexible access to observation and research for courses and individual projects, the Children's School offers the concrete experience that can complement the more abstract reading and discussion in students' university programs.

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Create and implement developmentally appropriate, inclusive part & full-day preschool, full-day kindergarten, and camp programs for children ages 3-6,

The Children's School is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our tuition-based program is designed to offer developmentally appropriate options for morning or afternoon preschool and full-day kindergarten for children in the community as well as CMU families (constituting approximately 85% and 15% of our enrollment respectively). We offer a high-quality program equitably to diverse families. To this end, we help low-income families connect with agencies offering scholarship resources, and we participate in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program in Pennsylvania.

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Collaborate with families in nurturing and educating their children, particularly as family challenges arise and developmental difficulties emerge,

In addition to providing a quality educational program, we support our families by providing resources and discussion opportunities that might be of interest to all families, age-appropriate family activities (e.g., family festivals, school visits, etc.), and individual counseling and referrals as needed. We are always looking for ways to expand these services to meet diverse needs.

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Organize professional development experiences and provide resources for practicing educators locally, nationally, and internationally, and

In addition to serving the community families whose children attend the Children's School, we fulfill our responsibility to society by supporting the advancement of education in our local, national, and international communities. Via training events and consulting, we freely share the approaches and materials we develop (both for children and parents), and we invite colleagues from varied professions to visit our school. We work closely with area private schools, the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS), and the National Coalition of Campus Children's Centers (NCCCC) on issues related to early childhood practice, research, and training. Since 2000, we have been a Collaborative Partner with three other local accredited programs for Early Childhood Professional Development.

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Mentor students exploring careers in early childhood, elementary education, and related fields.

The Children's School is an ideal setting for students with tight schedules to arrange opportunities for observation and practice of excellent early childhood education. With part and full day preschool and a full day kindergarten, there are essentially continuous instructional sessions in progress. Because of our existing procedures for observation and research, we are equipped to handle students at all levels in their teaching practica, from pure observation to student teaching.

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To model best practices that promote positive and productive learning for all members of our learning community, we foster a professional climate of hospitality, communication, trust, teamwork, and flexible problem solving. We strive to recruit a diverse staff and student population to provide a diverse subject pool for research, broad experiences for university students, and an enriched learning environment for our children and their families. By continually striving for quality improvement in all aspects of our mission, including the foundational finances and facilities, our laboratory school exemplifies progressive design in education and the learning sciences that can be utilized by professionals in various disciplines to meet the changing needs of society.