Mission & Philosophy

The childcare mission at CSUSB is threefold: to provide model programming for young children and their families, undergraduate and graduate teaching, and research.

With regard to service, both the Children's Center and the Lab School are committed to exemplifying best practices in the field of early childhood education. Staff try out "cutting edge" ideas for practice and provide children with and environment conducive to reaching individual potential.

Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to observe best practices with young children and participate with children between the ages of 6 months through 5 years of age in various ways. Observation and participation allows students to put into practice information learned in lecture style classes. In addition, students currently fill the majority of the staff positions at the Children's center and the Infant/Toddler Lab School.

Both the Children's Center and the Lab School are actively involved in generating empirical evidence related to the fields of early childhood education, family studies, and child development. Laboratory programs provide an opportunity to observe children and families in context and provide a testing ground for evaluating best practices in the field of early childhood. To facilitate research classrooms in the Lab School are lined with an observation booth equipped with headsets and microphones. Observers and observations are thus unobtrusive.

Philosophy

The childcare philosophy at CSUSB is based on a growing body of research, knowledge and practices that strongly indicate that children learn and develop most efficiently through active exploration, involvement and manipulation of their environment. Through this process, children construct knowledge of the world that makes sense in terms they can understand. The child's development of knowledge of the social world and strategies for interacting with peers and adults is also an important part of learning during the early childhood years.

Children learn best in a warm, supportive, nurturing, safe atmosphere in which individuals and cultural differences are valued. The curriculum is designed to be appropriate to the developmental capabilities of each child and is implemented with attention to children's differing needs, interests and developmental levels. Classroom activities are planned to support this learning process and address each child's physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative development. Activities tend to be open ended and are process not product oriented. They foster self-learning, problem solving, decision-making and responsibility in children.