About The Child Study and Development Center
The Child Study and Development Center is a laboratory school affiliated with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of New Hampshire. A laboratory school is one with both an early care and education mission and an academic mission. Children attending the center, and the UNH students working at the center, benefit from the highly trained teaching staff and from the family studies faculty. Each year more than one hundred students enrolled in family studies courses at UNH use the center as a laboratory for experimental teaching and learning, and documentation of those experiences. Students from other disciplines, for example, education, psychology, occupational therapy, and communication disorders, also use the center as a laboratory for the study of children. The seven classrooms in the center are equipped with observation booths that are used by college students, faculty, parents, and visitors. These booths provide researchers with the opportunity to observe children in a natural context.
The CSDC has a long tradition dating back to 1929. The current facility, which includes 20 full-time staff serving 122 children and their families, was built in 1988. The Center was accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1999 and is licensed by the State of NH. In addition to tuition revenues, the CSDC academic mission is supported by UNH College of Health and Human Services funds.
The CSDC philosophy and pedagogical approach is rooted in the traditions of constructivist theory and practice. Since the early 1990s our center has been inspired by the ideas of early educators in Reggio Emilia, Italy, that emphasize the social construction of knowledge, the inquiry process of long terms investigations by learners, the role of symbolic languages in developing understanding, and the importance of reflecting family and culture in our environments. The children’s program is built upon the belief that children learn best when provided rich experiences that encourage collaborative inquiry and study of the world in which they live. Diverse materials and media are provided to them to support the many ways children represent knowledge. Taking an emergent/responsive curriculum approach, teachers act as learning partners and modify their practice in response to children’s questions, theories, and misconceptions.
For more information about NAEYC Accredited programs, please see below.