The Early Childhood Laboratory, established in 1928, is a university-based center operated by the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Counselor Education within the College of Education. The ECL is accredited by NAEYC and has a 5 Star Rating through KY All STARS. The Early Childhood Laboratory has a three-part mission:
- The ECL serves as a model early childhood program in the community. Programs offered for children 6 weeks to 5 years include Infant/Toddler Classes, Young Preschool Class and Preschool Classes. The ECL teachers serve as instructors for college courses, and trainers and presenters for other childcare workers.
- The ECL serves as a teacher-training site for future early childhood teachers. University students learn about becoming teachers of young children through observation, participation, and teaching experiences.
- The ECL serves as a site for research in child development and early childhood education. ECL children are occasionally involved in research projects conducted by university students. Prior to such involvement, parents are informed about the nature, purpose, and procedures of a given study. Consent from parents is essential before any child participates.
We believe children learn by doing and that development is a process. We assume children are active, competent, and curious. We believe children learn best in a safe environment, which encourages their active involvement in the learning process, promotes home-school continuity, and enhances the individual child’s areas of development (i.e., cognitive, emotional, physical, and social development). As a result, the ECL offers programs for young children based on simple routines, careful planning, and developmental appropriateness. Children have opportunities for self-selected activities, small and large group activities and outside play.
The ECL is an inclusive program. Children with and without disabilities may be enrolled in each of the laboratory classes. Modifications and adaptations to the learning environment are made as needed and as stated in the child’s IFSP, IEP, assessment information, or with input from the parents and teachers.