About the Child Development Lab



As a University laboratory program, the goals of the Child Development Lab include:

  • Providing a high-quality early childhood program for young children with educational experiences based on child development, education theories and the children's individual needs and interests
  • Serving as a training site for BGSU students to learn about the growth, development and behavior of young children through observation and participation with the children and families.
  • Providing opportunities for faculty and student research and education projects involving young children and their families.

Our Philosophy

The philosophy of the Child Development Lab is based on developmentally appropriate practice guidelines as outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. These guidelines are founded in the fields of child development and early childhood education, emphasizing both age appropriateness and individual appropriateness.

In keeping with the work of child development experts Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, we believe children learn primarily through play and exploration of their environment while engaging in relationships with peers and caring adults. Our program is based on an open classroom approach with space organized into learning areas. There is a regular daily schedule with a variety of activities planned and available during each session. The expectation is that each child will be actively and productively engaged in a variety of experiences which will further his/her development socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually.

In Our Learning Environment...

Children generally select their own tasks to pursue, either individually or in small groups and direct their own learning through a variety of active or quiet activities. Teachers spend time observing the classroom and plan open-ended activities based of their interactions with the children and their observations of the class' interests and developmental needs. Open ended activities provide success for each child at any developmental level. Succesful experiences promote self confidence and reinforce children to continue to actively explore, act on and interact with their environment.


We believe that a high-quality setting for young children is built by knowledgeable, well-trained teachers. The teacher's role is to structure the environment to meet the children's needs and to capitalize on their interests. Teachers provide a learning environment that challenges without being frustrating. They act as facilitators for learning by observing, questioning, modeling and talking with children, and, when appropriate, provide information the children would not be able to discover for themselves. Our lead teachers have masters' degrees in education and the practicum students are usually in their junior year of study.