Living and Learning in the Renovated Child Development Laboratory
A year ago at this time we were still determining temporary relocation details for the Child Development Laboratory during renovation (along with becoming highly competent with boxes and shipping tape).
What a difference a year makes! The fall semester of relocation during the renovation is only a distant blur now, and the excitement of moving into our beautiful and highly functional Child Development Laboratory remains, as every day in the laboratory has been a pleasure for children, parents, students, and staff. Upon arrival to the new classroom it seemed the children did not quite know what to think, but within minutes comments such as “I love this school,” “This is cool” and “This is really really different from my old preschool” were exclaimed by some of the children. Parents shared many positive comments as well.
For the children, the changes seemed to mainly focus on discoveries of new and interesting equipment and materials throughout the classroom, from the reading nook/loft area, to the observation window and low counter where they could talk with the snack teacher working in the classroom kitchen. The hands-free faucets held a fair amount of interest as well, until they were simply an efficient way to wash hands independently, before returning to engaging activities. Children new this year to the Child Development Laboratory also greatly enjoyed the outdoor laboratory—the large sandbox and tricycle/scooter riding areas in particular. We are hopeful of and having preliminary discussions about renovation of our outdoor spaces as the next phase of improvements for our facility and program.
Back inside the laboratory the improvements have been phenomenal in terms of program function and efficiency. Having the classroom kitchen is wonderful for including the children in food preparation and other aspects of our mealtimes, but also for having all teachers present in the classroom rather than leaving to go upstairs to prepare and transport food to the classroom. The open floor plan allows for much improved visibility and classroom awareness for all present, while also allowing flexibility in arranging the environment into different activity areas for the children. The hands-free sinks and automated towel dispensers encourage independence and competence as the children learn and practice self-care routines. Well-designed storage spaces help the teachers and children manage classroom materials with ease. In the process of moving out and back in, we also organized every container and cabinet, and reconfigured out-of-classroom storage rooms in more efficient and curriculum-sensible ways.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed time, talent, and funding to facilitate all of the wonderful improvements to the Child Development Laboratory. As director, I appreciate the new laboratory absolutely every time I enter the classroom. If you have not yet seen the Child Development Laboratory, we hope you will join us in the fall for a tour!
—Suzanne Planck, PhD
HELP STOCK OUR LABORATORIES
With the Niccolls Building Renovation complete, we need some assistance stocking our new labs. To make a contribution, visit: HELP STOCK OUR LABORATORIES
Niccolls Building Renovation Photos
To review ALL the photos taken during the renovation process go here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bzwzpprsgf0q4wb/bABz-_4TQt