Inquiry Based Curriculum

The Ruth Staples Child Development Lab (CDL) utilizes a curriculum based upon children’s interests and abilities conducted in a project approach format. Children actively participate in constructing their learning through a play-based negotiated environment rooted in problem solving and inquiry. At the heart of this curriculum is the investigation of child-initiated topics. Our children along with their teachers explore, investigate and experiment with materials and activities to discover answers to their questions. Teachers carefully observe in an attempt to understand children’s thinking and reflect with one another to continue to support and challenge children in their inquiries. The ongoing projects resulting from children’s inquiries are not pre-planned units but rather authentic learning experiences. As projects progress teachers reflect, re-evaluate and plan for upcoming experiences. The classroom environment is arranged to support and promote the on-going projects but is also adapted to meet the needs of individual children. Children’s learning is made evident through a variety of documentation. Examples of documentation of children’s learning can be found in individual children’s portfolios, family group documentation booklets, power point presentations and documentation panels. Teachers also share examples of children’s learning with parents during parent-teacher conferences held 3 times each year (once per semester).

Teachers are to carefully observe the interests and abilities of children in order to select materials and equipment that support our curriculum, meet our program goals, and foster the achievement of desired outcomes for children. Master teachers will work with student teachers to ensure that these issues are appropriately accomplished.