The curriculum is based on developmentally appropriate principles and practices to provide for the physical, emotional, social, language, literacy, and cognitive development of all children through an integrated approach. Play is the primary vehicle for the children’s learning and, thus, the cornerstone of the Child Development Lab program.

The Child Development Lab uses a centers approach to our classroom organization. The children may make decisions about which centers they would like to visit each day. Our centers include writing, art, math, science, blocks, puzzles and games, dramatic play, library, listening center, and music. Reading and writing materials for the children to use throughout the classroom are available in the centers. The teachers and our early childhood education students work with individual children and small groups at the centers to guide and support learning, exploration, and discovery. Whole class activities, such as a morning or afternoon meeting to start class and circle time, are included in the daily schedule.

The content of the curriculum is based on selected themes to follow the children’s interests and needs. Themes, curriculum units, and special activities are planned with attention to a wide range of developmental interests and abilities. The curriculum is implemented in a manner that reflects family home values, experiences, language, and community perspectives to enhance each child’s understanding and appreciation of people from various ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Child Development Lab also follows the Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool Experiences, Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, and National Association for the Education of Young Children guidelines to develop the curriculum, themes, and activities.


By engaging in art activities, students develop in areas such as self-expression, fine motor skills, pre-writing, language, cooperation, creativity, critical thinking, and social interaction. In addition, students learn about the colors and textures that make up their world. Here at the Child Development Lab, we offer art centers as part of the whole, child centered curriculum, designed to encourage children to explore their world through self-expression. 


The library, writing center, read alouds, and meeting time immerse students in literacy. These centers foster the development of a love of words and language through read alouds and meaningful writing activities. Oral language and vocabulary development is emphasized, as it often is a precursor to early reading. Students use imagination, self-expression, and communication skills to engage in writing activities, drawing from their own personal experiences. Children have the opportunity to put their emergent literacy skills to work when writing, using their knowledge of letter-sound correspondence when sounding out words. Teachers encourage students to illustrate and write about their experiences, interests, and stories in their own words. The students enjoy sharing their stories with the class and even acting out them out! 


By participating in developmentally appropriate and organic math activities such as counting, sorting, categorizing, measuring, and exploring shapes and number relationships, students develop an understanding of math concepts. Students also gain knowledge in the areas of cooperation, geometry, place value, social interaction, problem solving, sharing, language and communication, fine motor skills, and patterns. All of which are embedded in the world around us. Our math centers give students the chance to explore mathematical concepts in natural, age appropriate, and student-directed ways that stimulate thinking, reasoning, problem solving: skills for life long learning. 


When students engage with developmentally appropriate science activities and experiments they develop science concepts and skills such as observation skills, data collection, predictions, language and vocabulary, team work, problem solving, critical thinking skills, reasoning, and taking risks to ask questions and seek answers. The science centers at the Child Development lab are carefully designed to foster development in these skills.

Dramatic play is a cornerstone of our children's curriculum, where imagination and creativity take center stage. In this engaging content area, children are encouraged to explore various roles and scenarios through pretend play. By dressing up, acting out stories, and using props, they develop language skills, social competence, and emotional understanding. 

Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on sensory play, which stimulates children's senses through hands-on activities. This area includes a variety of tactile experiences, such as sand and water play, finger painting, and exploring different textures and materials. Sensory play not only enhances fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination but also supports cognitive growth by allowing children to experiment and discover.

Outdoor activities are integral to our children's curriculum, providing opportunities for physical exercise, exploration, and a connection with nature. Our program includes a range of activities such as walks and playground games. These activities promote gross motor skills, physical health, and an appreciation for the environment.