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Campus Learning Laboratory

by Sharon M. Carver
May/June 2018
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/campus-learning-laboratory/5024126/

While welcoming children in the morning, some of them greet me with a friendly “Hi, Dr. Carver!” Because my name rarely fits their idea of “doctor,” they occasionally pause after saying it and ask whether I am a doctor. I tell them that all doctors have a specialty that they use to help people. Some doctors help people stay healthy or give them medicine when they are sick. The doctors in the architecture department upstairs help people design buildings to be strong and beautiful. Other doctors on campus invent robots to help people do dangerous or difficult jobs. Then I say that I am a doctor who helps people learn. For the past 25 years, I have been privileged to help learners of all ages at the Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School.

Our school has been a laboratory school for 50 years. Founding director Ann Baldwin Taylor patterned the early childhood program after the open classrooms of the British infant schools, with an emphasis on John Dewey’s progressive philosophy, including:

experiential learning appropriate to children’s developmental levels, 

extended thematic investigations relevant to children’s interests, and 

emphasis on collaboration and critical thinking for everyone in the learning community. 


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