Child Development Laboratory Schools as Generators of Knowledge in Early Childhood Education: New Models and Approachesedit
Research Findings: University-based child development laboratory programs have a long and rich history of supporting teaching, research, and outreach activities in the child development/early childhood education fields. Although these programs were originally developed in order to conduct research on children and families to inform policy and practice, this mission has yet to be fully achieved. Practice or Policy: This paper provides an overview of the potential for 21st-century child development laboratory schools to be places that generate and disseminate new knowledge and understanding of children, families, teachers, curriculum, and classroom processes. An overview of the current context for laboratory schools is presented, outlining the challenges that limit schools’ ability to actively support comprehensive teaching, research, and outreach/engagement activities. An overview of applied developmental science is presented as a framework that can play a critical role in the future as laboratory schools strive to continue and enhance their important roles in the generation of new knowledge into the 21st century. A laboratory schools consortium is proposed as a mechanism to support knowledge generation.