Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Shelley Lindauer


Shelley Lindauer


Joan Kleinke


Tom Lee


The purpose of this study was twofold. First, it sought to provide a profile of child development laboratory schools across the nation. Second, because laboratory schools are believed to be model programs that provide appropriate learning environments for children, their parents, and for the professional training of teachers, it was of particular interest to examine whether laboratory schools were training Early Childhood Education students in ways consistent with the current research and policies in the field. Specifically, the practices of laboratory schools at two- and four-year institutions were compared. Results of the study indicated that laboratory schools utilized philosophies that guide the curriculum within their programs. A variety of methods such as coursework, written materials, and conferences, were employed to inform students and parents of the program's philosophy. Observations were routinely conducted in laboratories with students and parents typically observing the program from an observation booth and/or the classroom. with regard to the mission of laboratory programs, two-year schools ranked service significantly higher, while four-year programs tended to do more research and training of graduate students. The ages of children in laboratories at two- and four-year schools were similar , but four-year schools had more classes with fewer children per class. Two-year schools had more full-day programs and longer hours, while four-year schools had more half-day programs operating fewer hours. Two-year schools also had more students and parents assisting in the classroom; however , two- and four-year programs both had acceptable ratios of adults to children. The Child Development Laboratory programs appear to be the model setting for the professional training of teachers and also a location which can help parents to become better consumers of alternative child care.