The Auburn University Early Learning Center is an accredited, laboratory, preschool serving children ages 3, 4 and 5 years old in half day sessions. Children attend from 8:30-11:30 or from 12:30-3:30. Children may attend both morning and afternoon sessions. Children must be 3 by the first of September and be toilet trained. Three classes are offered, a three year old class and a four year old class in the morning and a mixed age group in the afternoon. Children may attend both sessions. Child care is not provided during the lunch break for dually enrolled children. Parents must provide care and a lunch.
The center, begun in 1926 has been continuously accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children since 1986. NAEYC standards are higher than state standards and the center is proud to say their standards are higher than NAEYC standards.
AUELC is located in the center of Auburn University in its newly renovated building. There are two bright classrooms which contain developmentally appropriate, intriguing toys and projects. The Three Year Old Room serves 13 children. The Four Year Old/Mixed Age Group Room serves 16 children. Child sized sinks and toilets help children toward independence. The center is surrounded on three sides by playgrounds. The building is on a card swipe security system assuring safety for the children. Between the two classrooms is a state of the art observation booth. This is used by parents, head teachers, and researchers as well as by approved students and visitors.
Head teachers have degrees in Early Childhood Education or Child Development and many years of teaching experience. Teaching assistants are graduate students working on advanced degrees in Human Development and Family Studies. Undergraduate students from Human Development and Family Studies and numerous other departments on campus have opportunities to work with the children on a daily basis.
Each classroom has a head teacher and a graduate teaching assistant who are with the children each day. In addition, undergraduate students are assigned to work with the children for several hours each week. There are generally between two and five laboratory students in each room at any given time. Undergraduates who create and implement lessons do so under the direct supervision of their head teacher. The curriculum is enriched by the undergraduate's contributions as they are enriched by the center.
The curriculum is based on developmentally appropriate practice. Children's interests are followed whenever possible. Children are disciplined through positive phrasing, redirection, discussion of appropriate behavior and logical consequences.
The teachers and lab students make use of the university resources. Children take walking trips to sites of interest on campus. Professors and graduate students come as resource people to share their interests such as Checkers, the corn snake who has visited for the last 13 years. Trips to the stadium, arboretum, and dinosaur exhibit are a few of the walking trips the children take. Aubie, the university mascot visits during special events such as the Parent Pot Luck and Fun Day. We also make use of the city's resources. Police and fire fighters bring their equipment for the children to explore and to learn from. Field trips to the airport and food bank are two of the many options the city holds.