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The Eliot-Pearson Children's School is the laboratory-demonstration school affiliated with the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts. The school serves as a model and demonstration facility, providing a training and observation site for new and experienced teachers and a research facility for faculty and supervised students in the Department of Child Development. The Children's School enrolls approximately 80 children, between 2.9 and 8 years of age. It has preschool, kindergarten, and first and second-grade programs that vary in length and frequency.

Each classroom is taught by a team of teachers, consisting of a headteacher, a graduate teaching assistant, and a student teacher or fieldwork student. Undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Child Development have a critical role in the teaching teams. In addition to the classroom teaching staff, the school has a team of specialists (speech and language, physical therapy, occupational therapy) who collaborate with the teachers, families, and all others who may be involved in setting goals and providing services for children identified with special needs. The special-needs coordinator works closely with the director of the school to ensure that all children's learning and social-emotional needs are met. The Children's School places great value on professional development for all adults in the community. The school is viewed as a place where all constituencies, from the littlest children to the most experienced adults, are lifelong learners (Eliot-Pearson Children's School, 2003a, 2003b).

The Children's School reflects a developmental approach to early education. The classrooms are places where children are engaged in meaningful activity and are nurtured socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Children are encouraged to interact with materials, peers, and teachers in constructive explorations, promoting children's self-esteem, confidence, and natural passion for learning. Partnering with families is a major goal of the program. The Children's School is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC; 2003), licensed by the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services, and follows the guidelines of both organizations. The Children's School philosophy and practice are influenced and inspired by the roots of progressive education as well as the current thinking from groups such as the National Research Council on Early Childhood Pedagogy (National Research Council, 2000) and from exemplary schools such as the ones in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

The Eliot-Pearson Children's School is committed to providing appropriate inclusive education for all children. The school actively seeks student populations that represent a wide variety of ability, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. The school seeks and values diversity within the family population and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, cultural heritage, color, political beliefs, marital status, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, or family style in the administration of any school policies or programs. Appreciation and respect for all people, regardless of their differences, is at the heart of the program.


In 1922, Abigail Adams Eliot established one of the first nursery schools in America. Through the encouragement of ...
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