Mission and philosophy

Mission Statement

The goal of Wayne State University College of Education Early Childhood Center (COE-ECC) is to provide a safe, nurturing, child-centered environment with a high-quality educational program that serves diverse children, families, student teachers, practicum students, and staff.


The COE- ECC's philosophical beliefs are based upon standards established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, knowledge of child development, theories of child behavior, and acceptable best practices for educating young children. Three important components of the program are:

  • Understanding children's play and the teacher's role in guiding and facilitating cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development through play.
  • Building relationships with children and families through dialogue, understanding, and interactive experiences.
  • Encouraging children to make decisions while learning and to understand how their decisions affect others.
  • Guiding children through through teacher-planned, child-initiated activities based on children's interests. These activities enhance children's skills in all areas of development.

Our philosophy is based on the following:

  • All children have the right to be accepted, respected, and embraced as competent (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1998).
  • Children are continuous learners and learn best within the context of family, culture, and community (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997).
  • Children construct knowledge by active participation with real materials and the environment (DeVries,1994).
  • Play is essential in developing the cognitive skills of children (Smilansky, 1990).
  • Development of the "whole child" with a focus on promoting social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development (Hendrick, 2001).
  • Assessment of children should be on-going, reflective of children's experiences, and occur within the context of daily classroom activities. (Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 1992).
  • Children's family/cultural backgrounds broaden the curriculum for all children (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997).
  • Collaboration between families and teachers supports the development of the child and home-school relationships (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997).
  • Continuous professional development of teaching staff promotes program quality (High Scope, 1998).

These beliefs give purpose to our program and define our practice.

The classroom is viewed as an extension of the program's philosophy. Our goal is to provide an environment that is safe, accessible, interesting, child-centered, and reflective of diversity. The role of the adults in the environment is to reflect the philosophy of the program. They provide nurturance, guidance, and experiences to maximize children's total development.