“ECEP has a stimulating and safe environment that provides our child with a lot of hands-on activities and an educational philosophy founded upon inquiry.”
– ECEP Parent
A Classroom of Inquiry
While the children learn through play, we learn from them. The Center has been able to leverage what the University of California, Berkeley does best as a community of scholars. The heart of our model is applied research.
Researchers use the classrooms as a living laboratory, where they can gain insights into the way children learn and grow best. In turn, the teachers at the centers are able to implement these innovative, best practices into the daily lives of the children.
- Applied Research
Since the first center opened in 1928, innovative teaching and learning approaches have been developed, implemented, and evaluated in collaboration with teachers. Our research studies have influenced how our teachers design spaces and activities to enable each child to learn.
We believe all aspects of child development are integrated, and we’ve even adapted our physical environment to maximize healthy physical development, learning, and personal growth. For example, based on a study of play yards at the center, we’ve brought in play structures that increase options for active play and interaction between children. Our large fresh air spaces are integral to the physical environment at all our centers.
The commitment to the integration of research and practice grew stronger with the launching of the new Early Development & Learning Science (ED&LS) undergraduate program in May 2018. UC Berkeley, the premier public research university, is uniquely positioned — with world-renowned scholars and a diverse student body — to make remarkable progress in redefining developmental science on young children. Key scholars are committed to creative partnerships that integrate understanding across neuroscience, developmental psychology, education, public health, economics, social welfare, and policy.
ED&LS and the new Developing Child Undergraduate Summer Minor and Certificate Program are helping to solidify the redefining of developmental science. The Developing Child is the new ED&LS interdisciplinary, developmental science Summer Minor and Certificate, focused on children from birth to age 8. Integrating research, practice, and policy with problem-solving and implementation skills for the real world, the innovative coursework and practicum enrich the approach of individuals working with or on behalf of young children.
- A Model for Early Childhood Education
Our research studies enable us to serve as a model for early childhood education. As early as 1932, our researchers have been publishing in peer review journals and writing dissertations and books spanning many academic disciplines. Some of the highlights of this research is featured in “Creating a Classroom of Inquiry at the University of California at Berkeley.”
- Your Children and Research
University-based research occurs year-round. Developmental labs on campus conduct studies focusing on a wide range on disciplines. Studies begin during the fall semester and run through spring and summer. Participation in research may take place at all 5 centers, but is most prevalent at the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center and the Haste Street Child Development Center.
During enrollment, families are invited to become part of the Institute of Human Development (IHD) Recruitment Database. This database allows IHD, UC Berkeley developmental labs and the IHD Research Coordinator to contact families regarding consent for upcoming studies, research related activities and updates. Consent for individual studies are sought separately.
Families are notified ahead of time when there will be a research study or survey in their child’s classroom, and will have the opportunity to choose whether to participate. In addition, informal observations of classrooms by UC ED&LS, Early Childhood, Psychology, Sociology or Education students, or other University representatives may occur at any time without parent notification.
- The Research Process
Before research begins, research study consent forms are distributed to families participating in the IHD Recruitment Database. Families who consent to their child’s participation in research will be notified when studies are scheduled to begin and if their child agrees to participate.
Children are supervised at all times. A qualified teacher will accompany the researcher and the child while they are involved in a research activity. Children may be observed by researchers from within the observation galleries, or may be engaged in a "game" or specific task in a quiet research room located within your child’s center. Children do not leave school grounds.
There are strict rules to ensure that a child’s participation in research does not interrupt classroom opportunities. Sessions cannot last more than 20 minutes, a child cannot participate in more than three sessions per week, and the child can refuse participation – though most enjoy it and ask to participate or "play games.”
Research is administered by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Human Development (IHD). All research is reviewed and approved by the UCB Committee for Protection of Human Subjects, and reviewed by the IHD Research Coordinator.