The Preschool for Creative Learning (PCL) is the Educational Research Center for Child
Development at the USF College of Education. As a laboratory school, the PCL brings
USF faculty, graduate students, classroom teachers, and pre-service teachers together
with children and families to create innovative early childhood education programs by
engaging in collaborative research. The PCL takes an inquiry approach to teaching and
learning. This means that teachers and children attend to posing questions for research,
and pursue answers to their questions by investigating the world around them. Engaging
in inquiry involves applying knowledge and skills across subject matter areas. It is a
literacy-rich process that involves communicating learning in a variety of ways (e.g.,
speaking, writing, drawing, graphics, painting, pretend play, 3-dimensional construction, music/movement, digital photography). Inquiry is a holistic approach that fosters
cognitive, social/emotional, and physical development.
At the PCL:
- We respect young children’s intellect. We value listening to children, and building
- upon/extending their ideas to challenge their thinking.
- We believe relationships are important avenues for learning. We intentionally
- create opportunities for extended interactions with and among children, and
- facilitate exchanges of diverse viewpoints.
- We understand that learning occurs through making connections: between past
- experiences and new experiences, between prior knowledge and new ideas, and
- between and across subject matter areas.
- We believe all learners benefit from opportunities to engage in in-depth investigations
- that help them look more closely, revisit, and revise understandings.
- We value children’s diverse communicative and representative competencies. We
- recognize that children are adept in multiple symbolic forms and processes (e.g.,
- drawing, writing, music, movement, painting, construction, graphics, stories, and
- pretend play) and build upon these capacities to enhance early literacy learning.
- We are dedicated to addressing Early Learning Standards in deeply meaningful
- ways. We take a balanced instructional approach that includes both providing
- systematic, explicit instruction and creating rich contexts for application of knowledge
- and skills within complex play scenarios and in-depth project investigations.