A Visit to the Pacific University Early Learning Center

On Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 I visited Pacific University to give a talk to pre-service teachers. The talk was part of the OTEN Conference. Afterward, Dr. Mark Bailey gave me a tour of their early learning center. The Center takes up the bottom floor of Berglund Hall, a LEED Gold Certified building that also houses Pacific's education department. The center was designed from scratch to be a child centered facility that incorporates several program elements, including an outdoor space they call The Piazza. The Piazza has several garden areas including an area where fruits and vegetables grow. Mark also shared with me that each of the teachers keeps a daily blog where they document the work that the children do. The blog content is generated by the students and also recorded on a large whiteboard that is posted in the lobby at the end of the day. The blog and the whiteboard content provide parents with a frame of reference to talk with their child about the days events. Much more than just asking "What did you do in school today?"

I walked away from my visit very impressed. It is a fantastic environment and I walked away with several good ideas to take back to my school. Below are a few images from my visit.