Bringing early childhood education to campus
The Early Childhood Center, a pioneering facility for learning and research, reopens this month.
One of Lebanon’s premier centers for early childhood education will reopen to the public on LAU’s Beirut campus next week.
The Early Childhood Center (ECC), a contemporary educational facility for children between the ages of two and four, opens on February 13. The beautifully-designed center, located on the ground floor of Shannon Hall, is the only childhood center in the Arab world within an academic institution. It offers a high-quality program that nurtures problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as individual learning patterns in children. It also serves as a teacher preparation and educational research facility for LAU students and international academic researchers.
First established in the 1950s as a nursery, the ECC premises and curriculum were completely overhauled last year.
Rather than imposing rigid teaching methods on young learners, the center “encourages a flexible learning environment focused on the different development needs of children,” said Garene Kaloustian, ECC director and professor in the Department of Education. “We’re also trying to continue what the ECC was originally meant for, which was as a way to connect with the community and pioneer original research.”
Another unique feature of ECC is its emphasis on parental involvement. Two observation booths, which are camouflaged as mirrors and equipped with cameras and headphones, allow up to five parents or researchers at a time to monitor how children learn and interact.
“Being able to watch how your child learns best is really valuable,” said Bahaa Zeid, an LAU staff member who has enrolled her son Ryan at ECC. “It means you can better understand what teaching methods best stimulate your child’s learning experience. Having my son enrolled in a facility on a highly secure campus is also very reassuring to me.”
Dina Zein Al-Abidin and Ayah Al-Jalahma are two early childhood education majors who will spend the semester at the ECC putting their theoretical skills to practice. “It’s a very child-centered space that allows young children to explore and learn at their own pace,” says Al-Jalahma.
Al-Abidin added: “Working at the ECC will enable us to improve our teaching methods and research skills without imposing on the children. The observation rooms also allow our professors to monitor us.”
LAU staff, faculty and students benefit from a 25% discount. To learn more about ECC or to enroll your child, visit: http://sas.lau.edu.lb/institutes/ecc/.
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