It’s recess and a group of 5-year-old girls are building a house out of wooden blocks, the next second they’re squealing and jumping, clutching on to each others shirts as they scream about a spider.
The others try to console one another proclaiming, “If you guys scream it will be scared, so no one scream.”
Their teacher Mrs. Srisuda grabs a science jar so they can examine it safely later. They thought they escaped the variety of critters the natural landscape of the former center, but it seems as if the spiders are here just in time for the new location’s grand opening.
Formerly known as the Child Development Center, the Early Childhood Education Lab School (ECE-LS) has changed locations on campus and received an upscale, upgraded building funded by Proposition M.
The old location, fondly spoken of by teachers and aides because of its cozy, tree-shaded playground and abundant plant life, is planned to be demolished and turned into a parking lot.
Although in use now, the official opening of the new Lab School is planned to be Aug. 19 and is open to Palomar’s staff, students, faculty and parents in the community. Those who are interested are asked to fill out a waitlist for the new location that’s licensed for 100 children, ranging in ages from 18 months to kindergarten.
The new building, directly across Parking Lot 9 next to the arboretum, is a sleek, modern design built both for function and learning.
“(The former school) was kind of hidden in the back of parking Lot 12, this one’s more open and you can see it,” said Jamie Begg, teacher assistant about the site move.
As of spring 2016, five out of seven classrooms are in use from 7 a.m.- 5:45 p.m. The ECE-LS intends to open an Infant Pre-School starting in June.
With classrooms a third of the size bigger than the last location, the new building provides architectural advancements the other did not. An outdoor sink area, central entrance to ensure increased security when parents check in and out, and a full functioning kitchen are included in the new design.
Some of the teacher’s favorite features include opening glass doors that bring sunlight into the classroom, and bathrooms with the top half uncovered allowing the teacher to supervise the child and granting them their privacy without having to leave and take an individual child to the bathroom.
Sierra Lovelace, a counselor of the college, drops her 4-year-old son Tyson off while she works on campus and finds the location extremely convenient. Not only can she be right there if there’s a problem but she’s enamored by the new building, impressed with the new features such as the child bathrooms.
“I like clean and new stuff,” Lovelace said about the building. “My mother-in-law used to be in child care and she even said that she was amazed. She was like, ‘Wow! It’s super nice and more innovative.’”
The classrooms were equipped with new furniture also funded by Proposition M intending to “maintain and modernize” the campus and create “new educational opportunities underserved areas of the district” as stated in the Master Plan 2022, published in August 2003.
With a more industrial approach to the playground opposed to the previous locations incorporation of nature, student teacher April Clemente commented on the move, “there’s always that balance, we get something more but we lose a little bit. But it’s not impossible to adapt.”
Most of the kids could attest their favorite part of the ECE-LS are the toys. The teaching program follows a play-based curriculum providing an environment that assimilates an active learning experience.
Alessandro Palacios, 4, likes the location because “it’s new” and he likes to “play on the playground.”
Even though the location change, the same philosophy is upheld, following theories of Child Development expert `Jean Piaget. The classrooms, full of books, arts and crafts, and play areas are used during the course of the day as teachers follow the teaching objectives, ensuring that each child’s individual needs and unique characteristics are tended to.
At the ECE-LS, the children’s safety and education opportunities continue to be the priority, even if it does mean shielding a group of 5-year-old girls from a spider.