The Auburn University Early Learning Center has a four-fold mission:
As an NAEYC accredited program, the AUELC provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum that is based on research regarding how children grow, learn, and develop as active learners. The implementation of this curriculum is overseen by head teachers and the director who are faculty members in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Teachers with degrees in Child Development or Early Childhood Education prepare individualized plans for their classrooms that address intellectual, emotional, physical, and social development. In addition to the needs of the children, parental needs are considered through conferences, seminars, an informative newsletter, a parent room and lending library, an observation booth, as well as other parenting resources.
The Center serves as a laboratory and internship site for Auburn University students who work under the supervision of head teachers and the director. Undergraduate students hone their skills and attain practical experience in the classroom. Head teachers act as mentors to both 2graduate and undergraduate students. Undergraduate students create and implement lessons with the guidance and approval of their supervising head teacher. Daily meetings between laboratory students and the head teacher are held to discuss the events of the day and children's growth and needs. Internships are available in both teaching and preschool administration.
Auburn University faculty and graduate students who are interested in studying issues related to children's growth, development, and family relationships conduct approved research at the center. A large observation booth overlooking the classrooms with state of the art audio/video capability is available for research purposes. A separate research room with state of the art audio/visual equipment allows investigators to have a quiet space to conduct research. Undergraduate and graduate students play an integral role in the research conducted by faculty.
The director and teaching staff of AUELC serve as teachers and mentors for childcare workers on the local, state and national levels. Presentations at conventions, workshops at local information and referral agencies and in-service centers, and at daycare centers and nursery schools are all venues for outreach. The director is a volunteer validator for NAEYC, assisting in the accreditation process of other centers. The staff also acts as mentors to local programs who are seeking accreditation. Staff members participate on the local School Readiness Advisory Council to facilitate grants for four-year-old pre-K programs in the area.