The Early Childhood Lab School at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is committed to providing high-quality, licensed care to children of enrolled university students, faculty and staff, while providing rich observation and practicum experiences for university students studying early childhood education.
UAF Community & Technical College operates Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The lab school is licensed by the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to serve 30 children, ages 36 months through six years. The program participates with several agencies, including Alaska Native corporations that fund childcare for some of the families enrolled.
In cooperation with the Early Childhood Education program at UAF Community & Technical College, the lab school provides university students with observation and practicum experiences. Parental permission for children to be a part of this university learning experience is a requisite for enrollment.
The lab school’s child-centered environment is rich in learning opportunities. Developmentally appropriate equipment and practices permit children to make choices within a supportive and encouraging structure. Self-selection of activities and materials allows children to learn independently at their own unique pace. Active exploration and cooperative learning foster problem-solving and critical thinking skills, communication and language skills, creativity, competence, healthy attitudes, and positive self-worth.
Ages: 36 months—6 years (must be toilet trained)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:30 am—5:30 pm
Location: 703 Chatanika Drive on the UAF campus
Availability: Full-time and part-time schedules accommodated
Lead teachers are required to have a minimum of two years college or vocational technical course work with an associate’s degree in early childhood and one full year of formal experience working with infant, toddler or preschool children; or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 18 credits in early childhood education and a minimum of six months formal experience working with young children.
Assistant teachers are required to have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent plus some vocational technical course work in early childhood education or a related field and/or minimum three months of formal experience working with preschool children.
Turnover of teaching staff is low. All employees have undergone fingerprinting and background checks as required by state licensing and are required to maintain current certification in infant-child-adult first aid and CPR as well as food handler certification.
The primary purpose of the lab school is to provide rich observation and practicum experiences for university students studying early childhood education (ECE). Practicum involves 160 hours of on-site experience. Advanced practicum requires completion of 200 hours, but not all are on-site.
In addition to ECE students, students from other disciplines utilize the lab school to enhance their learning and understanding through observations and interactive activities with the children.
Child Wait List
The lab school has a wait list. Interested families should fill out the wait list form HERE.
Hearts for Kids Award 4 out of 4 Hearts
From October 2002 through May 2003, the lab school participated in Hearts for Kids, a voluntary program for licensed programs that was a project of the Fairbanks community public campaign “Grow Better Kids.” The purpose of Hearts for Kids was to increase the quality of childcare in the community. Trained reviewers spent many hours observing and scoring programs on every facet of the operation including health, safety, curriculum, staffing, administration, training, and furnishings.
Participating programs received free technical assistance as well as mini-grants to finance the enhancement suggestions made by the reviewers. After enhancements were completed, reviewers returned to make final evaluations of the programs. Finally, programs were awarded a score of anywhere from one to four hearts.
As a participant in Hearts for Kids the lab school received two $1800 mini-grants that were used to purchase furnishings and toys to meet the enhancement suggestions. The lab school also achieved the highest rating – four out of four hearts.
Alaska Quality Child Care Enrichment Program
In Spring 2006 Bunnell House participated in a statewide voluntary assessment program, similar to Hearts for Kids, intended to help strengthen program quality as well as provide a small amount of funding (roughly $650 per classroom) for classroom improvement and/or staff training. One of the consultants for the enrichment program brought individuals from other participating early childhood programs to see Bunnell House as a model example.
The goal of the lab school is to become an accredited program through the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the largest national professional early childhood organization.
Paige Vonder Haar, Director
703 Chatanika Dr., UAF Main Campus