CDES Department Lab School at Fullerton College

A Reggio Inspired Preschool

We would like to welcome you and your family on behalf of the Child Development and Educational Studies (CDES) Department at Fullerton College. The CDES department Lab School, founded in 1959, serves a s a model for best practices in early childhood education for children, families, students, faculty, and the community.

A welcome note from our interim director: Mrs. Sonia Semana

“Nothing without Joy”

I feel like I live by these words every day. I began my journey as an educator at a state funded preschool program 11 years ago.  The school was very traditional and seemed to lack a connection with families. I wanted more for the children in this program. I wanted learning to be purposeful and exciting for each child. One year after I began my teaching career, I attended a lecture series by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. At this particular lecture, I bumped into a professor that was just as excited about exploring the connection between children, learning, and nature, Professor Patricia Green Pappas. I took a class with her at Fullerton College and I never looked back. My journey as an early childhood educator and advocate for the rights of the child has taken me to a variety of schools around the United States. I have connected the theory learned in the classroom and experienced it in practice at Boulder Journey School in Colorado, Roseville Community Preschool in California, Hilltop Children Center in Seattle, Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaii, and Evergreen Community School in California. After completing my Master’s Degree at Pacific Oaks College, I advanced my journey by leaping into collegiate teaching.

I believe we should not compartmentalize learning, but help real learning come alive for young children. Children enjoy developing new ideas, new theories, thinking critically and developing problem-solving skills. Children make new connections with the world around them every day. Thinking and studying about what impacts young children and how they make connections with the world; is what makes working with college students, teachers, families, and children so amazing. Being part of a CDES Laboratory School allows our community to build an educational forum. A forum where a wealth of ideas, inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Peace Education, and Constructivist work, can be shared.

The Lab School has been an amazing forum for educators since 1959.

The Child Development and Educational Studies Department is very pleased to have Mrs.  Semana as a part of the CDES team.


The CDES Laboratory School has a  three-fold mission:

Education of children ages 2 through 5 years old:

  • Providing a challenging, emergent curriculum that is inspired by the Reggio philosophy from Italy, emphasizing the Constructivist Approach and nature-based learning.
  • Strengthening relationships between children, families, our department and students as well the Fullerton and greater North Orange County community.

Professional education of students:

  • Professional education for students majoring in Early Childhood Education.
  • Professional education for students in various college departments (i.e., Psychology, Art, Horticulture, etc) and from the surrounding education communities.

Site for on-going contributions to the early childhood profession:

  • Research by faculty and students in early Childhood Education.
  • On-going contributions of knowledge to the field of Early Childhood Education.
  • Educator tours to provide a model to other programs.

CDES Dept. article with faculty and student photographs CTA

See the article written by CTA magazine highlighting the work of our CDES department Laboratory School.  See photographs of faculty and students.

Contact Us

321 E. Chapman Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832
Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Child Development and Educational Studies Club

Student club events  are held throughout the semester.   May club events: Event:  May 5th Gardening Club Meetings in May: May 9th - 1-2 pm (Nominations for  fall 17 Officers) May 11th - 6:30 - 7:30 pm (Nominations of fall 17 Officers) Club Meetings (Last for the...

From Fullerton Observer Professor Chris Lamm

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Christine Lamm, a full-time faculty member in the Fullerton College Child Development and Educational Studies Department. She had only recently announced her retirement and was honored at the 2013...