The CDES Lab School core philosophy and framework includes a Constructivist Approach to learning in nature inspired settings in which children construct knowledge through interaction with people as well as the environment. Staff implement Reggio inspired practices in which we see children and teachers as researchers; the environment is seen as the “third teacher in this process in which children become inspired by teacher-enriched areas and provocations. The learning processes are made visible through ongoing observation and documentation.

Our philosophy has a strong focus on anti-bias and peace education; these are framed by the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct as well as Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP).


The children at the CDES Lab School have opportunities for intense study of STEAM work. ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)   The Construction Studio at the CDES Lab School was specifically created to enhance the young child’s ability for hands on experiences with STEAM concepts.   The outdoor classrooms, rich in “loose parts” supports this work in the outdoors as well.

Constructivist Learning and Teaching

Constructivism is a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; children are builders and creators of meaning and knowledge.