The Young Children's Program is an early learning program operated by the James Madison University's College of Education. Its curriculum, environment, and organization are based on professional standards and research related to learning and development of young children. The program operates Monday-Friday with a morning session for 3-year olds and an afternoon session for 4-year olds. Each class is led by master teachers and students. When possible, teachers work with the same group of children for a two-year period.
The Young Children's Program recognizes that children's development is best facilitated through cooperative efforts of families and school. Family members are welcome contributors to the ongoing curriculum and are encouraged to be involved in ways that support their children's adjustment and growth. Avenues for communication are varied and personal in order to meet the needs of all families.
In addition to providing a quality educational experience for children and their families, the Young Children's Program serves as a laboratory site for JMU teacher education students. The opportunity to observe and interact with children under the careful supervision of early childhood professionals is critical in the preparation of high quality teachers. The presence of student staff also ensures that each child receives individual attention as needed and the opportunity to form friendships with other caring adults. Because the YCP operates as a laboratory school, it also serves as a site for student and faculty research. Specific guidelines are followed to protect the privacy of all children and families.
The YCP is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and licensed as a child care facility by the Virginia Department of Social Services. The James Madison University Young Children's Program has been continuously accredited by NAEYC since 1989 and the current certificate is valid until January 2, 2018.