The Child Study Center is a play-based, child-centered preschool offering an open classroom environment, outdoor nature play, and an emergent curriculum designed to nurture children’s social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development. In this setting, children learn age-appropriate, self-directed skills with the support of caring, early childhood professionals.

Our philosophy is that all children are inherently good, capable, and learn by doing. Play is critical for healthy brain development. Through their play, children expand their imagination, extend their creativity, and develop problem-solving skills. Play provides opportunities for children to navigate social relationships, test hypotheses about materials, develop spatial awareness, practice maintaining attention, and extend critical thinking skills. Play is how children construct meaning, connect prior knowledge and new concepts, and acquire skills with materials in their environment. CSC Teachers guide and scaffold children’s play to help further experiential learning and promote cooperation, negotiation, and social responsibility skills. Play is the work of the child!

The schedule, routines, staff, classroom activity areas, and presentation of materials are highly organized but flexible enough to meet the individual needs of each developing child within the context of the whole group. Although all children follow their individual developmental trajectory, there are specific patterns of development that follow a predictable sequence, and both the environment and support from skillful teachers can exert tremendous influence on the child’s development.

CSC staff routinely review best practices and, when appropriate, incorporate the latest body of research into daily practice. The Center serves as a model preschool for Wellesley College - facilitating the training of beginning teachers in the field of early childhood education, supporting observations from visiting professors and classes, and serving as a human laboratory and research site for students and faculty.

Child Study Center

Wellesley College Child Study Center
Page Building
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Annie Cohen
Program Administrator