Students in the Infant Mental Health Program at Mills have a unique facility for hands-on research and study: the College's on-campus laboratory school. Founded in 1926, the Mills College Children's School is the oldest laboratory school for teacher preparation west of the Mississippi. The Children's School has a dual mission of providing high-quality education to approximately 135 students in its infant, preschool, and K–5 programs, as well as offering a collaborative research setting for our undergraduate and graduate education students.
Students have the opportunity to observe and work with children under the guidance of master teachers with graduate degrees, professional credentials, and years of experience. These expert teachers work with the faculty to provide a setting in which graduate students combine their classroom investigations in learning with the challenge of creating environments in which children are able to construct knowledge in an increasingly sophisticated and thoughtful manner. Adults and children learn together in a unique environment that provides a rich educational experience for both.
Students approach the work as a reflective practice that focuses on the hows and whys of learning as much as on the method of teaching itself. Developmentally appropriate activities are key—the school is fully focused on each child and what is appropriate or necessary to help him or her progress.
The Children's School teachers and the attending children reflect the diversity of the urban setting of Mills College. The school enjoys wide acclaim for quality and innovation, drawing interested visitors from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, and Taiwan.