Rollins College building unique pre-school

Rollins College building unique pre-school
Youngsters at Rollins College's Child Development and Student Research Center play make believe and show their best meltdown postures. (Scott Cook)

Rollins College is creating a pre-school that will serve as a Petri dish for students to observe—through a one-way glass wall—how youngsters behave and interact with one another.

The Child Development and Student Research Center at Hume House will be able to contain as many as 40 children, ages 2 to 5, who are the offspring of staff, students and alumni.


The 5,050-square-foot building will replace a 1,200-square-foot site that has been used for the program since 1987.

The fully functional preschool "grew out" of its current site five years ago and became part of the college's master plan for facilities expansion, said Dr. Sharon Carnahan, who heads the program.

The new building will cost $1.6 million, with the funds raised through private donors.
The site plan shows a one story building and a playground.

A general contractor has not been chosen yet, but selection is expected soon given plans for a February groundbreaking.

An architect has been named, BCA Architecture of Maitland, and the new facility is expected to open a year from now.

The students observing the youngsters are mostly studying psychology, but those with other majors, like philosophy and mathematics, also participate, Carnahan said.

The highest number of students are those watching through the glass. A lesser amount work directly with the youngsters in the classroom, building relationships and watching such things as how friendships are formed and what spurs temper tantrums.

The facility, which Carnahan calls "a laboratory preschool," is pretty rare for a college like Rollins.

Of the thousands of small liberal arts colleges across the country, Rollins is one of just 50 to have the set-up, Carnahan said.

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