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UNF Preschool and College of Education team up to offer new learning experiences

The University of North Florida Preschool and College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) are working together to increase experiential learning opportunities for UNF education students as well as continue to foster the nurturing learning environment for children that the Preschool has been well known for since 1975.

Under the COEHS purview since spring 2020, the Preschool has expanded its capacity to serve as a training, observation and internship site for education students and faculty. The preschoolers and teachers also have increased access to COEHS programs and resources such as the STEP (Solve, Tinker, Explore, and Play) Lab.

The Preschool has also adopted a new teaching philosophy supporting the Reggio-inspired model of learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education.

The move has additionally allowed for new hiring of highly qualified and credentialed staff and a new director Dr. Gigi David. The internationally informed and interdisciplinary network of staff, teachers, teacher educators, university faculty and researchers are uniting to improve the educational experience offered to both preschoolers and UNF students.

David, who stepped into her new role as director in January, is sharply focused on creating new curriculum for students, working closely with the COEHS early childhood education faculty and students to create more hands-on learning opportunities at the Preschool, and improving the amenities of the building and classrooms.

David is a bilingual Jacksonville native with over 30 years of educational experience in various past roles as a preschool elementary teacher, head of school, director of education for Head Start and Early Head Start, curriculum designer, program evaluator, education consultant and university professor.

The Preschool is open to the public and a highly sought-after location for early childhood education in the Northeast Florida community. The school serves young children ages two and a half to five in a safe, culturally diverse and nurturing environment with a high-quality project and play-based curriculum that cultivates literacy, numeracy and creativity as well as the social and emotional skills necessary for the development of the whole child.

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