Why ECELP | LSU Early Childhood Education Laboratory School


At the LSU Early Childhood Laboratory Preschool, the Reggio Emilia approach guides us on our mission to provide a nurturing environment that promotes a life-long love of learning. What does it mean to be Reggio-inspired?

Core Tenets of the Reggio Approach

  1. The environment as the third teacher. Great care is given in creating the classroom environment. Child choice is paramount, as research suggests that children engage longer with materials of their own choosing. A highly skilled early childhood professional is essential for selecting materials that provide opportunity for children to practice key developmental skills.
  2. 100 languages of children. Children learn in a variety of ways and need a variety of opportunities to express their knowledge, which can include talking, writing, acting, drawing, the use of natural materials, and dancing.  Providing children with free play, encouraging exploration of a child’s own interest, and creating a safe and positive environment and community supports the hundred languages.
  3. Long-term projects. Long stretches of time are necessary for children to engage deeply with materials to explore and develop skills.
  4. Teacher-researcher. The teacher serves as a support for children’s ideas, seeking resources and materials to further engage children in learning
  5. Image of the child. Children are considered competent, creative, curious, and full of potential.
  6. Negotiated learning. Children’s ideas are given serious consideration in the design (plan or intended solution), discourse (reflective study of what is being said), and documentation (record of performance) of projects.
  7. Documentation. Documentation is used to promote communication, collaboration and reflection among children, teachers, and families, as well as to facilitate the learning processes of children.
  8. Social relations. The recognition that learning is socially constructed through group interaction.

Teacher to Child Ratio

Age Group ECELP Ratio ECELP Maximum
Group Size
Louisiana Ratio Louisiana Maximum
Group Size
Infants 1:4 8 1:5 15
Young Toddler 1:5 10 1:7 21
Toddler 1:6 12 1:10 22
Young Preschool 1:9 18 1:13 26
Preschool 1:9 18 1:15 30


Quick Facts

Reggio Emilia-inspired research facility

Located on LSU's main campus

35 staff members

182 children (aged 6 weeks to 4 years old)

Serves as a laboratory for the next generation of cutting-edge research in the areas of child development and education

Serves as a training site for undergraduate and graduate students as a model demonstration site within the community, the state of Louisiana and beyond.


Through its support of research and teaching, the ECELP generates and disseminates knowledge about best practices in early childhood education to support children’s development and learning. The preschool provides services for LSU students, staff and faculty and the community, furthers the Flagship research agenda in instruction, research and service, provides high quality early childhood services, and functions as a self-supporting entity. The ECELP serves as a model for instructional, research, and service activities, representing LSU, Louisiana’s flagship university.