Grant to initiate new visitor program for early childhood education

Central Michigan University is set to receive up to $150,000 to set up a visiting educator exchange program with a focus on early childhood education.

CMU’s Child Development and Learning Laboratory, or CDLL, is expected to receive it’s first check for $30,000 this week. It’s the first step toward establish a Visiting Educator Exchange Program.

Officials said the idea is to bring an international artist, educator or scholar to campus to share new ideas on early education.

Margaret Desormes, director of the CDLL, said Italian artist and educator Roberta Pucci is visiting CMU this week.

“I think what [Pucci] wants to show is that there doesn’t have to be a product at the end of children’s art,” she said. “They might be working with clay and sculpting because they like the feel of it, that they don’t have to make a pot because everyone else is making pots.”

Desormes said early Italian education tends to give students freedom to find their own answers to questions.

“When they come to us and ask us, ‘Why do the leaves change color?’ Instead of us saying it’s because of the sun, we say, ‘Let’s figure that out,’ and it’s ok if their hypothesis is wrong,” she said. “Then, you just start over again and try to figure it out.”

As part of the exchange, two CDLL staff travel to each visiting educator’s home base, to observe early childhood education there.

Desormes said the program’s goal is to provide new ideas that will enhance how children learn.