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Mission Statement

The University of Minnesota Child Development Center is a model, demonstration and training site for early development with research opportunities for faculty to further the knowledge of early development, education, and quality care for young children. Simultaneously, it provides a “fee-for-service” child development and care program for University of Minnesota affiliated staff, faculty, and students.

Licensure and Memberships

  • UMCDC is currently licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to serve 140 children ages 3 months to pre-kindergarten (18 infants, 54 toddlers, 68 preschoolers).
  • National Coalition for Campus Child Care (NCCCC)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • MN Reggio Network
  • North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA)
  • Zero to Three

UMCDC’s philosophy of education is founded on the belief that children are born wired to learn. The integration of neuroscience, sociocultural learning theories, pedagogy, and professionalization is what has positioned UMCDC as a leader in the field of child development, early childhood education and workforce development for the state.

The work and purpose of the Center fits the University’s land-grant mission of promoting access to higher education. As you recognize, the Center has been providing high quality early childhood education using best practices. It has enabled many University faculty, staff and students to pursue their work by providing a reliable and accessible resource for trusted childcare.”
- Senator John Marty, 2018

UMCDC’s Contribution to the U’s Academic Community

  • College Student Child Care Workers
    • Gain real-world experience in the classroom
    • Learn classroom management
    • Discover and apply best practices
  • Research opportunities
  • Field Studies
  • Classes that observe at UMCDC:
    • Theatre Arts and Dance
    • Kinesiology
    • Child Psychology
    • Music Education
    • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Child Development Practicum Students
    • +75% of Early Childhood Education students complete their practicum at UMCDC

UMCDC builds local, state, and national relationships with other early childhood education sites and professional organizations. As a model site for the professionalization of early childhood education, UMCDC takes pride in meaningfully investing in teaching staff as reflective practitioners committed to pursuing a career within the quickly growing need in our state and country for high quality care and child development programs.

“My teacher education classes talked a lot about what is developmentally appropriate, and what child care centers should look like, but then warned us that those things are not seen at all child care centers. Working at UMCDC I was able to see the developmentally appropriate theories we learned about in class, and put them to practice or watch them in practice.”
-Child Care Worker, B.S. Early Childhood Education, 2018

Philosophy in Practice

Children develop cognitive, social emotional, and physical competency through their active engagement with their environment. UMCDC prizes the selection of educational materials, layout of physical space, and design of learning experiences.

Our educators interact with children in ways that help each learner to develop executive function skills that will equip them to succeed in their future academic careers and interpersonal relationships.

UMCDC cherishes and nurtures the interconnectedness among children, teachers, and families. Teachers at our Center are both valued professional educators and builders of the community. The UMCDC approach to community extends to how the center involves our children and families in events and learning experiences. This provides the children with a valuable sense of belonging.


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