The University of Connecticut Child Development Laboratories (CDL) serves the department of Family Studies, the University , the community and the state as a model demonstration laboratory center. The primary purpose of the CDL is to teach university students to work with young children and to provide a site for research in the field of child development.

In order to fulfill this purpose, the CDL offers programs for young children ages six weeks to five years. The CDL is committed to providing developmentally appropriate curriculum that is based on current research and knowledge of child development. The CDL’s primary goals are to foster the optimal development of children, to set an example for other early childhood programs, and to impart to students high ideals and goals. Each CDL teacher holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with expertise in the field of early childhood education. Teacher assistants are comprised of CDL professional staff and full-time UConn students majoring in Human Development and Family Studies.

The Child Development Laboratories (CDL) has three components:

  1. Training Students—The CDL provides undergraduate and graduate students with supervised experience and training. Besides training Human Development and Family Studies students to work in early childhood programs, the CDL serves as a placement site for observations, projects, and field placements for many other departments within the university.
  2. Conducting Research—One of the primary missions of the CDL is to encourage and facilitate research. The CDL staff is committed to working cooperatively with researchers interested in issues of family, child development and early childhood education. Requests to do research involving young children in CDL programs are screened for their appropriateness to the welfare of the child and CDL programs.
  3. Services for Children—A safe, supportive and nurturing environment is provided together with a commitment to developmentally appropriate programming which promotes the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of young children. The CDL is licensed by the State of Connecticut, accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, and is a member of the Council of Child Development Laboratory Administrators.

These three components result in a rich experience in which learning occurs on many levels: university students and CDL children are scaffolding their learning in an academically rich, professional learning community.