About Us

Happy Child


The Child Development Center (CDC) is licensed through the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. The CDC is accredited through the Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Children and Youth and serves children of the greater Springfield community as well as student, staff, and faculty members of the Missouri State University campus community. Accreditation is a voluntary process through which the CDC's practices with children are scrutinized. Being an accredited facility offers families the reassurance that the CDC is committed to high quality early childhood care. Curious? Read more here!

The CDC is committed to providing children with a strong foundation based on safe, secure, and nurturing relationships. Because of this, the teachers and the children at the CDC move together in cohorts through the program. This model is known as looping or continuity of care and allows teachers, children, and families to form strong relationships with one another and serves as the vital foundation on which each child's educational experience is built.

We're Bears, Too!

The Child Development Center is a part of the School of Teaching, Learning and Developmental Sciences which resides in the College of Education. Early Childhood Education and Family Development is a comprehensive major area of study. Common employment positions for our graduates are: preschool administrators, teachers, child life specialists in medical settings, infant-toddler specialists, school-age program directors and teachers, parent educators, intervention specialists in crisis agencies, nannies, and family activity specialists. Some graduates elect to pursue advance degrees in areas relating to children and families.

The Child Development Center programs provide practicum experience for university students from the McQueary College of Health and Human Services (Departments of Consumer and Family Studies; Social Work; Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disorders) and the College of Education (Early Childhood Education and Special Education).

The Child Development Center practices developmentally appropriate practice with young children. Developmentally appropriate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development. DAP involves teachers meeting young children where they are (by stage of development), both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet challenging and achievable learning goals.

Child Development Center Mission Statement

The mission of the Missouri State University Child Development Center is to provide a learning laboratory for students to observe young children and to participate in a high quality developmentally appropriate early childhood program for children 6 weeks to 5 years old.

The Center experience allows students to link educational theory with practice. The Center includes a high quality program for children of university students, faculty and staff, and the community, research opportunities and a commitment to diversity.

Child Development Center Philosophy

The program at the Center is designed to nurture and support each child’s physical, social, emotional, intellectual and language development. Each child’s growth and development is enriched through developmentally appropriate experiences. The Center’s daily schedule provides children with opportunities to explore the environment, self-select activities, practice language, develop problem-solving skills, discover appropriate interactions with peers and adults, and acquire concepts through hands-on experiences. The program provides experiences which foster a positive self-concept and high self-esteem.

Center Objectives

  • To serve as an optimal practicum and research site for the campus community
  • To serve as an advocate for children and families
  • To provide a comprehensive developmentally appropriate program for young children
  • To provide a safe and nurturing environment
  • To serve as a leader in the field of early childhood education
  • To serve as a model for the community
  • To provide information for parents about parenting practices and the results of research that provides direction for childbearing