Child Development Lab

Providing carefully supervised training opportunities for child development students pursuing careers serving children and families

As part of the Center for Child and Family Success within the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, the Child Development Lab (CDL) plays an integral role in the university's threefold mission of teaching, research, and service.

The CDL is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services. If they wish to participate, CDL children and families have a unique opportunity to participate in various research studies conducted by faculty and graduate students.
The CDL follows the criterion for best practices in early care and education espoused by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We provide a model of quality education and care for young children, and offers training opportunities and technical assistance for state and local early childhood professionals.

A quality childhood program

We provide quality early childhood education and childcare for young children from two years old through 5 years old. We provide a wide range of age-appropriate activities that facilitate children's intellectual, social-emotional, and physical development based on the National Association for the Education of the Young Children's (NAEYC) practice. Curriculum activities and adult-child interactions are tailored to meet the individual needs, interests, and abilities of each child.

A university at our doorstep

Children at the CDL have access to the many rich and varied resources of a major university. Our program includes walking field trips to the museums, libraries, and centers on ASU's campus. We also have frequent "guest speakers" and special activities from such departments as music, art, education, nursing, intercollegiate athletics, and architecture.

A place for parents

Providing for the needs of parents is an important part of our program. We welcome and encourage parent involvement. Observation facilities are open daily, and parents are always invited to visit or join their child for lunch. Parent conferences are offered twice a year. We also provide a variety of educational programs and social events for parents.

Parent resources


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Young Preschool Program

The young preschool classroom program begins enrolling children after their second birthday. Children are generally enrolled in the young preschool until they are about three and a half years old and are fully independent in toileting. Children who meet these criteria between enrollment periods, may remain in the young preschool until an opening occurs in the multi-age preschool classrooms.

The classroom is led by a lead teacher who has a minimum of an undergraduate degree in child development, psychology, education or a related field of study. The lead mentors three intern teachers who are part of the Early Childhood Leadership Trainee Program sponsored by the Child Development Laboratory Programs. The intern teachers are in charge in the absence of the lead teacher. The lead and intern teachers work in 2 teams of primary caregivers. Each young preschooler is assigned to one of the teams. The primary caregivers are responsible for overseeing the child's care, record keeping, communication and completing the parent conference. The program also utilizes college student staff as classroom assistants. Parents are responsible for bringing diapers and wipes for their child until they are fully independent in toileting.

The maximum ratio in the room is 1:4. The program enrolls a maximum of 15 children.

Multiage Preschool Program

The all-day preschool program is designed for children three and a half through five years old. The center has two multiage classrooms, each staffed with a lead teacher, assistant teacher and college student classroom aides. A typical day in the preschool program includes a variety of developmentally appropriate learning activities. Structuring the environment and planning activities for self-directed play and learning is a fundamental part of the CDL's educational program.

Curriculum activities include pretend play, open-ended creative and sensory experiences (painting, sand and water play, modeling clay, collage activities, etc.), construction activities with blocks and manipulative toys, mathematics and language games, gardening, cooking activities, and science "experiments." The preschool curriculum is reflective of the Arizona State Standards for Early Childhood Programs while being presented in a developmentally appropriate manner. Each day includes teacher-led "group times" during which children gather for creative movement activities, musical experiences, and stories.

Sack lunches from home and morning and afternoon snacks provided by the center are served. A nap and/or rest time follows lunch. Afternoon activities and group time follows nap/rest time. The outdoor environment is easily accessible and is available to the children throughout the day.