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Child Development Laboratory

The Child Development Laboratory, established in 1940, is operated by the Department of Human Sciences. When the center opened its doors, there were five children at what was then known as the Practice Cottage and Nursery School Program. The center was open from 8:00am until 1:00pm. By 1944 enrollment was up to fifteen children, and by 1989 enrollment was at 40 children. Today we are licensed for thirty-eight children.  The center was housed in several buildings on campus, until the Dent Annex was completed  in 1973. Today, the center is a Five Star Licensed  facility and is nationally accredited by the National Academy Early Childhood Programs: a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Mission Statement

The North Carolina Central University Child Development Laboratory provides:

  1. An early childhood setting to prepare students to work with young children.
  2. A setting for student and teachers to observe, interact with, and study pre-school children in an environment which utilizes varied teaching strategies and methods to assure developmentally appropriate experiences.
  3. Childcare services for three and four year old children and their families.


The philosophy of the Child Development Laboratory is based upon:

  • The child development principles of growth, developed through research.
  • Nurturing each child as a unique individual, with emphasis upon the total development of the child.

Students, Staff and Parents

The students consist of three and four year olds.

The staff is comprised of trained professionals committed to meeting the needs of all the children. They include a director, who has a masters degree in Child Development and Family Relations and four teachers, who have Birth through Kindergarten Education degrees, or have completed at least twelve semester hours and possess child care credentials.

Parents are required to volunteer at least once during the school year,  attend parent meetings, as well as participate in fundraisers.

Program Curriculum

Cognitive Development is nurtured through problem solving skills, classifying skills, visual and auditory discrimination exercises, activities encouraging predicting and, number concepts, and alphabet sounds lessons.

Language Development is enhanced by sustaining a rich language environment using descriptive language, encouraging children to express their thoughts and engaging in meaningful conversations. Additionally, we enrich development through written communication.

Social and Emotional Development are expanded by affording the acquisition of skills through working cooperatively and teaching basic techniques of interpersonal relationships.

Physical Development is enriched by helping the children build confidence in their motor abilities through active play as they explore.

Daily Schedule

07:30am-09:00am Arrival of Children-Choice Centers
09:00am-09:15am Transition to Morning Snack and Conversation
09:15am-09:30am Morning Snack and Conversation
09:30am-09:45am Clean Up and Transition to Circle Time
09:45am-10:00am Circle Time
10:00am-10:15am Story Time and Discussion
10:15am-11:00am Special Interest Period/Choice Centers
11:00am-11:30am Outdoor Play*
11:30am-12:00pm Small Group Activities
12:00pm-12:30pm Lunch
12:30pm-12:50pm Transition to Rest Time
12:50pm-3:00pm Rest Time
03:00pm-03:15pm Transition to Afternoon Snack and Conversation
03:15pm-03:30pm Snack and Conversation
03:30pm-04:00pm Outdoor Play *
04:00pm-06:00pm Choice Centers/Departure

*During inclement weather times, the children will remain indoors and engage in structured activities, exercise, etc.

Our nutritious mid morning snacks, hot lunches, and afternoon snacks are catered by Sodexo and prepared by food service at North Carolina Central University.

School Year and Operating Hours

The school year begins in mid August and ends the last week of June. The center  is open Monday through Friday from 07:30am-06:00pm. Holiday and vacation days closely resemble those of the University.

Enrollment Procedures

Applications may be emailed upon request or picked up at the Child Development Laboratory or the Department of Human Sciences:

NCCU Human Sciences CDL
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street
PO Box 19615
Durham, NC 27707

Once the completed application is returned, the child is either admitted or placed on a waiting list. Enrollment is open to children of students, faculty, staff, and the community, who are at least 2.5 years of age and toilet trained. The selection of children is based on the date of the application. Applications of children who are under the age of 2.5 years will be accepted, but children are not eligible until age 2.5. Children already enrolled are given priority in continuing enrollment.

Registration and Tuition

A registration fee and a two week tuition deposit are due upon notice of  admission for your child. Tuition payments are due at the beginning of each pay period, prior to services being rendered. A 15% discount is allowed for the second child when two or more siblings are enrolled at the center at the same time.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The NCCU CDL does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin or differing  ability.

For more information about our laboratory,
call 919-530-6447 or visit our web site at www.nccu.edu

NCCU complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all programs and activities (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) in the University's educational programs and activities. For additional resources or to file a Title IX complaint, visit the NCCU's Title IX webpage.
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