UMSL’s University Child Development Center received a minor facelift with the addition of fresh paint and vibrant colors. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Children returning from winter break were greeted by more than smiling teachers at the University Child Development Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

While the little ones were away, there was anything but play happening as the center underwent a minor facelift with the addition of fresh paint and vibrant colors.

“The center looked old before; the color was dull,” said Lynn Navin, center director. “The fresh paint brings new life into the center, which is in line with the exciting things we are doing here.”

In addition to the updated walls, a book nook has been created for story time, and plans to house a traveling museum exhibit are in the works.

The University Child Development Center, located on the first floor of the South Campus Classroom Building on South Campus, serves the children of UMSL faculty, staff and students as well as those throughout the community. The center provides full- and half-day care for children 6 weeks to 5 years of age. It’s licensed by the Missouri Department of Health; Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health; and accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation.

Carole Basile, dean of the College of Education, was instrumental in making the facelift possible, according to Navin.

“The center plays a major role in the community by exemplifying quality teaching and preparation of young children for life’s possibilities,” Basile said. “The importance of the center on campus is to provide care for the children, demonstrate excellent practice to early childhood educators and prepare educator candidates that are top in their field. The UCDC is a key component in the college’s mission to build strong relationships with and for the community across the preschool through doctoral continuum of teaching and learning.”

In addition to full-time staff, more than 30 UMSL graduates and undergraduate students work at the center, which can enroll around 80 children. UMSL students are able to work in the classrooms and received hands-on experience and some even conduct research and test curriculum plans.

Now that the physical space has been enhanced, Navin said other changes are on the way.

“We’re working on adding services for children with special needs,” she said. “In addition, we have several faculty members who will begin new research at the center this year, and we’re always looking for new ways to partner with other educational organizations to improve upon our current curriculum.”

To learn more about the University Child Development Center email Navin at navinl@umsl.edu.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton

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