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University Child Development Center (UCDC) is a campus-based child-care center serving the University of Missouri-St. Louis and surrounding communities. The purposes of the Center are to provide high quality programming for children and their parents; staff development and teacher training; and a site for child study/research.

The Center, located in Room 130 South Campus Classroom Building at the University of Missouri-St. Louis South Campus, 7800 Natural Bridge (map), provides full and half-day care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age (or before a child attends kindergarten).

The University Child Development Center abides by the licensing rules set forth by the Missouri Department of Health, Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health. The Center is exempt from regulation because of University affiliation, but chose to become licensed voluntarily. The Center became licensed In January 1994.

Beyond the basic safety and health guidelines provided for in the licensing rules, UCDC strives to meet the standards for exemplary and quality child-care established by the Missouri Board for Voluntary Accreditation. The Center achieved Voluntary Accreditation in October 1990 and re-accreditation in December 1993. In March, 2011 the Center received Accreditation from the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation.

This program exists to encourage and support each child to grow to his/her full potential in all areas of development, thus enhancing a positive self-concept and a strong foundation for succeeding in life. Our primary mission is to provide a rich, warm, supportive environment in which the child may develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

Our educational objectives are based on the belief that children learn through play. As they interact with their social and physical environment they make new discoveries which are interpreted with words and sentences. With the use of carefully chosen materials and equipment, much learning happens incidentally and informally. At other times with respect for the nature of the child, staff may elect to teach in a more direct manner.

There are many opportunities in a day to engage in music, art, sensory play, outdoor play and dramatic play activities. In order to develop freely, children primarily use self-chosen materials and move through the classroom with spontaneity. This freedom does not mean the child functions with no direction. The teacher's role is to encourage and guide the activities by making available a large variety of materials or props, showing an interest in what the children are involved in and facilitating the child's play. Some activities will get messy. Play clothes are strongly suggested.