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About Us


Our Philosophy 

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


StandArds of quality

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.


Our Policies

Upon accepting space you must pay an annual REGISTRATION FEE and two weeks tuition. The registration fee, renewed each September, and tuition are NON-REFUNDABLE. The tuition charge varies depending on your child's schedule and age. The advance tuition is applied to the tuition of your first month of attendance. If for some reason your child DOES NOT attend after you have paid the tuition you will forfeit the tuition. It will NOT be refunded.

Attendance options at the Center include half day or full day care. Each child is required to attend at least 2 half days per week. A half day is between 7:00am and 12:00pm or 12:30pm and 5:30pm. Full day care is any time between 7:00am and 5:30pm. For any child older than an infant wishing to attend half days, the morning half is recommended since the afternoon half begins with a rest period. Arriving by 8:30am allows your child to plan and feel more involved.

A weekly rate based on your child's schedule and age will be assessed. A Monthly Statement of Fees will be prepared by calculating this fee by the number of Mondays in the month. The fee for the month must be paid by the 15th of the current month. If you pay your fees after the 15th of the month a $15.00 charge for Late Payment of Fees will be added to your account. If your child care fees are not paid by in full by the last day of the month an additional 1.5%  finance charge will apply. Late charges are automatically added to your account. If fees are not paid by the end of the month, child-care services could be terminated.

A Family Discount of 10% will be deducted from the tuition of any older sibling if more than one child from the same family is enrolled at the same time.

Each child at the Center is eligible for one week of Absence, January to December, in which there will be no charge. The child must be absent one consecutive week of his/her enrollment time, and Center staff must be notified in writing prior to the absence to receive proper credit. If you are faculty, staff or a student at UM-St. Louis you are eligible for one additional week of absence at a cost of one half the normal weekly rate. Written notification must be given. There are no deductions for other absences.

Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack are provided to children, other than infants not eating table food, who attend the Center. There is NO additional charge for meals. Children attending am only receive breakfast and lunch, while children attending pm only will receive afternoon snack. The Center participates in the Child Care Food Program*, so you will be asked to complete an income eligibility form. There is no direct monetary benefit to families from this program, but the Center receives a monetary reimbursement for each meal served.
*In the operation of the child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, color, sex, age, disability or national origin. If you believe you have been treated unfairly in receiving food services for any of these reasons, write to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 20250, immediately.

The Center closes at 5:30pm. Center staff expect children to be picked up and out of the Center by 5:30pm. A Late Pick Up Fee is charged if children remain in the Center past 5:30pm. The current fee is $1.00 per minute per child for each minute you arrive late. Center staff is only scheduled to work until 5:30pm, and they have families or other commitments to attend to. Please be courteous, arrive before 5:30pm. NOTE: If your child is not picked up by 6:30pm and reasonable attempts to reach you or your emergency contacts have failed, the University Police Department will be contacted. They will take whatever steps necessary to assure the well being of the child(ren) until the parents can be located. This could include calling Division of Family Services and/or placing the children in protective custody.

A two week written notice is REQUIRED if you wish to WITHDRAW from the Center or wish to obtain a SCHEDULE CHANGE. Changes that require less days or time can be easily honored. Requests for extra days or time can be honored only as space becomes available. 

See the UCDC parent handbook for a detailed list of all policies and procedures. 

**All policies and procedures are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.