Skip to main content

University of Connecticut, Child Development Laboratories Records

Identifier: 1995-0018

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials relevant to the establishment of child care facilities on the Storrs campus of the University, as well as documentation of the early years of the CDL.


  • Creation: undated, 1961-2010


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


University records indicate that programs for young children existed during the 1940s, however the documentation is minimal. In 1961, the "Nursery School" that had existed until then, experienced a name change to the "Preschool Laboratory." At that time, the program consisted of two half-day sessions with eighteen three and four year olds per session and was housed in a building on the site of what is now the Fine Arts Complex.

In 1968, the Preschool Laboratory moved to the newsly constructed Human Development Center. Only two classroom suites were utilized; one room housed the two half-day sessions and the other functioned as a creative experience laboratory. The 1970s saw a growing national demand for child "day care centers." The demand was spurred by increases in the numbers of married students with children, employed women, and young professionals. Programs for young children were no longer viewed as a luxusry but rather as a necessity.

A proposal was written in 1973 to establish a day care center in the Human Development Center. The Department of Public Works, however, rejected the request for additional funding and facilities and the program continued as a preschool laboratory. In 1974, a committee of parents was organized and exerted pressure on the Unviersity administration to change the preschool Laboratories to a day care facility with expanded hours and extended age-ranges. Although uninterested in the concept of "day care," the University was interested in the philosophy of a "child development laboratory," emphasizing the stimulation and enrichment of children's growth and development. The Child Development Laboratories (CDL) was formally established by the University on 26 January 1976.

In 1976, the CDL maintained one full-day infant/toddler program, one full-day preschool program and two half-day preschool programs. Due to low demand and economic unfeasibility, the half-day programs were eliminated in 1981, and the CDL format evolved to support full-day programs for infant/toddlers, preschool and kindergarten.

The Child Development Laboratories are part of the School of Family Studies and serve the university, community and state as a model demonstration laboratory center. The CDL is licensed by the state of Connecticut and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. Programs for 100 children age six weeks to six years are offered through the CDL as a function of its role as a setting for teaching, training and research in early childhood education and development. The major goals of the CDL are training students, conducting research and services for children.

Information on additional initiatives concerning child care at the University is also available.

Note: Information for this history was provided by materials in the collection. More recent information on the CDL and its programs s available on the CDL website.


8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Child Development Laboratories (CDL) are part of the School of Family Studies and serve the university, community and state as a model demonstration laboratory center.

Acquisition Information

The collection was transferred to the University Archives in 1995. Additional materials were transferred in 2013.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to the University, its history, administration, faculty, staff and students. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the reference desk.

University of Connecticut, Child Development Laboratories Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
2006 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US