At the University Child Development Center, we strive to be a model of quality care and are committed to providing the best resources available to children.  We look forward to getting to know you and your child and are delighted you have chosen to visit us online.  We know how important your child is to you.  We provide a program where children can explore and grow in a safe and nurturing environment with caring, responsible adults.  Children learn about their world and begin friendships here.  Please tour our facility online and contact us to visit in person.  We will be happy to answer any questions.

Barb Meraz, Site Director
(573) 481-9724

Our Philosophy

At the University Child Development Center, we believe in creating an environment that promotes active, experiential learning and reflection for learners of all ages. We support positive development by providing stimulating learning environments with rich opportunities for growth and discovery. Our philosophy is grounded in knowledge and theory in child development, early childhood education, and developmentally appropriate practice. We respect all individuals and support the unique abilities and perspectives each brings to our work with young children and families. We value families and the community and appreciate the multiple contexts that impact development and growth.


The University Child Development Center serves children of students, faculty & staff from the University and children from the surrounding community in four classrooms:

  • Infants – ages six weeks to one year
  • Toddlers – ages one to two years
  • Two’s and young three-year-olds
  • Preschool – ages three to five years

Each classroom maintains maximum group sizes and teacher-to-child ratios required by Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Children and Youth.


The University Child Development Center is a program of the Early Childhood Centers for Training, Education and Research (ECCTRE).  The ECCTRE promote academic excellence through learning opportunities in high-quality early childhood programs as University students prepare for professional careers and pursue graduate studies and work to identify alternative funding sources to support its mission and to initiate innovative programs and services.

Laboratory School

As a laboratory school, we have the benefit of having practicum students working in the classrooms as part of their educational experience. These students take lecture courses that correspond with their laboratory experiences. Practicum students provide us with many advantages, including enthusiasm and the introduction of new perspectives. As part of their coursework, they also introduce new learning projects to the children on a regular basis, enriching our curriculum.