A primary function of the CDC is to provide an academic setting for the instruction of undergraduate and graduate students in the Department. Each semester, undergraduate students in the Early Childhood Education program (the Early Childhood Education and Intervention specialty area and the Early Childhood Autism Intervention specialty area) participate in supervised practicum experiences and work directly with the children. They act as classroom teachers under the supervision of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), two Assistant Program Administrators, a Program Administrator (who is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the classrooms), and faculty members in the ABS Department. Students are observed and receive continuous instruction and feedback to foster their development of critical skills and competence as teachers and/or intervention therapists.
The CDC also provides classroom settings where research on the development of best practices in early intervention and education is conducted by faculty and graduate students with undergraduate student assistants. Undergraduate students may also elect to complete a faculty supervised research practicum (Early Childhood Research specialty area) in the classrooms where they participate in ongoing projects designed to develop and evaluate the most effective procedures for teaching children appropriate skills and reducing inappropriate behavior.
In addition to teacher training and the development and evaluation of effective interventions and early educational practices, the CDC offers childcare and educational placements not only for typically developing children but also for toddlers and preschoolers who have developmental disabilities, who might be at-risk for delays, who exhibit behavior problems, or who may have had difficulties in other preschools. These children and their families receive the benefits of participating in enriched early intervention programs that utilize empirically sound and effective procedures and instructional techniques.