Mission and values


The University of Minnesota Child Development Laboratory School (CDLS) in the Institute of Child Development, is an early development model and demonstration program whose practices are guided by current research in child development. The program serves as the primary training site for teacher candidates in early childhood programs and is an active center for observation and research focused on early development, education, and high-quality care and education for young children.



  • The CDLS values the quality of relationships with all children, families, professionals, adult learners, community members, and researchers and believes these relationships are vital to sustain and grow the quality of the work. 
  • The CDLS provides a context of warm, nurturing relationships and mutual respect, where program professionals and children are proactive agents in their own learning. 


  • The CDLS places teaching and learning at the core of its practice. The ongoing process of reflection and collaboration facilitates a culture that promotes growth for children, families, professionals, and the University community. 
  • We value opportunities to discover and share innovative ways to meet the highly diverse developmental needs of children.
  • We believe in being ecologically sustainable.

Social responsibility 

  • The CDLS commits to creating an equitable community that fosters diversity, ecological sustainability, and a strong partnership with the community. 
  • The CDLS engages a diverse group of educators and families who engage in reflective practice and collaboration. 


  • We value generating, disseminating, and implementing new knowledge as a premier early learning environment. 
  • We value the creation, dissemination and application of new knowledge in all areas of the program’s mission.