Virginia Tech has a long history of providing quality care and education to young children. The program dates back to the early 1940s when Virginia Tech opened the first child development center. In January, 2005, the program will be transformed into a full-time, full-year program serving Virginia Tech faculty and staff children from 15 months to 5 years of age.

The Child Development Center for Learning and Research (CDCLR) will replace the former Lab School, a half-day program that operated nine months a year. The program will still carry its accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as its licensure from the state of Virginia.

The CDCLR, located in Wallace Hall, is a partnership between the Virginia Tech and the department of human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

"The need for quality day care at Virginia Tech has been one of the most important issues identified through a campus-wide survey, focus groups, and interviews as part of the university's Advance project to promote women in science and engineering," said Pat Hyer, associate provost. "I have reports in my office dating back more than 20 years about the need for day care on campus, and I am just delighted that we are going to be able to take this important first step to address such a critical need. It will make a big difference in our efforts to recruit and retain young faculty -- both women and men."

"The new Center will help us to continue to provide high quality, field-based educational opportunities for our students and sponsored research in early education and child development," said Jerry Niles, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. "It will also be a key component of an interdisciplinary developmental science initiative between the departments of human development and psychology."

The CDCLR will operate three classrooms, one for 10 toddlers (15 to 36 months), another for 15 young preschoolers (3-4 years) and 15 older preschoolers (4-5 years). The center will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will operate year-round, except for a one-week summer break, one week for winter/holiday break, Memorial Day, Independence Day, two days for Thanksgiving break, and professional development. The cost per child will be $700 per month for a one-year contract.

"We will offer a developmentally appropriate environment in which children are given opportunities to make choices, pursue their own questions and concerns, connect what is known and unknown, and be successful as they explore and discover through play, informal learning activities, and projects," said Victoria Fu, director of the center and a professor in the department of human development.

"We also believe the parent-child relationship is the most important context for learning and development, so we strive to maintain close connections between home and school, and value the cultural and individual perspectives that families bring to the program," Fu said.

The Center will support three full-time appointments, including Curriculum Director Kate Mosher Milne, and Assistant Director Christine McCartney. A research scientist, Isabel Bradburn, also will join the Center this fall.

The Center's priority is to serve families of Virginia Tech faculty and staff. With few exceptions, enrollments are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parents can put their child's name on a waiting list by filling out an application form during pregnancy or any time thereafter.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of apparel, housing and resource management, communication, educational leadership and policy studies, English, foreign languages and literatures, history; human development, interdisciplinary studies, music, philosophy, political science, ROTC, science and technology in society, sociology, teaching and learning, and theatre arts.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.

For more information, please visit http://www.humandevelopment.vt.edu/cdclr.html or contact Christine McCartney (cmccartn@vt.edu), (540) 231-6148.