Child Development Research Center

Human Development and Family Studies

About CDRC



The Christine DeVitt and Helen DeVitt Jones Child Development Research Center believes that children develop to their highest potential in a nurturing atmosphere which fosters mutual respect and an appreciation for the uniqueness and capabilities of the individual.

Thus one of our primary goals is to provide an individualized developmental program for each child we serve, including mildly and moderately handicapped children and children from culturally and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. Using the High/Scope curriculum, a widely recognized successful approach to early education, children are encouraged to be “active learners,” to have daily opportunities to decide what they want to do. The fundamental premise is that children learn best from experiences which they plan and carry out themselves. Thus the role of the teacher is to build upon each child’s existing strengths and accomplishments, using their activities as the springboard for further development. Through individual, small group, and large group experiences, teachers initiate activities designed to meet the needs of every child involved, with an emphasis on facilitating the development of the total child--physical, social, emotional, and cognitive.

Learning through play, through exploring the environment, and through interacting with others are essential components. Children progress at their own pace as they are supported and encouraged to participate in both child-selected and adult-initiated activities. In order to further the children's knowledge, these experiences are usually incorporated into bi-weekly thematic units appropriate to the needs and interests of the children.


Early childhood programs accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs have voluntarily undergone a comprehensive process of internal self-study, invited external professional review to verify compliance with The Academy's Criteria for High Quality Early Childhood Programs, and been found to be in substantial compliance with the Criteria. A copy of the Criteria can be obtained from the Academy.

In Accredited programs, you will see:

  • frequent, positive, warm interactions among adults and children
  • planned learning activities appropriate to children's age and development, such as block building, painting, reading stories, dress-up, and active, outdoor play
  • specially trained teachers
  • enough adults to respond to individual children
  • many varied age-appropriate materials
  • a healthy and safe environment for children
  • nutritious meals and/or snacks
  • regular communication with parents who are welcome visitors at all times
  • effective administration
  • ongoing, systematic evaluation

To learn more about accreditation, contact:
National Academy for the Accreditation of Early Childhood Programs
1509 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036-1426
(800) 424-2460

Accreditation is valid for 5 years from the date of issue on the accreditation certificate.

The National Academy of Early Childhood Programs/NAEYC is not connected with and is not responsible for the administration, acts, personnel, property, or practices of accredited centers.


Since its beginning, the Center has been a model for developmentally appropriate early childhood programs in the community and region. Besides providing training for future early childhood professionals, Center staff frequently conduct workshops and seminars on child development for parents, schools and community groups.

The CDRC is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. The Academy is a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation's largest organization of early childhood educators. The CDRC is also licensed by the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (TDFPS). In terms of child-teacher ratio, environment, learning experience, program and teacher training, the center provides the optimum environment for young children.


One important function of the CDRC is to generate research that contributes to knowledge about children and family relationships. Recent research has sought to answer questions about children's understanding of stories, children's social competencies in mixed age-group preschools, gender differences, and use of language in children’s pretend play. Research that takes place in the Child Development Research Center generates new knowledge.

Research RoomAll proposals for programs and research are screened closely by the Director of the CDRC and Human Development and Family Studies faculty. No research is ever initiated which in any way could be detrimental to a child's involvement in the program or his/her own psychological well-being. Research studies are primarily observational or are based on children's normal play activities. They do not manipulate children's behavior in any way. Upon enrollment parents must generally consent to observational study and research. Parents are informed and permission is obtained for any new research project that is not purely observational.

As a University Center, the Child Development Research Center has a critical mission in contributing to the knowledge base that will improve the lives of children. The Center is committed to creating the means by which this mission can be fulfilled.