The Child Development Center (CDC) has served as an observation laboratory since 1949. The building we see now in campus was built in 1972.The CDC serves two missions. The first being a space for ENMU students to observe children and fulfill practicum requirements, the second is to provide an early childhood education experience for young children. The CDC also holds pride in being one of the three facilities of its kind in the region to have a four star rating. The pre-school is made up of two different classes, three and four year olds, and four and five year olds. Currently the CDC has 23 student enrolled but has the ability to have up to 36 students. Eastern students and facility are able to utilize the CDC, as well. About 13 of the children enrolled this semester at the CDC are the children of someone who either works at Eastern or is going to college.
The Child Development is also one of the biggest student employers on Campus. They hire about 21- 25 ENMU students each semester. This is separate from the 18 practicum students that are currently helping this semester. Elaine Gard, the CDC Director of four years, says that they are always looking for students who are interested in working with kids and observing them.
Brittany Hamilton is a senior at ENMU and has been a student worker since the summer. She is a psychology major and wants to work with autistic kids in the future. Hamilton’s favorite part about working at the CDC is having the chance to see what the kids come up with daily. “They have such big imaginations”, she said.
The master teacher's role includes developing curriculum, planning and directing the daily program activities, working with the children, and supervising laboratory students and student workers. Rachel Benssouda is the lead teacher at the CDC. She graduated Eastern in 2011 and served her practicum at the CDC when she was enrolled. “I love the atmosphere, I love that it is child initiative learning; the kids dictate.” She has been a teacher at the CDC for about a month now and is thankful to have the opportunity to work in such a nurturing and inviting environment.