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Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory

About Us

The Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory is accredited through National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We offer a variety of outstanding play-based, exploratory preschool programs for children ranging in age from birth through five.

As part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services’s Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development, and consistent with Utah State University’s Land-Grant mission, the Laboratory has a three-pronged focus. These three components include providing service for children and families, research, and training pre-professionals.

Our Philosophy

Our programs are theoretically and practically devoted to the development of social competency skills in the children we serve. Regardless of the child's age, social competency goals are inherent in every program. While the methods for attaining the goals may vary with age, these underlying goals provide a thread of continuity for the Laboratory as a whole.

Basic to the social competency framework is the notion that children learn most effectively through active exploration and participation in their environment. Moreover, each child has specific interests, curiosities, talents, and a self-esteem that must be nurtured and enhanced.

Each program is built upon a foundation of providing children with a wide variety of developmentally appropriate divergent activities, a stimulating multi-sensory environment, opportunities for discovery and making choices, interpersonal interactions, and independence-promoting experiences. It is recognized that there is no single standard towards which all children work. Instead, children progress according to their individual abilities in developing, for example, independence, cognitive skills, creative thinking, problem-solving strategies, curiosity, self-help skills, and interpersonal skills.

Our Facility

While our facility is named in honor of Adele and Dale Young, our playground, The Emily Elder Barrus Imaginarium is named in memory of Emily Elder Barrus. Our playground was developed through private donations, as well as an enormous amount of in-kind work on the part of Emily’s family. There are two very distinct playgrounds: a smaller space for our infants and toddlers and a large, naturalistic space for the older children. Our playground just recently received a large grant from Lowe’s for trees and shrubs. Gilbert Young designed the space and oversaw the construction of our new garden bed and four sister growing teepee, which will allow the children to do lots of gardening during the growing season.

Our Laboratory is home to three very unique classrooms. Each of our classrooms is beautifully equipped with child-sized furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Many of the materials the children work with change on a daily or weekly basis. Each classroom has large windows allowing children to take advantage of natural lighting. Colorful displays of children’s work can be found throughout each classroom. To meet the developmental needs of the children, our classrooms provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, engaging, and stimulating.

The North Laboratory is a smaller classroom scaled to fit the needs of the groups it serves. In this Laboratory, you will see a group of two-year-olds in the morning two days a week, with a group of infants and toddlers attending for an hour, three afternoons a week. Areas for dramatic play, blocks building, reading, creating (art table and easel area), sensory exploration, and large and small motor play are integral components of this classroom.

Four days a week in the East Laboratory, you will find a group of three-year-olds in the morning, with 4- and 5-year-olds in the afternoon.

Likewise, the West Laboratory has children attending four days a week, with a morning and afternoon session for 4- and 5-year-olds.

These unusual, and very functional classrooms are designed with multilevel areas to help facilitate motor development. Throughout the day, children have opportunities to explore areas for artistic creation; a dramatic play area where children can imitate with props ranging from a spaceship to a local grocery store; a large block construction area; a sensory area; and areas to support literacy, numeracy, science, and small/large motor development. Each classroom has an area for both large and small group times, as well as a small kitchen for food preparation and snack time.