The mission of the Connecticut College Lab School is to provide, within a community context, a model child- and family-focused early childhood program for toddlers and young children of diverse backgrounds and developmental status from southeastern Connecticut. This child study and development setting is central to the College's academic curriculum through its provision of placements for College students and opportunities for student and faculty research.


  • To provide a supportive and developmental early childhood program for young children of diverse backgrounds and developmental status and their families
  • To provide undergraduate students the opportunity to enhance their academic skills, including research skills, through a preprofessional experience in an inclusive early childhood laboratory setting
  • To support community awareness and collaboration regarding the needs of young children of diverse backgrounds and their families

CCCDLS Description

  • Based on a carefully designed inclusion model (range of cultures, ages, abilities)
  • Emergent curriculum based on play as a way children learn
  • Good adult/child ratio (including staff and college students)
  • Enrollment of 90 children and families
  • Children range in age from birth through 6 years old
  • Small and large group options (small groups 6-8 children, larger groups 10-17 children)
  • A state-of-the-art, year-round Birth to Three Program offered to children and their families at home and in school. A multidisciplinary team consisting of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, social worker, teacher, and an administrator supports this program as one aspect of the larger, inclusive program.


  • Highly trained, experienced staff of 24
  • Staff includes certified early childhood teachers, certified early childhood special education teachers, teacher aides, college students, therapists (occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech/language pathologist), parent coordinator, consulting psychologist, administrators, and an administrative assistant.
  • Staff participate in ongoing in-service opportunities, courses, and conferences (as participants and presenters)


  • Funded through private and public sources, including individual donors who earmark their gifts specifically to support children
  • Funders include: Connecticut College, the State Department of Education, family-paid tuition, and private foundations and private donors including the Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation, the Bodenwein Foundation, the Weyenberg Foundation, and the Frank Loomis Palmer Foundation
  • There is also collaborative programming with New London Public Schools, New London School Readiness Council, Children First New London, LEARN, and Local Educational Agencies (LEA)

Family Involvement

  • Parents are an integral part of the program
  • Observation booths are attached to each classroom
  • Options of involvement include observation, open house, parent group, evening specialty classes (e.g. sign language), parent-child events


The Connecticut College Child Development Lab School is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is recognized as an Approved Private Special Education Program by the State of Connecticut Department of Education.