Child Development Program

The mission of the Child Development Program (CDP) at Washington State University Vancouver is to provide a "best practices" model of early childhood education* in a university setting. Opened in 1998, the program is licensed by the Washington State’s Department of Early Learning (DEL) and was awarded accreditation by the National Academy for Early Childhood Programs (NAECP) on June 1, 2013.

The CDP is a teaching/research/service unit of the Department of Human Development at WSU Vancouver. The teaching staff are committed to providing children and their families, students, and the community “excellence in practice” by supporting optimal development for children, through its curriculum, program design, professional development, and involvement/outreach to the greater Southwest Washington community and the university.

*Adult undergraduate students interested in a course of study in early childhood education (child development) should contact the Department of Human Development for further information and assistance.

What programs does the CDP offer?

The CDP offers two full-day programs for families with preschool and kindergarten age children: The Preschool Program (for children 3 to 5 years of age) and the Kindergarten Program (for children 5-6 years of age).

Who can attend the CDP?

The Preschool and Kindergarten programs are open to all families (both within and outside the WSU Vancouver community) who meet the age-based enrollment criteria.

When is the program open?

The Preschool classrooms are open from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Kindergarten classroom is open for full-day instruction from 8:30 a.m. - 2:50 p.m. with extended child care from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In general, closures for the CDP will follow the WSU holiday schedule that includes a one-week winter break, a one-week at spring break, and break for the first two-three weeks in August.

What schedule options are available?

The Kindergarten Program has only one schedule option of Monday through Friday, with extended care.  Families opting for the Preschool Program may select 2, 3, 4 or 5 full-day schedules depending on space availability.

How can I enroll my child?

Admission to the CDP Preschool and Kindergarten programs is available on a first-come-first served basis. Interested parents must complete a required waiting list application form and pay the $35 waiting list application fee (non-refundable) in order to be eligible for selection.

Where is the program located?

The CDP is located in the McClaskey building on the WSU Vancouver campus. Housed on the main floor, the two preschool classrooms and main office area are on the west end of the building and the kindergarten classroom and children’s library are a short walk down an adjoining hall on the east end of the building. Both entrances have secure doors and share an enclosed playground that runs the length of the building. Non-permit parking for drop off and pick up is located adjacent to the west entrance.

What is the program philosophy?

The CDP learning curriculum for both the Preschool and Kindergarten programs, has been designed to meet the developmental and intellectual needs of young children and provide support for their families. The activities and experiences developed by the teaching staff provide equal attention to all areas of a child’s development (intellectual, emotional, physical, and social), reflect innovative practices and learning opportunities to build children’s minds and bodies, and build a foundation for more formal learning environments.

Both the Preschool and Kindergarten programs provide learning for children through an integrated, project-focused curricular (IPF) model. The CDP’s (IPF Model) provides for experiences and activities that are both planned and emergent; they represent and reflect how children’s needs, interests, and abilities change during the years of early childhood. The children’s curriculum places emphasis on four areas of focused experiences for children:

  1. study of the natural sciences,
  2. literacy, language and symbol use,
  3. creative arts representation, and
  4. acquisition of social competence skills.

The CDP staff view children as individuals who grow and develop within the family and are committed to providing recognition and support to families through open communication and outreach initiatives. Sharing of information on each child’s daily experiences, scheduling home and school visits, conducting bi-annual assessments of children’s development, holding annual parent conferences, family events, and linking families with resources in the community are some of the options provided to families enrolled at the CDP.  

Who are the program staff?

The program is staffed by seven Early Childhood Specialists (including the two certified Kindergarten teachers) that have been selected for his/her educational preparation and training, teaching experience, and their capacity to establish positive relationships with children, their families, and adult students from WSU Vancouver. The permanent staff are supported in their work by university students, many of whom may work part time, or are acquiring experience in early childhood settings in preparation for careers which include education and human services. Long range planning and program development are the responsibility of the Program Coordinator with contributions from faculty in the Department of Human Development. Administrative support to the program and families is facilitated by the specialist staff.

How much does it cost?

Cost (tuition) for the Preschool Program varies by schedule option. The rate for full-day, five-day Preschool is $950 per month. The cost is pro-rated based on the number of days per month a child attends. The full-day Kindergarten tuition is $831 per month (for 10 months of classroom time).   

Can I visit the program?

Visitors are always welcome and the facilities may be toured any time Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To insure children are on-site, not at rest time, and that a staff person is available to assist with the tour, please call Kathy Austin at 360-546-9722 to schedule a visit.