Where young children learn and grow

Mission Statement

The Ben & Maxine Miller Child Development Laboratory School at Purdue University is a place where young children and families learn and grow. Actively engaging the world around them, each day children, teachers, parents, researchers, and university students play and work together, creating a safe, loving community of discovery.

Program Philosophy and Goals

The foundation of our program is a belief in the uniqueness and intrinsic value of each child, parent, legal guardian, student, and staff member. Our day-to-day programming is informed by theory, which states that children actively construct their own knowledge by experimenting with and reasoning about things and events around them. We also believe that children learn best when they have high self-esteem, are confident and comfortable with themselves, and are challenged at a level appropriate to their development. We believe that while there are predictable stages of growth, there is also a uniqueness in the development of each child based on his/her personality, learning style, family background, and past experience. Each child’s physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development may differ substantially from other children of the same age and even from their own growth in a different area. Therefore, we provide a variety of activities designed to engage and challenge the diverse developmental levels and interests reflected in each group of children. We strive to maintain an atmosphere of acceptance, allowing children to develop a strong sense of self-worth.


MCDLS is actively involved with faculty members and students on campus in generating knowledge and developing innovative educational practices. It provides an excellent resource for the study of the child in the context of the family and community. Research projects have involved the development of research instruments, masters’ and doctoral theses, pilot efforts leading to outside funding, and full-scale studies. Investigations have focused on a range of topics related to the development of social and cognitive abilities; the creation and management of early education environments; and relationships between teachers, children, and families. The research component is coordinated so that interference or disruptions of the educational program are minimized.  

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