The Center's history goes back almost eighty years to a nursery school that was created as part of the curriculum of the New Jersey College for Women (which subsequently became the Douglass College for Women, which then became part of Rutgers University). The nursery school was funded initially by a grant from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Foundation. Even in its earliest incarnation, the Center provided an opportunity for young children to receive an excellent early childhood education while at the same time offering college students the chance to learn about child development through hands-on experience.
The same is true today; as our Mission and Philosophy Statement
explains, the Center provides young children with a wide range of
enriching and recreational activities in an environment that is conducive to discovering joy in
learning and developing a positive self-image. The Center is also dedicated to promoting research
in early childhood education and development, and we support these endeavors through active
participation in research studies conducted by faculty and graduate students at the University.
Moreover, the Center provides hands-on research experience to Rutgers undergraduates through
its participation in several college courses.
Our two classes (the Jellybeans and
the Gummibears) are led by dedicated, licensed teachers. A full-time
teaching assistant works in each classroom. Part-time aides and college fieldwork students also
help to keep the student-teacher ratio low. There is very little turnover in
our staff, most of
whom have been at the Center for years and some of whom themselves started out as college fieldwork