• Four children with a teacher outside the Early Childhood Development Center during the fall throwing leaves into the air with smiles on their faces.
  • Two children sitting in a chair together sharing a book at the Early Childhood Development Center.
  • Two children eating and playing with their food at the Early Childhood Development Center.

Early Childhood Development Center

At the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), you will find a program unique to the Crookston community. We offer a dedicated staff and an environment designed specifically with your child's educational needs in mind. Our goal is to provide your child with a rich and varied learning experience and to instill in your child a lifelong love of learning.

Why choose the ECDC?

  • The ECDC offers University of Minnesota Crookston students majoring in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education practicum, field study, and observation experiences.
  • Children are able to experience nature in a variety of settings, such as:
    • going outside two times each day (weather permitting)
    • participating in planting and harvesting produce at the ECDC garden
    • going on campus field trips such as UMC Animal Science facilities (to see various farm animals), the Butterfly garden, the Bog garden and the Wildlife Museum
  • Observation rooms for parents, staff, and students to observe children without disruption.
  • Our staff provide a developmentally appropriate approach to learning, and strive to affirm the growth of the whole child in a positive, enthusiastic and stimulating environment.
  • Classroom ratios meet and exceed the Minnesota Department of Human Services standards and reflects the guidelines set on the national level.
  • On-site nursing room for nursing mothers.

We all look forward to working with you in caring for your child. If you have any questions that are not covered in this web page, please call the Early Childhood Development Center anytime at (218) 281-8285.

History, Purpose and Philosophy

History, Purpose and Philosophy


An aerial photo of the Early Childhood Development Center.

In the fall of 1974, the first Children’s Center on the Crookston campus was opened; it was used for student majoring in Health and Family Services. The center was located in the lower level of Robertson Hall, a resident hall that is no longer on the Crookston campus.

On May 5, 1999, construction of the new Early Childhood Development Center began. The building was designed to be used as a laboratory for students majoring in Early Childhood Education as a home to high quality early childhood care and education. The building was dedicated on November 1, 2000PDF File Icon


Early Childhood and Elementary Education students using the lab at the Early Childhood Development Center, observing children without interruption.

The primary purposes of the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) is:

  1. To provide the students majoring in Teacher Education at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, an opportunity to observe and participate in a teacher-training laboratory.
  2. To provide the University (students, staff, faculty) and Crookston community with an early childhood education/child care service that ensures a high quality program for young children and their families.


Early Childhood teacher reading to a group of children on the floor.

We believe that children need affectionate, secure, trusting relationships, new experiences, recognition, and respect as unique, whole persons. The Director and professional teaching staff members will strive to affirm the growth of the whole child by meeting his/her physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs in a positive, enthusiastic and stimulating environment.

Programs and Curriculum

Programs and Curriculum


Early Childhood teacher reading to a toddler aged child.

The UMC Early Childhood Development Center has three separate programs:

  • Infant - 8 children (6 weeks to 16 months - 1:3 ratio)
  • Toddler - 12 children (16 months to 35 months - 1:4 ratio)
  • Preschool - 20 children (33 months to kindergarten - 1:8 ratio)


Our curriculum is developmentally-based, success-oriented, and supports a process approach to learning:

  • Inquiry Curriculum - math, science, social studies, and nutrition.
  • Physical Curriculum - sensory, fine and gross motor development.
  • Language Curriculum - language development, literature, pre-reading and writing.
  • Creative Curriculum - art, music, drama and movement.

Tuition Rates

Tuition Rates

2022 - 2023

Infant Program
8 children
6 weeks thru 16 months
1:3 ratio

Toddler Program
12 children
16 months thru 35 months
1:4 ratio

Preschool Program
20 children
35 months thur pre-Kindergarten
1:8 ratio

Full-Day Enrollment:

Includes: breakfast, lunch and p.m. snack, formula (infants), teacher guidance, parent conferences, written progress reports, classroom supplies and materials (excluding diapers).

Hours: Anytime between 7:30a.m. - 5:00p.m.

$865 monthly $769 monthly $696 monthly

Rates effective September 1, 2022

Childcare tuition is subject to change the beginning of each year (September 1). Childcare tuition is billed as a flat monthly rate. You will not receive a credit for regularly scheduled ECDC closure dates. Your tuition rate will be prorated when the ECDC closes in August (3 Professional Development Days) and the dates in December/January 1 (Winter Break) and June/July (Summer Break, 2 weeks).

Add How to Pay Tuition

Your payment, including invoice information, should be paid to the UM Regents to ensure prompt receipt, as late fees of $5.00 per day are charged if received after the due date.

The preferred payment method is to pay your invoice by credit card at


You will need the following information from your statement

  1. Full account name
  2. Customer number
  3. Invoice number
  4. Amount due

Application Procedure

Application Procedure


Child drawing with sharpie markers

To enroll your child at the ECDC, you must complete the following steps. All forms must be completed annually and prior to the child’s first day of attendance, as required by Minnesota DHS licensing.

  1. Complete the 2022 Registration Form PDF File Icon and return to the ECDC. A $15 registration fee will be billed to your account on the first month of enrollment.
  2. Complete and return the additional application materials, listed below.

    Must be completed by parent
  • Participate in a pre-admission conference. A brief meeting with the Director and Teacher will allow you to ask specific questions about the program and staff. Arrangements for a tour of the facility and observation of the program by the parent and child is also encouraged.
  • Determination of a child’s enrollment is based on the following prioritized factors:

    • Licensing capacity
    • Consistency of scheduling 
    • University students, faculty, staff
    • Date application was received
    • Currently enrolled families

    Our Facility

    Our Facility

    Infant Classroom

    • Nursing 
    • Sleeping
    • Food preparation 
    • Diapering/Laundry

    Toddler Classroom

    Teacher reading to toddlers at the ECDC.

    • Bathroom/diapering 
    • Mudroom/clothing storage
    • Dinning/table activity area

    Preschool Classroom

    Teacher working with several preschool students doing some drawing work.

    • Bathroom
    • Large group area with smartboard 
    • Mudroom/clothing storage
    • Dinning/table activity

    Multipurpose Classroom

    • Used for indoor large motor play
    • Or as extra classroom 
    • Includes a bathroom

    Outdoor Play Space

    Teacher helping put mittens on a determined toddler at the Early Childhood Development Center play space.

    • Toddler Playground Equipment 
    • Preschool Playground Equipment

    Observation Rooms

    At the ECDC, we have two observation rooms (toddler & preschool) that parents, students or staff can use to observe children in the classroom without disruption. 

    Learn more about the Early Childhood Building at UMC.

    Family Resources

    Family Resources


    At the ECDC, we will provide three nutritious meals each day, (breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack) for children that follows the guidelines set by the USDA Child Care Food Program. Breakfast and afternoon snack are prepared and served by ECDC staff. Lunch is prepared by UMC Dining Services and served by the ECDC staff.

    ECDC Parent’s Handbook

    ECDC Newsletters

    Community Events & Services



    How long is the wait list?

    Our wait list length is different for each program; we are licensed to care for 8 infants, 12 toddlers and 20 preschoolers. We have a higher number of applicants for our infant program. We recommend that once you find out you are expecting you complete a registration form and return it to the ECDC, to be placed on the waiting list. It is possible to be on the infant wait list for up to 16 months.

    If you would like to enroll a toddler or preschooler, please complete a registration form and return it to the ECDC, once received you will be put on the waitlist.

    Families on the waiting list will be notified once your child is eligible for enrollment. If your child ages out of the program originally registered for, you will be notified to see if you want your child to be moved to the next program age, without losing position on the wait list.

    How do I complete enrollment forms?

    To complete enrollment forms, please download and print the enrollment forms (found in the "Application Procedure" tab above), once completed, please return to the ECDC. Our forms are located under the application procedure tab; please click here to be redirected.

    How do I set up a tour?

    In order to provide a safe and secure environment for all children, we can only permit visitors to enter the ECDC if the director accompanies you. Tours are available Tuesday-Thursday; tours are not scheduled during the children’s rest time, 12 noon to 2p.m. To request a tour please call 218-281-8285.

    Can I visit my child at the ECDC?

    Yes, we have an open door policy when it comes to parents visiting. We encourage all parents to visit the center when they can, with the exception of rest time, 12 noon to 2 p.m.

    My preschooler won’t take a nap; will he/she still have to rest?

    Yes, we encourage all children to rest during naptime even if they do not sleep. Your child is not required to remain on their cot after resting quietly for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the child will be taken to the mudroom; where he/she will be provided with quiet activities to participate in until the remainder of children are awake. 

    Do I need to complete enrollment forms each year my child is enrolled?

    Yes, we require every family to complete all enrollment forms each year, for each child enrolled. A $15 registration fee will be charged per child annually, for example if your child is enrolled September 2017, and you choose to enroll in summer care for the summer of 2018; you will not be charged another registration fee. 

    What types of meals will you be serving my child?

    At the ECDC, we will provide three nutritious meals each day, (breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack) for children that follows the guidelines set by the USDA Child Care Food Program. For more information on nutrition at the ECDC please see the "Family Resources" tab above.

    What do you do when it is too cold for children to go outside?

    In the winter months, outside time is dependent on two factors, temperature and wind-chill. On days that it is determined to be too cold, the multipurpose room is used to promote large motor development.

    Does the ECDC hire student employees in addition to full-time classroom teachers?

    Yes, the ECDC also hires UMC students as childcare aids to assist teaching staff in the classroom. We have a variety of student employees’ at the ECDC who come from different majors and cultural backgrounds. Many of our students are education majors, such as Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education-Program Management, and Elementary Education. We also employ students who are focused in assortment of majors such as Business, Animal Science and many more. The variety of student employees’ interests and cultural backgrounds allows the ECDC to provide children with unique, diverse experiences, not only in education, but also in culture. 

    Department Faculty & Staff

    Department Faculty & Staff

    UMC Photo Not Available
    Child Care Teacher
    (218) 281-8285
    Head Child Development Teacher
    (218) 281-8285
    UMC Photo Not Available
    Head Child Development Teacher, School Age Teacher (August - May)
    (218) 281-8285
    Director of ECDC
    (218) 281-8285

    Early Childhood Development Center

    University of Minnesota Crookston

    117 Early Childhood Building

    2900 University Ave

    Crookston, MN 56716

    PHONE: 218-281-8285



    Center Open - 7:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday