The Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) is licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education Office of Child Care for one hundred two children ages six weeks through school age. The center encourages each child to develop an individual learning style which compliments the child’s personal desires, interests and needs. We are committed to facilitating each child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth within a proactive environment.
The state approved curriculum, "The Creative Curriculum," is thematic-based and is designed to encourage children to direct their own learning experiences in an enriched, supportive environment where rewards are felt intrinsically by the child and reinforced by personal experiences and interactions with others. This success-oriented focus helps develop a desire to learn and participate without fear of failure or discouragement. The activities encourage trial and error learning to develop problem solving skills and to create multiple solutions.
Variety is vital for children's development. We plan a balance of indoor and outdoor, individual and group, quiet and active experiences. UMES and the Delmarva area provide us with various resources for extending the learning through extracurricular activities (e.g. fieldtrips, music lessons, guest visitors). We consider these resources crucial in maintaining a balanced and exciting curriculum.
The Center promotes diversity among the children and the staff. Each classroom (two for infants, two for two- and three-year olds, two for four- and five- year olds and one for school age) has one full-time lead teacher (child care specialist) and one assistant teacher (child care worker) who plan and manage the daily program. The support staff includes UMES students who plan to enter fields related to early childhood. The Center is pleased that its student to teacher ratios remain low. Regular in-service training is encuraged for all CFDC staff.
The CFDC not only provides quality early child care for the University and local community, but also serves a demonstration site for undergraduate students in UMES’ Child Development, and Family and Consumer Science program options within the Department of Human Ecology. These students are placed at the Center for various practicum experiences.
The Center also hosts workshops for both its own staff and other professionals.
The Center has many amenities including seven fully equipped classrooms with many age-appropriate materials, games, and activities. Six CD-Rom computer stations with color printers, speakers and on-line capacities have added a lot more fun to the children's learning experience. The outdoor classroom boasts of jungle gym equipment and large motor activity equipment.
The CFDC recognizes that family members are the first teachers of children. We are supportive, not substitutive of parenting. Parents are encouraged to participate in the education of their children. Observation windows provide opportunities for witnessing children during their daily activities. Adult sized chairs in the classrooms are provided for visitors who would like to interact with children. Open communication is vital to the staff/family relationship. Monthly newsletters, calendars, quarterly assessments,daily notes home and conferences are used to keep the lines of communication open.
Service Delivery Model
A multidisciplinary approach is used in the CFDC because the staff understands that children do not enter the Center in a cookie cutter mold and therefore their needs can not be met using one teaching style or approach. Specialists from a variety of resources (Lower Shore Early Intervention Program, TLC Mental Health Department, Infants and Toddlers and Child Find) are linked with those children and families whose needs extend beyond the capabilities of the CFDC staff. All children are screened and/or assessed using the Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum, Dial 3 and DECA. Findings are supported through observations and anecdotal records and parent, teacher and specialists' input. The child’s curriculum is then adapted based on information gained from the assessments.
The CFDC is a self-supporting program. Funding is derived from family tuition and fees, Purchase of Child Care payments and grants.