Daily Egyptian

SIU Child Development Laboratories to be suspended at summer’s end.

By Marissa Novel, @MarissaNovelDE

The SIU Child Development Laboratories, which has served as a training ground for students studying early childhood education since 1953, will be suspended at summer’s end because of ongoing financial issues.

Keith Wilson, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said in a press release that for several years the college and university have not had the resources to subsidize the CDL, and fees from the families of participating children do not cover the costs of operation.

“Continued budget uncertainty means that we cannot expect funding in the future in spite of the need for significant operational support and investment in physical improvements,” he said.

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The declining enrollment of children in the CDL and of students studying early childhood education also contributed to the decision to suspend the labs.

Wilson said although the center’s capacity is 62 children, 39 enrolled last fall, 37 this spring and 21 this summer.

He said 199 students were studying early childhood education in the college’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in 2009 compared to 115 in 2014. Wilson said this was partly because state changes in accreditation requirements.

The region offers an ample number of alternative training sites to meet the reduced demand, Wilson said.

 “The college can fulfill its educational and research mission far more cost-effectively by suspending operations at CDL,” Wilson said, “While this is a difficult decision given the long history of CDL serving multiple generations in the community, we believe it is the most responsible option given our current needs and environment.”

He said the university might explore an alternative model for the center, but the timing and outcome are uncertain. Wilson said families with children currently enrolled and those hoping to enroll in the fall will be notified to seek alternative child care. 

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