A History of the Child Development Laboratories

Please join us for a photo-graphical collection of events, classrooms, and history of the MSU Child Development Laboratories:

Newspaper clipping from before 1927 Children sitting at a small table with a Teacher

The Child Development Laboratories have provided exemplary programming for children since 1927, when a nursery school was founded on the third floor of the home economics building for eighteen children- aged eighteen months to four years, and this began what was to become a significant international role in early childhood education.

Black and White picture of a barn/school Black and white photo of children putting on shoes.

In 1947, over 700 student families joined campus life, as a result of the GI Bill, bringing with them over 300 children. Shortly after, two quonset huts were erected to house the cooperative nursery school, and in 1948, Spartan Nursery Schools were opened. In this program, parents paid reduced fees in exchange for participating in the preschool.

Old picture of children around a table looking at camera with teachers Color picture of children going down a slide.

In 1950, the Spartan Nursery school became housed with the Department of Home Management and Child Development in the College of Home Economics.

Children playing with wooden figures Children sitting at a small table with a Teacher

With the building of the Breslin Center in 1988, the two facilities were united as the Child Development Laboratories and both moved to the Central School Building in East Lansing.

Color picture of three children playing with plastic ware Children around a table feeding a hamster

In addition to the Central School location seen above, a second campus opened in 2004 through collaboration with Haslett Public Schools and Head Start.  Haslett built a preschool wing onto their Wilkshire Early Childhood Center.  It is the MSU Child Development Laboratories, Haslett campus.

CDL Building photo CDL Haslett location photograph

Currently, the MSU Child Development Laboratories Full Day program offers programming to children birth-kindergarten entrance. We offer Half Day Academic year preschool at our Haslett location for three years to kindergarten entrance.