One of the oldest laboratory schools in the country

CPDC (Child and Parent Development Center) is the university’s laboratory school and part of the School of Education. Originally opening as a campus day school and learning laboratory showing best practices for faculty and mothers in 1929 at Mississippi State College for Women, CPDC was established in 1984, uniting the Child Development Laboratory and the Center for Infants and Parents.

We have a long history of quality care and education in the Columbus community. Our creation of a campus early childhood laboratory in 1929 makes us one of the oldest campus laboratory schools in the country. Although the specific program name has changed through the years, early education has found a voice on campus. The lab continued to identify the important relationship of the connection with services, family, and a community's children. Through an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant, early childhood found a permanent home at our university, rich with a mission to serve women and families.

Student-Teachers with CPDC students in front of the CPDC building
Practicum students pose with CPDC students

A hidden gem in Mississippi

A lab school serves as a living-learning environment for all lifelong learners. Not only are our young children learning, but our entire campus is invited to use CPDC as a research and practicum or clinical site.

Our primary service is as a student teaching site placement for Early Childhood Education final semester bachelor’s degree students. Most of our practicum students are in Elementary and Early Childhood Education bachelor's degree programs, but we also serve as a site for multiple other majors. We have relationships with our Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program to assist us with diagnostics and regular therapy services, along with Music Therapy which offers group sessions each fall semester or with individual children as needed.

Our relationship with MUW allows our children access to visual arts, musical performances, cultural exhibits, and other activities on campus. We also rely on the talent of our MUW student body. Some come through the center as volunteers, and others as part of their courses in education, health and kinesiology, art, and other fields. Our children have a unique experience of embracing a university experience at a young age.

CPDC students tour the university Galleries