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CDL Frequently Asked Questions

The MU Child Development Lab (CDL) has developed a list of questions that are frequently asked. For additional information, please call (573) 882-4318 or contact us at Thank you for your interest.

The CDL reviews and updates policies annually. The Family handbook is distributed to families at enrollment and again during re-enrollment. Any updates to policies are sent out to families before they are enacted. Click to download a copy of our 2023-2024 CDL Family Handbook.


Any parent may apply for enrollment. Applications are available on-site or directly through our website.
CDL files applications by date of birth. The length of the wait depends on the age of your child and when we might have an opening that will accommodate the age of your child. Some people seem to get right in, some are on the list until their child is preschool age, some families never get in (see Enrollment Policy for more information). Even though the wait may seem long, we encourage every family to apply if interested.
Our big enrollment times are June and August (see Enrollment Policy for more information).
The CDL will e-mail you when there is an opening. We will give each family 24 hours to make a decision, then we will move on to the next application. So please keep the contact information on your application current.
Enrollment is open to the general public. Priority is given in this order:
1. Siblings of currently enrolled children
2. Children of HDFS Faculty and Staff
3. General public
Yes. Families are asked to pay a $25 fee to join the CDL waitlist. This fee covers the administrative cost of managing applications.
We typically raise rates every July, if necessary to cover increased operating costs.
We accept personal checks, cashiers checks, or online payments. Cash is not accepted.
CDL employees receive 10% off their child’s tuition.
Our program primarily operates off of parent tuition so we are very limited in terms of scholarships. We accept child assistance through the Department of Social Services.


If you accept an opening for your child, it will help if you and your child visit the program at least three times before your child’s start date. Blue Door teachers also conduct a home visit or a meeting at the CDL to get to know you and your child before the scheduled start date.
Our big transition times are June and August. We will do our best to accommodate your child’s need to change programs during these times. If your child needs to move sooner we will do our best to acc ommodate this need if enrollment numbers and ratio allow.

CDL Staff

Our teachers are full-time staff members in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. The staff are supervised by the CDL Director. The student teachers are extra in terms of teacher to child ratios.

CDL Philosophy

The CDL is licensed by the Missouri Department of Health Child Care Bureau and accredited through Missouri Accreditation.


The CDL participates in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which is a federally funded program that provides monetary reimbursement to facilities that serve healthy USDA approved meals and snacks.
The CDL serves breakfast, lunch, and snack.
The meals are provided on-site by an experienced cook and served by the teachers, family style. The cook, staff and students all receive foodhandler training and specialized training required by the CACFP food program.
We will make every effort to accommodate children’s special dietary needs within our capability. Families may bring one component to substitute provided it is the equivalent component (e.g. protein for a protein).
Yes, there is a dedicated lactation room in Gwynn 17.

Appropriate Attire

Please dress your child in comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes. Due to messy play or messy meals, children should be dressed in clothes that can be soiled and are easily washable.

Field Trips

Yes, with the exception of the infants and toddlers who usually take stroller rides or walks throughout campus. The preschoolers often take walking field trips with advance notice to parents. Consent for fieldtrips is provided by the families at enrollment and updated two times a year.

Naptime and Toilet Training

The infants nap on their own individualized schedules. Toddlers and preschoolers nap after lunch on individualized cots or restmats. Children are required to rest for 30 minutes and after that they can participate in quiet activities.
No, however when your child is ready we will be happy to work with you and your child during potty training.

Family Involvement

The CDL has an open door policy. We encourage parents and family members to drop by and visit their child or observe from the booth at any time. We also encourage families to share their culture, customs, and special talents with us and the children throughout the year. The CDL also holds several parent activities throughout the year. Be on the look out for our annual CDL picnic, family breakfasts, and family events throughout the year. Blue Door teachers send home a daily written report for each child and preschool teachers send daily/weekly e-mails.
FAB is made up of family representatives, with a minimum of one family per classroom. We meet once a month to provide feedback, discuss policies, and plan special events. If you are interested in serving, talk to the director.
Parents can also become involved at the CDL by serving on committees (events, menu, etc.).