UW Child Development Lab Preschool


The UW Child Development Lab (CDL) is a laboratory preschool housed in the School of Human Ecology that provides year-round, high quality early education programs for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Our program focuses on learning through a 4-step process: Notice. Wonder. Explore. Discover.


The CDL’s mission is to not only provide high quality early education programs for children, but to also improve early childhood development through our trifold mission: Research, Teaching, & Outreach. Check out our Annual Report for more information.


Research indicates that the most effective time to affect a child’s future is from birth through age 8. Our goal at the Child Development Lab is to be a national and international leader in the ecology of child well-being. We want to improve the lives of children, early childhood educators, and families through best practice and research, and share our findings with the world.

Trifold Mission of research, teaching, and outreach at the UW Child Development Lab



NECPA Accreditation
Achieved November 2019

Young Star Rating of Five Stars

Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Provider by the Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition

Licensed by the State of Wisconsin

Accredited by City of Madison

CDL Hours of Operation

2023-24 – 7:30am-5:30pm | Monday – Friday


  • April 6th-April 12th, 2024: Week of the Young Child
    • April 8 – Music Monday
    • April 9 – Tasty Tuesday
    • April 10 – Work Together Wednesday
    • April 11 – Artsy Thursday
    • April 12 – Family Friday
  • May 22nd, 2024: CDL Community Potluck and Picnic

Taking Risks

Check out this recent video about the value of risk taking in children’s play, created by CDL teachers. Research tells us that children start developing risk-management skills at an early age, and the CDL values providing developmentally-appropriate risk taking opportunities to children through our teaching philosophy and play environments.

Visit our Outreach page for more information on the CDL’s mission to share the knowledge we gain with others.